Linking Self-Directed Lifelong Learning and E-Learning: Priorities for Institutions of Higher Education

Linking Self-Directed Lifelong Learning and E-Learning: Priorities for Institutions of Higher Education

Yukiko Inoue (University of Guam, Guam)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-358-6.ch002
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An important task of higher education is to assist students in participating in an increasingly global economy. This global economy is transforming into a knowledge economy. Individuals need to develop the necessary competencies to be able to participate in a working life that is mainly based on knowledge productivity. The competencies include self-directed lifelong learning, in particular, through e-learning. E-learning refers to using electronic applications and processes to learn. Such applications and processes include Internet-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. The traditional classroom-based approaches to education will not provide the learning environment that is required for student-directed learning. The digital revolution makes new approaches to higher education — approaches which do foster lifelong learning — practical. The current chapter therefore examines the importance of linking e-learning to current knowledge in general, and to self-directed lifelong learning specifically. Higher education today must commit to new roles: providing educational communities such as virtual campuses; and increasing capacities to produce knowledge available to all.
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The advent of the personal computer, the Internet and the electronic delivery of information have transformed the world from a manufacturing, physically-based economy to an electronic, knowledge-based economy. Whereas the resources of the physically-based economy are coal, oil and steel, the resources of the new, the knowledge-based economy is brainpower and the ability to acquire, deliver, and process information effectively. (“The knowledge age”, 2005, p. 5)

Lifelong learning will be necessary to compete in the new economy. Learning is shifting from teacher-directed learning to student-directed learning (Mason, 2006), whereby learning is undertaken anytime and anywhere, from classrooms to homes and offices. The increasingly important role of information and communication technology or ICT (basically global networks of computers and other associated digital devices) is creating profound changes in institutions of higher education around the world. In the Government’s White Paper of the United Kingdom, titled 21st century skills, realising our potential, ICT-based literacy was acknowledged as a “skill for life,” along with good reading and mathematics skills (NIACE, n. d.). ICT makes new approaches to higher learning — approaches which do foster lifelong learning — practical.

Traditional classroom-based settings are inadequate for lifelong learning. Evolving ICT has made it possible to earn a degree from a major university without the need for a traditional classroom setting. ICT is making possible the development of virtual learning environments (VLEs), resulting in an emphasis on learning how to learn, and lifelong or perpetual learning.

Given the increasingly relationship between self-directed lifelong learning and e-learning, the current chapter has derived from the idea that the digital revolution and self-directed learning will jointly satisfy the needs of the “independent” adult learner. Main themes of the chapter are:

  • 1.

    Increasing importance of knowledge and information: The economy is transforming into an electronic, knowledge-based economy with brainpower as its resource. Individuals and companies need to develop the necessary competencies to be able to participate in a working life that is mainly based on knowledge productivity.

  • 2.

    Increasing importance of e-learning for lifelong learners: More flexible learning environments are increasing the emphases on learning how to learn, and on lifelong learning. E-learning — connecting learners without limitations of time or space — is more appropriate than traditional methods to fostering student-directed learning. E-learning is becoming a major vehicle for getting knowledge throughout life.

  • 3.

    An important role for higher education in applying ICT to lifelong learning: The increased importance of ICT is transforming colleges and universities. Institutions of higher education have a new, unique, and valuable role in educating the populace to participate in an increasingly global economy. Higher education must commit to additional roles: making knowledge available to all; and applying ICT to self-directed lifelong learning.

  • 4.

    Increasing importance of VLE and virtual campuses: Higher education can facilitate self-directed lifelong learning with massively extended university outreach, educational technologies, virtual libraries, virtual campuses, and distance education. The Internet-based (or the Web-based) VLE will particularly gain increasing importance for academic education as well as for lifelong continuing adult education.

A paradigm shift is taking hold in higher education particularly, which includes the shift from institutions of instruction to institutions of learning, creating powerful learning environments, improving the quality of the exiting students, and viewing faculty as primarily designers of learning methods and environments (Goetz, 2004).

The current chapter is not specifically intended to generate practical advice for government policy makers, administrators or even for teachers, trainers or educators. Instead, it is hoped that the insights gained will be useful and practical to those grappling with the question of how best to incorporate ICT into educational plans and programmes undertaken by self-directed learners.

