E-learning, the Gateway to the Ubiquitous Storehouse of Knowledge

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Nov 5, 2013 (3 years and 5 months ago)

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E
-
learning, the Gateway to the Ubiquitous Storehouse of Knowledge



Kazi Anisur Rahman

E
-
mail:
k4anisur@yahoo.com


ID
: 02201015


Key Words:

E
-
learning, Tangible Benefits, Intangible Benefits, Hybrids, Electronic

Performance
Support Systems, Ubiquity of E
-
learning.


1.

Introduction

The everyday improvement of the internet media is contributing its different
advantageous features to the concurrent education system almost everyday. When our
teachers were taught handwri
ting in elementary school, the fountain pen was the
prescribed writing instrument. The ball point pen had just been introduced, making the
whole writing process easier and cleaner. We were forbidden to use the ballpoint pen in
those early years. The teach
er felt that it represented a passing fad and that if we learned
to write with a fountain pen, it would equip us with skills for a lifetime. Though it is
interesting that the fountain pen is now returning to the marketplace as the writing
instrument for "s
ophisticated" and "discerning" people, the ballpoint has been the
mainstay method for manually putting ink on paper for nearly 50 years [3]. A similar
situation occurred when calculators were introduced. Teachers insisted that we learn how
to operate a sli
de rule, since the calculators of the time were unwieldy desktop units and
were too expensive for the average person to ever purchase. Knowing how to operate a
slide rule was essential since they were not only low in cost, but they were portable as
well.

I
n the early eighties, microcomputers were just making their entry into our lives.
Investing in a computer system for our family seemed to be a rational and judicious
decision, especially for the homework .At this time students writing assignments with the
word processing software that came with our computer, printing his work, and then
transcribing it in hand writing to meet the teacher’s requirements.

The current status of the “world wide web” is leading to situations that are analogous to
these earlier ex
amples. When students first turned in writing assignments with sources
that were exclusively from the Web, it alarmed the teachers. The teachers thought this is
not good for students .They wanted students to use the library to complete their research.

One

way to assess the validity of information and extend our knowledge is through
discourse with one another as members of a learning community (like E
-
learning). The
pervasiveness of the Web and email has enabled us to shrink the world even further and
to ma
ke it more personal at the same time. The next section of this paper contains a clear
definition of E
-
learning and its different synonymic view. An elaborative view of the
advantages and disadvantages is presented in Section 3. Ubiquity of E
-
learning is
ex
plained in Section 4 which is followed by a requirement oriented analysis of E
-
learning
in Section 5. The paper has been concluded in Section 6.

2.

E
-
learning

2.1.

Definition of E
-
learning

E
-
learning means using new multimedia technology and the internet to impro
ve the
quality of learning. Multimedia technologies allow the use of movie, audio and text
resources to enrich the contents. Internet gives easy access to resources and services. E
-
learning stimulates remote exchanges and collaboration. E
-
learning empowers

the
learners in every situation. Three objectives for E
-
learning:


1.

Help the individual to realize him or her full potential and lead a happy and fruitful
life.

2.

Reduce the disparities and inequalities between individuals or groups.

3.

Ensure that the skills a
vailable to meet the needs of business and employers.


To summarize E
-
learning is based on a reliable technology but is pedagogy oriented .It is
a social process and should facilitate interaction and collaboration between people. It
implies organizational
change and tutor/teacher training.

E
-
learning is really nothing more than using some form of technology to deliver training
and other educational materials. E
-
learning is the latest, in vogue, all
-
inclusive term for
training delivered by a number of means
. In the past, these have included the use of
mainframe computers, floppy diskettes, multimedia CD
-
ROMs, and interactive
videodisks. Most recently, Web technology (both Internet and Intranet delivery) have
become preferred delivery options. In the near fut
ure, E
-
learning will also include
training delivered on PDA's (e.g., Palm Pilots) and even via wireless devices like your
cell phone. This new, mobile form of education is called, predictably enough,
m
-
learning
.

