As computer networks evolve, the variety and quantity of machines available and the quantity of links used is increasing. In fact, each type of network has its own specific logical setting, switching mode, data format and level of quality of service (QoS). This explains, in part, the existence of heterogeneous environments for public and private networks of boundless dimensions giving rise to many problems of incompatibility (Stav & Tsalapatas, 2004). E-learning environments must address such problems. Many problems remain to be solved before e-learning is widely adopted and deployed by organizations. Initial training in the public education sector, professional training, and personal training at home are merging. Any useful, computer-based training solution must provide flexible learning systems, outside and inside the education system, before, after and during office hours. In all sectors, simplistic or inefficient use of the Web has yet to be overcome in order to offer an interesting alternative to the eyes of the client organizations. Currently, most e-learning material is focused on transmitting information. While this is undoubtedly useful, a shift to knowledge-intensive learning/training environments has yet to be made in order to address knowledge and skill shortages in a rapidly changing economy.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Virtual Reality: A computer-generated, interactive, three-dimensional environment in which a person is immersed.
E-Learning Networked Environment: Integration in a coherent way of hardware, software and communication tools, as well as the teaching, coaching, assistance services offered to the users of the computer network.
Shared Sense of Space: Refers to the fact that all participants have the impression that they are located at the same place, real or fictional, such as in the same room, building or vehicle.
Networked Virtual Environment: A software system within which multiple users, possibly located worldwide, interact with one another in real time.
Learning Object: Any entity, digital or not, that can be used, reused or referenced during technology-supported learning activities.
Shared Sense of Presence: Refers to the fact that when they enter the shared place, each participant takes on a virtual persona, called an avatar, which includes a graphical representation, a body structure model, a motion model, a physical model and other characteristics.
Knowledge Management: Essentially focused upon the concept of knowledge and, specifically concerns the competencies of those working for organizations.
Learning Object Repository: An organization of learning objects such that they can be described and gathered in a way that facilitates their storage, publication and retrieval.
Shared Sense of Time: Enables the participants to see each other’s behaviour in real time.