Presentation on theme: "Towards a Definition of E-learning"— Presentation transcript:
1Towards a Definition of E-learning The Ferl Practitioners’ Programme Transforming Teaching and Learning with ILT
2Towards a Definition of E-learning Strand 4 is concerned with on-line learning and the role of various learning platforms to support this type of learning. But before we can look at this area in more detail, we need to define terminology, since there is some confusion regarding what constitutes:information technology (IT)information and communication technology (ICT)information and learning technology (ILT)e-learning.This presentation attempts a working definition of e-learning and sets the context for the rest of the strand.
3There is no one final definition of e-learning Towards a Definition of E-learningR4.3There is no one final definition of e-learningHere we present an evolving definition that tries to encompass the multitude of ways in which electronic media and resources can enable and support effective teaching and learningEach of these ways can be seen as a set of opportunities to meet the differing needs of individual learnersWe need first to clarify the differences between IT and ICT and what we mean by ILTFirst, we need to state that there is no one final definition of what constitutes e-learning. We are, in fact, presenting an evolving process. What we do know is that there are a multitude of ways in which electronic media and resources can support effective teaching and learning.So let’s look at the definitions we shall be using for IT, ICT and ILT with regard to this strand. Please remember that, like the definition of e-learning, these terms are evolving and are liable to change over the next few years.
4Information technology (IT) Towards a Definition of E-learningR4.3Information and learning technology (ILT)Information and learning technology (ILT) is defined as the application of IT/ICT to running the core business of sixth form and further education colleges - learning and teaching - as well as the management of the learning environment and of business systemsIT: refers to the stand-alone items of computing technology and the skills required to use them effectively, including competency in personal productivity tools, for example, office packages or job-specific hardware.ICT: refers to the connecting together of IT hardware and the use of software to enable communication with other users, through robust networks, both within and beyond the institution and, in more recent years, via the Internet to users anywhere in the world. The skills required for this tend to relate to communications software, particularly Internet browsers and packages.In the schools sector, the term ICT is used to denote what Ferl refers to as ILT (see below), that is, as the application of technology to teaching and learning.ILT: is defined as the application of IT/ICT to running the core business of sixth form and further education colleges . Here, we are referring to both learning and teaching practice, as well as the management of the learning environment and the business systems that support and enable effective learning. The fundamental competencies required for ILT start with skills in teaching, learning, learner support and management of resources, and build onto these the skills necessary to make the best use of IT/ICT in these contexts.So which working definition of e-learning fits in with these definitions?Information and communication technology (ICT)Information technology (IT)refers to the connecting together of IT hardware to enable communication with other users, through robust networks, both within and beyond an institutionrefers to the stand-alone items of computing technology and the skill required to use them effectively
5A working definition of E-learning? Towards a Definition of E-learningR4.3A working definition of E-learning?E-learning consists of a set of opportunities that meet the differing needs of individual learners using a variety of electronic media, resources and technologiesIf we assume that during the learning process, learners can encounter a variety of different electronic delivery and support mechanisms that could meet their individual learning needs, then e-learning encompasses all of these opportunities. At the heart of the philosophy that underpins the Ferl Practitioners’ Programme lies the learner. Therefore, the support of learning is considered to be paramount, and is the major concept that drives the approach of the Ferl Practitioners’ Programme to delivery. The model we used to help us reach this working definition of e-learning assumes a progression from a totally teacher-centred approach to one that is much more learner-centred.When we look at the more traditional methods of delivering and supporting learning, it is not always the needs of the learner that drives the learning process. When learners miss a face-to-face class, they may not find it easy to obtain any information on what they missed, certainly not in a manner that helps them compensate for their absence. Or maybe the lecturer uses overhead transparencies but these consist of typewritten sentences in a font size that is barely legible from the front of the class, let alone the back.Certainly, not all traditional methods of delivery fail to meet learner needs. It all depends on the skills and abilities of the practitioner. All the finest resources in the world cannot compensate for poor teaching practice. So, let’s look at the nature of these opportunities in more detail.
