Challenges and Opportunities for E-Learning in Education: A Case Study

Challenges and Opportunities for E-Learning in Education: A Case Study

Ayoub C. Kafyulilo
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8363-1.ch015
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This chapter presents a review of literature on the existing opportunities and challenges of adopting e-learning in education in Tanzania and the possible measures to overcome some challenges. The study also assessed the primary factors contributing to the slow and limited use and integration of technology tools by teachers and students despite the availability of technology in their schools. Based on the findings from literature review and government documents (policies and reports), it is evident that one of the determinants of a sustainable e-learning program in education in Tanzania is the availability of reliable and sound infrastructure. In the presence of appropriate technological tools and uninterrupted electricity, better access to Internet, and availability of a good model for technology use, both teachers and students might be willing to implement e-learning programs in their learning institutions.
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Technology integration in education to enhance teaching and learning can take place in different forms. Teachers can integrate technology as a presentation tool; by using PowerPoint, animations, video, simulations etc. Technology can also be integrated as a learning platform using Moodle, Blackboard, Rcampus and other virtual learning environments. There are also opportunities to integrate technology as a tool for facilitating distance learning through the use of emails, video conferencing, teleconferencing, Skyping and other synchronous and asynchronous communications. In recent development of educational technology, most of the technology uses in education are moving beyond the normal classroom teaching and learning to virtual learning (Kafyulilo, 2014). Technology is becoming an important tool to facilitate learning from “anywhere anytime” (cf. Collis & Moonen, 2001; Collis & Van der Wende, 2002; de Boer & Collis, 2005). Use of learning platforms and communication tools becomes an important instrument towards an effective implementation of learning flexibility among students and teachers. In facilitating the “anywhere anytime” learning opportunities for students, educational institutions need to develop strong and reliable e-learning systems. Nihuka (2011) citing several authors argues that, e-learning technologies support the following flexibilities: interactions and collaboration between instructor and students; location and time barriers between instructors and students, and delivery of instructional contents. With the use of e-learning systems, teachers can use technology as a presentation tool, learning platform and also a communication tool.

According to Nihuka (2011) e-learning technologies such as e-mail have made web-enhanced teaching and learning possible to complement with the traditional course delivery processes in distance education in developing countries. Nihuka adds that, e-learning technologies such as computer and internet can enhance flexibility in searching and accessing resources from webs, thus, contributing to greater students achievements.

While there are multitudes of approaches to integrate technology in education, Tanzania has invested mostly on the use of technology as a presentation tool through the use of PowerPoint, animations, videos and simulations. A number of ongoing projects to integrate technology in education in Tanzania are focused on developing teachers’ knowledge and skills of using technology to demonstrate some concepts or present some learning materials to students (Kafyulilo, 2014). Technology is integrated as a tool to help teachers to present a subject matter to students rather than a tool for mutual interaction between students and a teacher. Most of the technology integration efforts have paid little focus on the development of online learning systems at both low and high level of education so as to facilitate interactive learning. The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training of Tanzania is investing a significant amount of resources on the installation of computers in schools and training of teachers on how to use those computers for simplifying the presentation of materials (cf. Hooker et al., 2011). Little is done to install facilities that facilitate e-learning in Tanzania; also there are limited efforts to develop teachers’ and students’ knowledge of using ICT tools for e-learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Technology Integration: Refers to the use of various digital and hardware tools to facilitate the process of teaching and learning in and outside the classroom.

SEDP: Is a short term for Secondary Education Development Plan. The plan was developed between 2004 and 2009 to address the problem of low enrolment rates of students in secondary schools and quality of secondary education in Tanzania.

TPACK: Is a short term for Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge – a model to describe the knowledge requirements for teachers to integrate technology in teaching.

ICT: The terms ICT and technologies are used interchangeably to refer to any digital tool that can support teaching and learning.

PEDP: Is a short term for Primary Education and Development Plan. The plan was developed between 2002 and 2006 to address the problem of low enrolment rates of pupils in primary school and quality of education in Tanzania

E-Learning: E-learning refers to the kind of learning conducted via electronic media and devices such as computers, mobile phones, iPads etc., to deliver part, or the whole course through in-school or full distance learning.

Learning Flexibility: Refers to the learning opportunities that are offered by technology, where a learner can learn from any place and at any time, provided that she has a digital device that can be connected to the Internet, such as mobile phone, laptop, or iPad.

Learning Platforms: Refers to digital learning environment that facilitate students learning from anywhere at any time. Examples of such learning platforms include Moodle and blackboard.

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