Complete Chapter List

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List of Reviewers
Table of Contents
Markku Markkula
Mark Stansfield, Thomas Connolly
Chapter 1
Lalita Rajasingham
This chapter contributes to the ongoing discussion on current best practice and trends in e-learning and virtual classes in higher education. With... Sample PDF
The E-Learning Phenomenon: A New University Paradigm?
Chapter 2
Yukiko Inoue
An important task of higher education is to assist students in participating in an increasingly global economy. This global economy is transforming... Sample PDF
Linking Self-Directed Lifelong Learning and E-Learning: Priorities for Institutions of Higher Education
Chapter 3
Lars-Erik Jonsson, Roger Säljö
The academic seminar can be seen as the core of university culture. In a seminar, claims to knowledge – presented in an essay and/or orally – are... Sample PDF
The Online Seminar as Enacted Practice
Chapter 4
Stefan Hrastinski, Christina Keller, Jörgen Lindh
The transition from learning on campus to e-learning presents many challenges. One of the key challenges is the organisational culture, which may... Sample PDF
Is E-Learning Used for Enhancing Administration or Learning? On the Implications of Organisational Culture
Chapter 5
Dawn Birch, Bruce Burnett
Tertiary education is increasingly a contested space where advances in Information Communications Technologies and their application to... Sample PDF
Advancing E-Learning Policy and Practice: Influences on Academics' Adoption, Integration and Development of Multimodal E-Learning Courses
Chapter 6
Gill Kirkup
This chapter argues that e-learning innovation is best done in an environment that allows for small scale experimentation and development and that... Sample PDF
Flying under the Radar: The Importance of Small Scale E-Learning Innovation within Large-Scale Institutional E-Learning Implementation
Chapter 7
Albert Sangrà, Lourdes Guàrdia, Pedro Fernández-Michels
This chapter presents the findings of an in-depth analysis through several qualitative research studies, pointing out the key issues in relation to... Sample PDF
Matching Technology, Organisation and Pedagogy in E-Learning: Looking for the Appropriate Balance Leading to Sustainability and Effectiveness
Chapter 8
Irene le Roux, Karen Lazenby, Dolf Jordaan
The University of Pretoria (UP) implemented a virtual campus in 1999. The measure in which and rate at which the virtual campus environment was... Sample PDF
E-Learning and Virtual Campus Development: From Innovation to Sustainability
Chapter 9
Morten Flate Paulsen
This chapter presents an analysis of 26 European megaproviders of e-learning which had more than 100 courses or 5000 course enrolments in 2005. The... Sample PDF
An Analysis of European Megaproviders of E-Learning: Recommendations for Robustness and Sustainability
Chapter 10
Mark Stansfield, Thomas Connolly
This chapter will outline a set of guiding principles underpinning key issues in the promotion of best practice in virtual campuses. The work was... Sample PDF
Guiding Principles for Identifying and Promoting Best Practice in Virtual Campuses
Chapter 11
Helena Bijnens, Ilse Op de Beeck, Johannes De Gruyter, Wim Van Petegem, Sally Reynolds, Paul Bacsich, Theo Bastiaens
The chapter first describes the concepts of virtual campus and virtual mobility and refers to several past and present projects and initiatives in... Sample PDF
Reviewing Traces of Virtual Campuses: From a Fully Online Virtual Campus to a Blended Model
Chapter 12
Ron Cörvers, Joop de Kraker
The main objective of this chapter is to highlight the importance of subsidiarity in the development of a virtual campus. Subsidiarity is the... Sample PDF
Virtual Campus Development on the Basis of Subsidiarity: The EVS Approach
Chapter 13
George Ubachs, Christina Brey
In higher education, international student mobility has become increasingly important for learners as well as for institutions. But today’s mobility... Sample PDF
From Virtual Mobility to Virtual Erasmus: Offering Students Courses and Services without Boundaries
Chapter 14
Yuri Kazepov, Giovanni Torris
Starting from the increasingly widespread need to develop effective teaching in complex transnational settings, this chapter presents an innovative... Sample PDF
Blending Virtual Campuses Managing Differences through Web 2.0 Experiences in Transnational Cooperation Projects
Chapter 15
François Fulconis, Thierry Garrot
In the restructuring and reforming of European education, e-learning has become one of the priorities of the Ministry of Education, Higher Education... Sample PDF
Network Organisation to Improve Virtual Campus Management: Key Factors from a French Experience
Chapter 16
Luca Botturi, Lorenzo Cantoni, Benedetto Lepori, Stefano Tardini
This chapter presents a successful Swiss experience in developing and effectively managing virtual campus projects: eLab, the eLearning Laboratory... Sample PDF
Developing and Managing an Effective Virtual Campus: The eLab Experience in the Swiss Higher Education Context
Chapter 17
Christoph Brox
In three projects funded by the European Commission (EC), European and Latin-American project partners have developed, improved, and successfully... Sample PDF
A Business Model for the Exchange of E-Learning Courses in an International Network
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