2.2.

Synonymic view of E
-
learning


Browser
-
based
training

is the term used to describe courseware that requires a Web
browser to access, but may in fact be running from the Internet or CD
-
ROM. In fact,
some training programs will pull content from both a Web site as well as a CD
-
ROM.
These courses are so
metimes called
hybrids
, or hybrid
-
CD
-
ROMs.

We can consider E
-
learning as
technology
-
based
learning

(TBL) or "E
-
learning" instead
of
technology
-
based training

(TBT). Other commonly used terms include
computer
-
based training

(CBT),
computer
-
based learning

(C
BL),
computer
-
based instruction

(CBI),
computer
-
based education

(CBE),
web
-
based training

(WBT),
internet
-
based
training

(IBT) and
intranet
-
based training
(also IBT).

Distance learning
, or
distance education
, are other commonly used terms. They
accurately
describe most types of E
-
learning, but are most often used to describe
instructor
-
led, web
-
based education
--

for either corporate training or college classes.

To further complicate matters, some theorists divide E
-
learning into three distinct
branches:
Co
mputer
-
aided instruction

(CAI),
computer
-
managed instruction

(CMI),
and
computer
-
supported learning resources

(CSLR). The first term, CAI, encompasses
the portion of a given E
-
learning product that provides the instruction, such as the
tutorials, simulatio
ns, and exercises. The second term, CMI, refers to the testing, record
keeping, and study guidance functions of an E
-
learning product. The last term, CSLR,
encompasses the communication, database, and performance support aspects of E
-
learning.


3.

Advantages
and Disadvantages of E
-
learning

Like no other training form, E
-
learning promises to provide a single experience that
accommodates the three distinct learning styles of auditory learners, visual learners, and
kinesthetic learners. Other unique opportunities

created by the advent and development of
E
-
learning are more efficient training of a globally dispersed audience; and reduced
publishing and distribution costs as Web
-
based training becomes a standard.

E
-
learning also offers individualized instruction, wh
ich print media cannot provide, and
instructor
-
led courses allow clumsily and at great cost. In conjunction with assessing
needs, E
-
learning can target specific needs. And by using learning style tests, E
-
learning
can locate and target individual learning
preferences.

3.1.

Advantages

3.1.1.

Advantages of E
-
learning to the Trainer or Organization

Some of the most outstanding advantages of E
-
learning to the trainer or organization are:



Reduced overall cost

is the single most influential factor in adopting E
-
learning.
The

elimination of costs associated with instructor's salaries, meeting room
rentals, and student travel, lodging, and meals are directly quantifiable. The
reduction of time spent away from the job by employees may be the most positive
offshoot.



Learning time
s

reduced,

an average of 40 to 60 percent, as found by Brandon
Hall (
Web
-
based Training Cookbook
, 1997, p. 108) [1].



Increased retention

and application to the job averages an increase of 25 percent
over traditional methods, according to an independent st
udy by J.D. Fletcher
(
Multimedia Review,

Spring 1991, pp.33
-
42) [2].



Consistent delivery

of content is possible with asynchronous, self
-
paced E
-
learning.



Expert knowledge

is communicated, but more importantly captured, with good
E
-
learning and knowledge m
anagement systems.



Proof of completion and certification,

essential elements of training initiatives,
can be automated.

3.1.2.

Advantages to the Learner

Along with the increased retention, reduced learning time, and other aforementioned
benefits to students, par
ticular advantages of E
-
learning include:



On
-
demand availability

enables students to complete training conveniently at
off
-
hours or from home.



Self
-
pacing

for slow or quick learners reduces stress and increases satisfaction.



Interactivity

engages users,

pushing them rather than pulling them through
training.



Confidence

that refresher or quick reference materials are available reduces
burden of responsibility of mastery.



Responsibility of mastery.

3.2.

