In this chapter the authors analyze issues and ideas regarding the next generation of e-Learning, which is already known as e-Learning 2.0 or social e-Learning. They will look at the new learning tools that have emerged from the evolution of the Web, to the Web 2.0 paradigm, discussing their potential for supporting modern and independent lifelong learners. Even more important, the authors will justify the modeling of a new concept for the future of teaching and learning in the knowledge-based society in which we live. The conclusion will present a scenario for the evolution of the Web, the Semantic Web or 3.0 generation Web, which is emerging as a higher environment that will advance the design and development of e-Learning systems in promising new directions: machine-understandable educational material will be the basis for machines that automatically use and interpret information for the benefit of authors and educators, making e-Learning platforms more adaptable and responsive to each individual learner.
Phases In Distance Learning
It is possible to distinguish different phases in the evolution of distance learning. The first phase was characterized by teaching based on correspondence, that is, the teacher and the student exchange learning materials through the mail. With the emergence of audiovisual resources (educational TV, videos and cassettes), distance education moved into a second phase, providing students with alternative ways of learning; in fact, besides reading, students could hear and see pictures associated with their educational content, allowing teaching to better adapt to individuals’ different styles of learning.
With the introduction of the Internet, distance learning stepped into its third phase, opening new spaces for learning and allowing synchronous and asynchronous communication between teachers and students. In this phase, the use of the electronic mail and chat tools quickly grew.
The fourth generation was marked by the replacement of scripted material (texts, notebooks and books) by digital multimedia material that could easily be accessed through teaching and learning environments and platforms (see Figure 1).
Different phases of distance learning
Key Terms in this Chapter
B-learning: According Al-Huwail, Al-Sharhan, and Al-Hunaiyyan, B-learning or Blended learning, merges aspects of e-learning such as: web-based instruction, streaming video, audio, synchronous and asynchronous communication, etc; with traditional “face-to-face” learning. The benefits of blended e-learning is that it allows students from different cultures the ability to select the delivery format of their learning content, hence improving their interaction with the environment.
Web 2.0: The term Web 2.0 was first coined by Tim O’Reilly in 2004 to refer to a second generation in the history of Web-based communities of users and a range of special services such as social networks, blogs, wikis, podcast that encourage collaboration and exchange of information between users.
Web 3.0: Web 3.0 is used to describe the evolution of the use and interaction in the network through different paths. This includes the transformation of the network in a database, a move towards making content accessible by multiple non-browser applications, the thrust of artificial intelligence technologies, the semantic web, the Geospatial Web, or Web 3D
Web 1.0: The first generations of Internet were the users are all consider readers, they cannot interact with the content of the page (no comments, no responses, no quotes, etc). Being entirely limited to what the Webmaster rises to the website.
Semantic Web: It’s a concept proposed by Tim Berners-Lee inventor of World Wide Web. States that the web can be made more useful by using methods such as content tags to enable computers to understand what they’re displaying and to communicate effectively with each other. That, says Berners-Lee, will increase users’ ability to find the information they seek.
Meshup: According Cho (2007) originally a term used in pop music by artists and disc jockeys when two songs were remixed and played at the same time, Web experts have borrowed the term when two or more softwares tools are merged. The resulting new tool provides an enriched Web experience for end-Users. (p.19)
Folksonomies: According Stock (2007) In order to index documents the producer’s and consumer’s of information apply the method of folksonomy, which is a kind of collaborative free keyword indexing. There are no indexing rules, everyone can tag a document with his or her favorite words. (p.97)