6Towards a Definition of E-learning Activity outside scheduled learning that complements or supports the main programme, eg research on the Web, reinforcement or revision exercises, additional practice, peer and tutor communication.A way of supporting learners that is common practice in a large number of colleges is to provide learners with resources and activities outside scheduled learning time: giving them handouts, assignments, revision exercises, and offering them the opportunity to talk to other learners and members of staff. This type of opportunity is still very much immersed in, and tied to, traditional methods of teaching.Supportinglearning
7Towards a Definition of E-learning Supplementing and supporting traditional teaching, eg using PowerPoint as OHP, data projectors and interactive whiteboards for simple display, spreadsheets or handouts from a word processor.Traditionalteaching toolsNext, there are the traditional methods used by practitioners to deliver learning. At this stage, these traditional methods might be supplemented by electronic media such as a computer, data projector and interactive whiteboard, or may include handouts produced with a word processor rather than hand-written ones, or perhaps even use presentation technology to replace the overhead projector.Here, a number of technologies are used to supplement the teacher-centred approach. This is where many practitioners start: by enhancing practice they know, feel confident with and are familiar with.Supportinglearning
8Towards a Definition of E-learning BlendedlearningBringing together traditional resources with ILT-based opportunities to create a coherent planned approach, across a whole programme or towards a given learning outcome. Blended learning may reach out to a more direct engagement with learner-support services than is customary with traditional approaches.Traditionalteaching toolsIn some cases, when practitioners have had a chance to experiment and use technologies in the traditional classroom setting, they might want to start using other learner-support mechanisms to supplement the direct face-to-face contact they have with learners. They might begin using to communicate with other members of staff and with their groups of learners, or they might start to place digital resources in a shared folder on the network where learners can access them.Supportinglearning
9Towards a Definition of E-learning DifferentiatedpaceBlendedlearningTraditionalteaching toolsUsing ILT to enable individuals to proceed at their own pace through the common programme, with ILT supporting the process of facilitating individual practitioner support and tracking the progress of individual learners.Whereas blended learning takes place in an environment that assumes that all learners progress towards common learning objectives at the same time, when learning at a differentiated pace, account can be taken of the differing learning speeds and abilities of learners within the framework of learning programmes.Additional electronic resources and computer-based support can be made available to those learners that are struggling, whereas more capable learners can be provided with more challenging activities and assignments. If practitioners are lucky, the college might even have electronic tracking processes in place that enable staff to monitor the progress of groups or individual learners. This certainly facilitates learning at a differentiated pace.Supportinglearning
10Towards a Definition of E-learning DifferentiatedpaceDifferentiatedpathwayBlendedlearningUsing ILT to enable the planning and delivery of an agreed individualised pathway for each learner, with ILT supporting the process of tracking individual progress and facilitating individual tutor support. Such a pathway may benefit from the blended use of other resources, including access to taught sessions.Traditionalteaching toolsThe big leap is to jump from the four opportunities for learning represented so far to offering differentiated pathways. In this situation, learners are offered individualised routes through content and individualised learner support that meets their learning styles and needs (see Strand 2, Module K). In this scenario, a multitude of mechanisms might be in place to support the learner whilst they attend college: automated registration and payment for learning programmes; face-to-face or computer-based sessions; access to electronic resources ranging from simple materials to multimedia content; electronic methods of communication that might be -based or web-based; and automatic assessment and tracking systems that are tied to the college management information system, and hence tied to funding.Supportinglearning
11Towards a Definition of E-learning DifferentiatedpaceDifferentiatedpathwayBlendedlearningAnytimelearningTraditionalteaching toolsThe ability to offer differentiated pace in learning, and differentiated pathways to learning, is tied to our final situation: an environment that provides all the mechanisms of delivery and support mentioned so far, but which doesn’t necessarily require the learner to set foot in a college at all.The Martini concept of ‘anytime, anywhere’ is still with us as an ideal. Some colleges are further down this path than others, with most colleges offering a combination of programmes:learning that consists totally of traditional, direct face-to-face delivery and supportlearning that is a mixture of face-to-face and on-line delivery and supportlearning that is delivered and supported entirely on line.SupportinglearningEnabling learners to access some or all elements of their learning at any time that computers are available.