Disadvantages

3.2.1.

Disadvantages to the Trainer or Organizat
ion

E
-
learning is not, however, all and end to every training need. It does have limitations,
among them:



Up
-
front investment

required of an E
-
learning solution is larger due to
development costs. Budgets and cash flows will need to be negotiated.



Technol
ogy issues

that play a factor include whether the existing technology
infrastructure can accomplish the training goals, whether additional tech
expenditures can be justified, and whether compatibility of all software and
hardware can be achieved.



Inapprop
riate content

for E
-
learning may exist according to some experts,
though are limited in number. Even the acquisition of skills that involve complex
physical/motor or emotional components (for example, juggling or mediation) can
be augmented with E
-
learning
.



Cultural acceptance

is an issue in organizations where student demographics and
psychographics may predispose them against using computers at all, let alone for
E
-
learning.

3.2.2.

Disadvantages to the Learner

The ways in which E
-
learning may not excel over ot
her training include:



Technology issues

of the learners are most commonly technophobia and
unavailability of required technologies.



Portability

of training has become strength of E
-
learning with the proliferation of
network linking points, notebook comput
ers, PDA’s, and mobile phones, but still
does not rival that of printed workbooks or reference material.



Reduced

social and cultural interaction can be a drawback. The impersonality,
suppression of communication mechanisms such as body language, and
elimi
nation of peer
-
to
-
peer learning that are part of this potential disadvantage are
lessening with advances in communications technologies.

3.3.

A Different Type of Cost Analysis of E
-
learning

The pro's and con's of E
-
learning vary depending on program goals, tar
get audience and
organizational infrastructure and culture. But it is unarguable that E
-
learning is rapidly
growing as form of training delivery and most are finding that the clear benefits to E
-
learning will guarantee it a role in their overall learning s
trategy.

The second half of cost
-
benefit analysis is identifying and measuring the beneficial
results from a training program. Benefits come in two types.
Tangible benefits

are those
that can be measured and assigned some kind of number or dollar value.
In
tangible
benefits

are benefits that can not be measured or even quantified.

3.3.1.

Tangible Benefits

Tangible benefits are ones that can be measured and ideally quantified in dollars. For
example, an empirical study shows that:



A sales training program increased
sales by 2 percent.



A customer service program increased customer satisfaction survey results by 10
percent.



A safety training program reduced the number of accidents over one year by 30
percent.



A quality control program reduced defects by 20 percent.



A software training program reduced calls to the help desk by 30 percent.



A communication training program increased the ratings of managers by their
direct reports by 10 percent.

These examples show very real, measurable, tangible results. To get valua
ble return on
investment information, however, these results must be turned into dollar values. Before
translating results into dollars, though, we have to make sure that you are studying an
isolated, control group. Similar to how scientists conduct experi
ments, the goal is to
minimize the number of other variables that might be contributing to the results.

3.3.2.

Intangible Benefits

These types of benefits are the ones that are usually assumed to result from a training
program, but are difficult or impossible to
measure. Although specific dollar values can
not be attached to intangible benefits, they are still important to discuss and to document.

Examples of intangible benefits from specific training programs might include:



An increase in morale and employee enga
gement resulting from new hire
orientation training.



Improvements in teamwork resulting from diversity training.



Additional sensitivity and a more professional workplace resulting from sexual
harassment training.



Less stress among students who complete
conflict management training.



Less anxiety after completing a change management program.

4.

E
-
learning and Its Ubiquity


The impact of electronic media of today is quite unbelievable and unavoidable. The
progression of mobile computing (Context Aware Comput
ing, Ubiquitous Computing,
Mobile Grid etc.) is bringing much more effectiveness of electronic media to human
being in near future. Wireless LAN allows access to the internet or intranet from any
place in a circle of radius of 250 meter (Detection Range of

the Base Station). The time is
not far enough when people will be able to access internet or intranet even if they are
several kilometers away from the base station and will get the same facility like wired
internet. This is going to be possible by “Ad ho
c network”, a possible future substitution
of Wireless LAN. Then E
-
learning will be much more location transparent (Location
Ubiquity).


