Is E-Learning a Pro-Active Response to, or Reaction to, Changes in Educational Policy and Patterns of Educational Demand?

Is E-Learning a Pro-Active Response to, or Reaction to, Changes in Educational Policy and Patterns of Educational Demand?

Allan M. Lawrence (Blackburn College University Centre, UK), Peter J. Short (Blackburn College University Centre, UK) and Deborah Millar (Blackburn College University Centre, UK)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6154-7.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter reviews and investigates the models and acceptability of E-Learning to the emerging students markets for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) from the More Developed Countries (MDCs) and seeks to evaluate the differing models of delivery from a practical and a socio-economic perspective. The research also investigates the impact of the shifts in population growth and the subsequent impact upon the levels of demand from students in Less Developed Countries (LDCs) for higher education. In addition, the logistical and quality factors affecting E-Learning are evaluated, looking at the aspects of academic rigour, plagiarism, and the methods of managing the originality and authenticity of student work. Similarly, the research looks at the viability of situations where the education provider may never physically meet the students through the exclusive use of VLEs, and the possible credibility issues that this may present to institutional and awarding body reputations.
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Technology does not cause learning. As an instructional medium, online technologies will not in themselves improve or cause changes in learning. What improves learning is well-designed instruction (Jasinkski, 1998).

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Background

In this section, different definitions and different models of E-Learning are considered which have informed the E-Learning strategy of the University centre of Blackburn College. There are many different definitions and the evolution of different models of E-Learning which are in turn driven by learning theory and the development of electronic platforms, such as the Moodle VLE and the growth of the MOOCs which may yet again, re-define how E-Learning is offered as a product.

As outlined earlier in this document, E-Learning has a variety of differing definitions, from those looking at E-Learning as the use of technology in the learning environment (Morris & Rippin, 2002; Sloman, 2001;Rosenberg, 2001) to those that look at the situated learning perspective (Collis & Moonen, 2001; Sasikumar, 2008) and in describing the approach to E-Learning taken at UCBC the latter of these two definitions is applicable to UCBC.

For its domestic operations, UCBC has an E-Learning strategy that is mapped to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) E-Learning strategy from 2005-12 and the institution has developed E-Learning in line with the following objectives: (1) to meet the greater diversity of student needs; (2) Increase flexibility of provision; (3) Enhance the capacity for integrating study with work and leisure through work-based and home-based learning and (4) Develop approaches to individualised support for planning and recording achievements.

The strategy draws specific reference to “Enhancing Learning and Teaching Through the Use of technology: A Revised Approach to HEFCE’s Strategy for E-Learning (HEFCE 2009), which questioned the definition(s) of E-Learning, and alludes to the possible ambiguity of the term when used to describe a variety of activities to which the label can be attached. The use of technology in the learning environment is widespread and provides some form of virtual learning in most of the courses on offer through UCBC and the 16-18 provision within Blackburn College.

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