12Towards a Definition of E-learning DifferentiatedpaceDifferentiatedpathwayBlendedlearningAnytimelearningTraditionalteaching toolsRemote learning:anytime, anywhereSupportinglearningTo provide a truly comprehensive learning environment that can offer learning at any time and in any place, facilities have to be made available to learners and staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week (24/7). This doesn’t mean that practitioners and learners will have to work 24/7 - although this is the fear of some staff - only that elements of learning must be accessible when the college is shut.The only way to guarantee access to learning at any and all times is to enable access when college premises are closed. This demands remote access and would typically be supported by on-line peer and staff communication.
13Less direct practitioner contact Towards a Definition of E-learningR4.3Moving towards ...TraditionalBlendedAnytime AnywhereSupportinglearningDiffpathwayAnytimepaceSo what does this model (developed by Scribbens & Powell) imply. It assumes that as learning moves from the traditional teacher-centred approach to a more learner-centred approach, there will be less direct face-to-face contact between practitioner and learner, and less didactic teaching taking place.It assumes that the learner will take more responsibility for their learning. This does not mean they are left to ‘get on with it’. In fact, if learners have less direct contact with practitioners, they will most definitely need other methods of structured support. Learning materials will need to be produced that meet the needs of the more autonomous learner, and mechanisms for non-face-to-face support will need to be in place - and reliably available - at all times. Testing and assessment procedures will have to be developed that attain rigour and validity whilst providing flexibility of access.In fact, this brand of Martini doesn’t come cheap. Initial investment in infrastructure is high, as is the necessary investment in staff and learner skills development. Most of all, the learner-centred approach requires a cultural change in the mind-set of all those involved in education.So why change at all? Why bother with technology?Less direct practitioner contactMore learner autonomyMore reliance on materials and non-F2F support
14From bad to better to best? Towards a Definition of E-learningR4.3TraditionalBlendedAnytime AnywhereSupportinglearningDiffpathwayAnytimepaceThe ways in which we have been educating individuals for the last 50 years have not always benefited all learners. In fact, they haven’t really met the needs of the majority of learners for whom the solely ‘didactic’ face-to-face teaching methods fall short.So, does this model imply a move from bad (traditional) to better (blended/differentiated pace) to the best (anytime, anywhere)?Absolutely not. The traditional methods of delivery will always have a place in the new technological learning age. But if we are to meet the needs of all learners, we need to become more flexible in our approaches to teaching and learning. We need to become more creative and innovative.We need to see things predominantly from the learner’s point of view: to structure learning opportunities to benefit the learner first, before the practitioner or institution.From bad to better to best?….…….. no, absolutely not!
15Strand 4 Strands 1 and 2 Strands 3 and 5 Towards a Definition of E-learningR4.3TraditionalBlendedAnytime AnywhereSupportinglearningDiffpathwayAnytimepaceThe Ferl Practitioners’ Programme attempts to begin this process of structural change by approaching teaching and learning from the learner’s perspective. Strands 1 and 2 concentrate on supporting practitioners in their use of technology to enhance traditional methods of delivery. Strand 1 talks about learning styles, accessibility issues, delivery technologies and basic, interactive resource creation. Strand 2 is aimed at learning support and resource staff, both of whom will play a greater part in the structural changes that have to take place if learning is to become more flexible.This strand (Strand 4) is concerned with expanding the use of technology in order to provide learners with greater flexibility in their access to, and experiences of, learning. It covers the issues related to on-line teaching and learning.Strands 3 and 5 cut across all aspects of the model. The factors associated with cultural and organisational change are covered in Strand 3, whilst the role and contribution of technical staff (the ILT Manager and technical support staff) to the learning process is explored in Strand 5.Strand 4Strands 1 and 2Strands 3 and 5
16It’s about selecting the most appropriate Towards a Definition of E-learningR4.3Traditionalteaching toolBlendedlearningRemote learning:anytime, anywhereSupportingDifferentiatedpathwayAnytimepaceWhen it comes down to it - becoming more learner-centred means selecting, mixing and matching the most appropriate delivery and support to meet the learner’s needs at a given time and in a given situation.If this requires new creative and innovative approaches to teaching and learning, then to ignore technology as a tool would be both sad and a waste of a marvellous opportunity.It’s about selecting the most appropriateopportunity for the learner at a given time