An application oriented analysis of E
-
learning has been depicted in the following
subsections. This analysis shows that

how E
-
learning is paying in all branches of our
daily life.


4.1.

E
-
learning to Tutorials

Tutorials are one of the most ancient and commonly used modes of education. A good
tutorial presents information and guidance, makes sure the learner has an opportunity
to
understand the instruction, and only then continues on to new information. Many tutorials
basically consist of a linear presentation of content. When implemented poorly, a tutorial
can become what is derisively referred to as "an electronic page
-
turner,
" or if web
-
based,
a "scroller". This type of program presents content directly without giving the learner any
more opportunity to interact other than to call for the next screen. When implemented
properly, using the classic principles of instructional sys
tems design, guided tutorials can
be engaging and effective. The key to useful tutorials in E
-
learning are interactions that
establish pace, clarify content, provide for practice and instill confidence.

Branching can greatly enhance the effectiveness of a

tutorial, allowing it to operate in the
way that a skilled teacher does. A question posed following an instructional moment can
determine if the student has mastered the content. If mastery is not achieved, one branch
is followed and another approach is p
rovided to eliminate confusion. Only after mastery
is achieved is the branch containing the next piece of information followed.


4.2.

Electronic Performance Support Systems


Electronic performance support systems (EPSS) are created to give an individual the too
l
they need to perform a required task at the time they need it. A performance support
system is in a way the opposite of a tutorial. Where a tutorial instructs the learner and
then requires that the learner perform, a performance support system requires t
he learner
to determine when they need assistance and then ask for the required guidance. The most
useful example of a performance support system is the "Help" feature built into
Microsoft's Office applications. A simple example of a non
-
E
-
learning perform
ance
support tool is an inventory checklist created for a grocery clerk. A growing consensus in
the industry is that E
-
learning should include imbedded support systems that provide
instant guidance at the time and place of need. Web
-
based tutorials can be
completed
independently as learning exercises for new users and yet be delivered as just
-
in
-
time
huge information and interactive tools at the desktop. The challenge of creating useful
performance support systems obviously consists of determining what tool
s are needed by
a population and providing those tools. In the context of E
-
learning, the further challenge
is creating systems that allow an individual needing a tool to recognize that such a tool
exists and then be able to use that tool.


4.3.

E
-
learning to C
ulture


Internet is an open ubiquitous storehouse of information. The effectiveness of that
storehouse comes to truth if people can gather knowledge from there. The only way to
reach there is E
-
learning. A simple example is enough to clarify the fact. That

is, I did not
visit middle
-
east or Africa any time. Any way, I want to know about the recent cultures
of those places. If I just go to internet and access some websites of those places, I get a
lot of information as I want. Thus, E
-
learning has brought th
e different customs and
cultures of the world and their concurrent changes before our eyes.


4.4.

E
-
learning to Instructional Games


The inclusion of games has often been a hitch in getting management to agree to E
-
learning initiatives. Many learning theories
contend, though, that games are essential to
the learning exhibited by children and can be usefully extended into the realm of adult
learning. Games can have great value, possibly greater value than any other mode of
instruction, in reducing learner tensio
n and increasing learner engagement.


4.5.

E
-
learning to Disease


One exemplary notation of E
-
learning reveals the closeness of medical science and
normal people. My friend has a severe disease. He went to the doctor for a clear
explanation of his disease. The
doctor has explained to him, but he is not satisfied with
doctor’s clarification. So decides to take the advantage of E
-
learning. He browses the
web using some search engines to get a satisfactory explanation of his disease. Within
several hours he knows t
he detailed history of that severe disease. Now he is a fan of E
-
learning.


4.6.

