This chapter provides an alternative approach to career and technical education (CTE) and the use of e-learning technologies. The authors suggested that, by shifting our emphasis in education from the development of people to meet occupational and economic needs to the development of people as individuals, they might become more successful in meeting occupational and economic goals. Based on lifelong learning, we concentrated on experiential learning, critical reflection, transformative learning, and learning communities as best educational practices. Having established the pedagogical basis for lifelong learning, they will then focus on the impact of e-learning and how it can be used to foster and develop these practices. The authors then discuss how these technologies can be used to help create lifelong learners and a learning society. The authors conclude with a discussion of two groups of CTE learners and how the use of e-learning technologies may help meet their learning, career and life goals.
In the search for modern delivery mechanisms and methods for career and technical education (CTE), a review of legislative acts that have shaped, and continue to shape CTE, provides some insight and direction.
The Morrill Act of 1862
This act allocated federal funds to establish colleges for the common person that would deliver training largely focused on agriculture and the mechanical arts. As a result, millions of farmers and workers that formerly had been excluded from higher education, could now take advantage of the learning opportunities created by the state land-grant institutions, “a development that could not help but reshape the nation’s social and economic fabric” (Morrill Act of 1892). Today, as these same land-grant universities seek to create learning opportunities for adults across the state (in particular rural areas), they are turning to e-learning solutions that utilize current technologies.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Lifelong Learning: The concept that learning continues throughout the life time, whether it occurs in formal, informal, structured or non-structured situations.
E-Learning Technologies: Digital, computer, web-based, and portable technology that is applied and used to support and enhance the learning process.
Transformative Learning: A process of learning that creates a substantial or profound change in the habits, ideas and/or outlook of an individual.
Interactive Video: A two-way video conferencing system that allows remote users to connect to a classroom, and each other, and is used to provide distance education for groups of people separated geographically.
Experiential Learning: The concept that learning occurs when an individual uses previous experiences to relate to new experiences. Once a connection occurs between the experiences new knowledge is obtained.
Critical Reflection: An inward examination of concepts, ideas and experiences which includes analysis.
Career Clusters: Identifying the knowledge and skills, both academic and technical, for a broad career cluster that will allow all learners to pursue a wide range of career opportunities from entry level through management and professional levels.
Web 2.0 Applications: New computer applications that are created for the world wide web. The defining characteristics of these applications include collaboration, interaction, ease of use and, in most cases, free access.
Learning Management Systems: A network and web-based application that allows institutions and organizations to create, deliver and manage education and training programs.