Four Types of Interaction to Overcome Challenges of E-Learning Solutions

Four Types of Interaction to Overcome Challenges of E-Learning Solutions

Danny Glick (Ben-Gurion University, Israel & Edusoft Ltd., Israel) and Tania Davidson (Edusoft Ltd., Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0137-6.ch022
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Despite these obstacles, the Ministry of Labor in Colombia (SENA) has been able to successfully implement a nationwide e-learning program aimed at raising the level of English of over 1.5 million Colombians. Using the SENA program as a case study, the authors show how the challenges described in the literature can be overcome using four types of interactions combined with innovative technological tools and effective pedagogical approaches.
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Online education is growing rapidly at all levels of education (Allen & Seaman, 2010; US Institute of Higher Education Policy, 2000; Watson, 2007). A report published by Allen & Seaman (2010) on Web-based learning in higher education, based on responses from over 2,500 colleges and universities in the United States, reveals that institutions report record online enrollment growth on both a numeric and a percentage basis. Nearly 5.6 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2009 term, which is an increase of nearly one million students over the number reported in the report from the previous year. The 21% growth rate for online enrollments far exceeds the less than 2% growth of the overall higher education student population. Nearly 30% of higher education students now take at least one course online (Allen & Seaman, 2010).

Research indicates that educators and decision-makers have embraced online learning. Allen and Seaman's (2010) annual report reveals that 63% of all reporting institutions said that online learning was a critical part of their institution’s long-term strategy. According to Rovai and Downey (2010), many universities have increased their recruiting efforts to reach a larger and more diverse audience. Some universities also extend their reach with cross-border initiatives and seek international students in order to promote enrollment growth and global learning. The economic potential of distance education and academic globalization has attracted numerous higher education providers, many of which operate on a for-profit basis (Rovai & Downey, 2010).

Online learning is growing not only in North America but also in Latin countries such as Colombia, where a growing number of universities are now offering online programs. Prestigious universities such as Javeriana (, which offers more than 40 virtual programs in areas such as languages, education, finance, heath and engineering.

The impact of technology and online learning on education is great. Hutti (2007) claims that technology has impacted on learning at an extraordinary pace, perhaps like no other innovation in previous years, decades, or centuries. Distance education, specifically virtual classrooms, may have a greater impact on the nature of higher education than any innovation since the invention of the printing press (Hutti, 2007).

In light of the strategic role online learning plays at all levels of education, one would expect Web-based environments to offer quality instruction. Yet research on online learning suggests that key social, pedagogical, and technical challenges have yet to be overcome (Kim & Bonk, 2006; Hara & Kling, 2001; Herbert, 2006; Robles & Braathen, 2002; Muller, et al., 2007; Watson, 2007).

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