E
-
learning to Tests, Record Keeping and Guidance

Automated assessments are another commonly used facet of E
-
learning. When
companies first adopt E
-
learning initiatives, testing and

record
-
keeping systems are often
accepted earlier than programs that integrate multiple training modes, due to their ease of
implementation and their quickly recognizable returns.

Online tests can be used for self
-
assessment purposes, or can be computer g
raded and
reported back to central administration. The explosion of enterprise wide networks now
provides the power to assess thousands of individuals and track their progress against
specific job competencies throughout their life within an organization.
The latest and
most sophisticated technology
-
based tests are tightly linked to learning objectives, which
in turn can help create a completely personalized curriculum.


4.7.

Future Trends in E
-
learning Including the Impact of Wireless Technologies


Emerging te
chnologies including devices and networks to support mobile and ambient
learning, streaming technologies, grid computing and innovative E
-
learning tools and
applications are going to enhance the E
-
learning procedure to the full extent. Advances in
technolo
gies and systems aim at providing learning anywhere, at any time to anyone
(Ubiquitous).

5.

Requirement Oriented Analysis

The effectiveness of E
-
learning will increase with initiating and maintaining high quality
instructional design and innovative learning i
ncluding gaming, simulations, virtual/cyber
worlds and other non
-
traditional approaches as well as creative course development
strategies. We have to find an effective and efficient E
-
learning pedagogy which will be
much more adaptive to our life and quite

informal.

E
-
learning offers interactive and collaborative learning. Collaborative learning and
engaging learners in the online learning process through genuinely interactive and
collaborative environments enhance the sharing of information equal to all. I
ntegrating E
-
learning into teacher training, creating effective moderators and stimulating informal
learning the education system can be interactive to all classes of people of the world.
Fostering the online learning process and training for online traine
rs, tutors and
moderators should be the very point of attention.

Improving the quality of E
-
Learning through Evaluation including online assessment and
certification may make E
-
learning much more errorless and effective.

E
-
learning can bring a revolution
ary change in our society. The role of E
-
learning in the
development process and as a support for e
-
democracy in developing regions and
countries should be clarified. Such as, how E
-
learning can contribute to a policy of open
access for all to learning reg
ardless of location, ability or age. How E
-
learning can
challenge rather than add to the digital divide. What might be the role of public libraries,
open source software and using E
-
learning to build capacity in areas of the greatest
necessity?

6.

Conclusion

The researchers and technologists of the current era are placing a lot of new technologies
in front of the enthusiastic users almost everyday. The appearances of the new
technologies are making the ways of the people of different classes towards their spec
ific
goals simple, comfortable and enjoyable. E
-
learning is a feature which is nothing but the
evaluation of the composition of everyday new technologies. This paper has been
organized with a clear discussion of E
-
learning with its pro’s and con’s (section

3), its
ubiquity and its requirements for the present and future. With several short discussions it
is clarified in section 4 that how E
-
learning is ubiquitous serving people of different
classes for any subject at any time and any where.

As we know, E
-
l
earning is the contribution of a lot of recent technologies. And this is
also true that web technology is the most important one. The Web is a totally
uncontrolled storehouse of information. There are no restrictions to what is available.
Though pornograph
y on the Web is a popularly known problem, especially in educational
circles, it goes far beyond that single issue. On the other hand, the Web is an awesomely
wonderful resource. It is proved students have no restrictions to use Web references in an
artifi
cial or superficial manner. Everybody should help students develop the new sense of
responsibility that comes with the widespread availability of information. Though we
have a long way to go before most of the information in the world is available
electron
ically, it seems quite plausible that the day will arrive relatively soon.



References


[1] Brandon Hall, “
Web
-
based Training Cookbook

, 1997, p. 108.


[2] J.D. Fletcher “
Multimedia Review
”,

Spring 1991, pp.33
-
42.


[3] Journal of Technology Education, Vo
l. 10, No. 2, Spring 1999.


[4]


[5] …