E-learning and the impact of new technologies across contemporary life is a very significant field to education. The challenge of the technology to conventional learning patterns cannot be ignored and in itself raises a host of questions: can online learning facilitate deep learning? How well does video conferencing alleviate the challenge of distance? In what ways can collaborative learning communities be developed and sustained using current and new technologies? At the same time, new communications technologies are impacting on the ways in which we understand ourselves and the worlds in which we live. Relating to this, the aim of today’s education is not to learn certain contents, but rather learn to learn in the course of a whole lifetime. The study of the learning process can help us to find the relevant points to set up some interesting characteristics of a really functional e-learning system.
Education In Knowledge Society
In recent years, so many changes have affected education that education itself needs to be updated. The amount of knowledge that we deal with is much bigger than before, the interrelations between different forms of information are much more complex, and the sources are dispersed. Such being the case, the linear model, in which each question has a place and a moment, is no longer adequate for today’s information. Logical hierarchies are replaced by multiple and simultaneous media that respond to the needs of the knowledge process. The inevitable increase in complexity and quantity of the information that is available and necessary has led to a need for continuous learning.
Furthermore, in modern society, knowledge is not exclusively related to education. We live in what is called the “information or knowledge society”, where the possession of knowledge is a determining factor.
Knowledge handling requires a profound transformation of learning and teaching methods: from a model in which the teacher is the monopolising agent and the authorised representative of knowledge, we must move towards a model that offers the student room for individual exploration and self-learning. The student needs to build relations, discover the process from within, and feel stimulated to draw his own roadmap (Piaget, 1999).
This kind of learning can only be obtained through action strategies that are not perceived as restricting obligations but rather as interesting learning options. Contents, for instance, should be represented not as an object of study but rather as necessary elements towards a series of objectives that will be discovered in the course of various tests. Computer games apply the same strategy by making their users learn to proceed from one phase to another based on obtained experience and improved dexterity. This way they keep users entertained for hours in a row by trial and error.
Besides, students come from different environments and have different ages and education backgrounds, which make it more complicated to integrate them into one single group. Real personalised attention would require many more teachers and much more time. Add to that the increasing demand for continuous education, with flexible timetables and subjects, and it becomes clear that the current programmes are much too rigid.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Best Practice: A management idea which asserts that there is a technique, method, process, activity, incentive or reward that is more effective at delivering a particular outcome than any other technique, method or process
Intelligent Agent: A real time software system that interacts with its environment to perform non-repetitive computer-related tasks.
Learn to Learn: In this context, learn to manage (select, extract, classify) the great amount of information existing in actual society, in order to identify real and significant knowledge
New Technologies: In this context, Computer, Information and Communication Technologies
E-Learning: Learning that is accomplished over the Internet, a computer network, via CD-ROM, interactive TV, or satellite broadcast
Computer Game: A video game played on a personal computer, rather than on a video game console or arcade machine
Computer Model: A computer program that attempts to simulate an abstract model of a particular system.
Virtual: Not physical.
Knowledge Management: The collection, organization, analysis, and sharing of information held by workers and groups within an organization