Today there is a range of technologies available to those who design learning events, from the old and simple to the new and complex. Key attempts have been made to develop theoretical frameworks of learning technologies and have been reported in the literature of higher education, human resource development, and instructional design. These three fields are not discrete and some overlap occurs. For example, commentators in the field of instructional design state that their designs are provided for learning in many contexts including schools, higher education, organizations, and government (Gagné, Briggs, & Wager, 1992; Reigeluth, 1983). In many cases the theoretical frameworks are intended to guide the selection of learning technologies but often the conceptualizations have not kept pace with technological change.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Learning Management System (aka Virtual Learning Environment, Course Management System and Managed learning Environment): A Web-based system for the implementation, assessment, and tracking of learners through learning events.
Instructional Design: The process of is concerned with the planning, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of instructional activities or events and the purpose of the discipline is to build knowledge about the steps for the development of instruction.
Representational Technology: A one-way technology that supports interaction with the material.
Online Learning: Flexible or distance learning containing a component that is access via the World Wide Web.
Categorization: Grouping according to the role played.
Learning Event: A session of structured learning such as classes, subjects, courses, and training programs.
Learning: An umbrella term to include training, development, and education, where training is learning that pertains to the job, development is learning for the growth of the individual that is not related to a specific job, and education is learning to prepare the individual but not related to a specific job.
Learning Activities: The things learners and facilitators do, within learning events, that are intended to bring about the desired learning outcomes.
Human Resource Development: Intentional learning in organizations. Can include training and development.
Facilitator (aka facilitator of learning): The person who has prime responsibility for the facilitation of the learning, rather than terms such as “teacher,” “trainer,” or “developer.”
Asynchronous: Not necessarily occurring at the same time. In asynchronous electronic communications it is reasonable to expect that all communicating parties are not at or near their computer or communications technology. E-mail is an asynchronous technology.
Synchronous: Occurring at the same time. In synchronous electronic communications, it is reasonable to expect that all communicating parties are at or near their computer or communications technology. Telephone is a synchronous technology.
Education: A structured program of intentional learning from an institution.
Learning Technologies: Technologies that are used in the process of learning to provide material to learners, to allow learners to interact with it, and/or to host dialogues between learners and between learners and facilitators.
Higher Education: Intentional learning in universities and colleges.
Distance Learning (aka Distance Education): Education in which learners are geographically separated from facilitators.
Taxonomy: A hierarchical structure within which related items are organized, classified, or categorized, thus illustrating the relationships between them.
Clas sification: Grouping according to similar or like characteristics.
Flexible Learning: An approach to learning in which the time, place, and pace of learning may be determined by learners. In this chapter this term is used to include the approaches taken by distance learning and open learning.
Interaction: Reciprocal between humans and between a human and an object including a computer or other electronic device that allows a two-way flow of information between it and a user responding immediately to the latter’s input.