Dramatic changes in information and communication technologies (ICTs) provide a powerful force forthe growth of e-learning. E-learning has become the undeniable trend for both secondary and higher education. This chapter provides readers with an overview of e-learning computer technologies within the teaching and learning, an examination of current research studies in related areas, and a discussion of the paradigm shift as well as on the trends and issues pertinent to the development of computer-mediated instruction/learning and e-learning. Furthermore, this chapter will explore how students perceived the effectiveness of computer-mediated instruction and learning and their perceptions and attitudes toward learning using computer technology.
Today, knowledge and technology play a critical role in driving productivity and economic growth. A new phenomenon, commonly known as the “knowledge economy,” uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) to create revolutionary changes in the workplace and in society in general. Kozma (2003) stated:
The knowledge economy gives rise to ICTs because they provide the needed tools and these tools allow us to create, collect, store, and use this new knowledge and information. They also enable us to connect with people and resources all over the world, to collaborate in the creation of knowledge, and to distribute and benefit from knowledge products (p. 2).
Due to their rapid development and growing popularity, ICTs have gained many proponents in education. Some researchers (Finger, McGlasson & Finger, 2007, Kozma, 2003) are convinced that the innovative use of new and emerging technologies can bring about quality change in the world of education in terms of opening the possibilities for improved presentation and delivery of programs that benefit both the educators and the students. Many studies (Johnston & Joscelyn, 1989; Kozma & Johnson, 1991; Perkins, 1992) emphasize that the use of computers in a learning environment can increase students’ active engagement in thinking and problem solving, promote understanding and mastery learning, and add realism to instruction to enhance knowledge construction.
Even though the majority of researchers and practitioners have positive views related to the potential that information and communication technologies (ICTs) have in our education systems, some have remained cautious in using computer technology to facilitate teaching and learning. Bransford, Brown and Cocking (as cited in Kozma, 2003) noted that the positive impact of the computer does not come automatically because much is dependent on how instructors and students use computers in their classrooms. Oliver (2005) stated that the prevailing use of the new and emerging computer technologies will only occur as greater numbers of teachers perceive that such technology will benefit them and their learners, because for many, ICTs simply present more barriers than opportunities for teaching and learning. Derek Bok (as cited in Kozma & Johnston, 1991), a former Harvard university president, also shared his cautious optimism, saying that technologies can undoubtedly engage students in the active thinking process and problem solving and at the very least, helping students learn. However, he suspected that “computers can contribute much to the learning of open-ended subjects such as moral philosophy, religion, historical interpretation, literary criticism, or social theory – fields that cannot be reduced to formal rules and procedures” (p. 10-11). This chapter provides the reader with an overview of e-learning computer technologies within teaching and learning, an examination of current research in related areas, and a discussion of the paradigm shift as well as on the trends and issues pertinent to the development of computer-mediated instruction/learning and e-learning. Furthermore, this chapter will explore how students perceived the effectiveness of computer-mediated instruction and learning and their perceptions and attitudes toward learning using computer technology.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Second Life: a 3-D virtual world created by its Residents and it allows users to interact with each other through motional avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, and create and trade items (virtual property) and services with one another. (Wikipedia, n.d.).
Technology Integration: Technology integration is a term used by educators to describe effective uses of technology by teachers and students in K-12 and university classrooms. Teachers use technology to support instruction in various content areas and when they do so, and the learners are empowered to be actively engaged in their learning (Wikipedia, n.d.).
Multimedia Instruction: Computer-based guidance that involves the use of diverse types of media, such as presentations, web-based guides and online tutorials, in order to convey an instructional message.
E-Learning: e-Learning is the use of network technology (broadly, the “Internet”) to design, deliver, select, administer, and extend learning. Components of Internet-enabled learning can include content delivery in multiple formats, management of the learning experience, and a networked community of learners, content developers and experts.
Simulation: An interactive multimedia application device intended to imitate a real life situation and permit the user to partake and experience in a risk-free environment.
Computer Technology: A combination of computer related hardware or software such as multimedia computers, different types of media (graphics, audios and videos) and networked communication tools (email, bulletin boards, Blackboard or WebCT, and listserves), together in an educational setting in order to enhance language learning.(Floyd, 2003).
Computer Mediated Instruction/Learning: Computer mediated instruction/learning is an umbrella term (Strange & Banning, 2001, p. 184) that describes the efficient and effective use of computer and/or technology to support and facilitate teaching and learning activities (Bull, Kimball & Stansberry, 1998).