| 
  • If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions. Connect your Gmail, DriveDropbox, and Slack accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize all your file attachments. Learn more and claim your free account.

View
 

e-Learning Collaboration Technology in Education

Page history last edited by RonnieS 8 years, 10 months ago

Overview

 

E-Learning is the process of web-based, computerized learning (Alonso et al, 2005). E-learning involves the utilization of emerging technologies and the world wide web in order to enhance the quality of learning via access to services and resources, and also collaboration and remote exchange (Alonso et al, 2005). Collaboration technology is a key component of the e-learning process in education. Some of the various technological tools that help to foster and support the e-learning collaborative process include: blogs, wikis, e-mail, podcasts, e-books, and simulations (Kim and Bonk, 2006).  With millions of students currently enrolled in online learning programs, e-learning collaborative technology continues to play a critical role in online education (Kim and Bonk, 2006).

 

Primary users of eLearning Technology and the Benefits of eLearning

 

The primary users of the technology are individuals affiliated with the realm of education. These individuals can include: teachers, students, and education administrators.

 

E-learning collaboration technology in education has a number of benefits. For one, these technologies afford numerous opportunities for promoting collaborative experiences in both asynchronous and synchronous learning atmospheres (Beldarrain, 2006). Next, these technologies are responsible for altering the notion of distance that previously existed between teacher and student (Beldarrain, 2006). Moving on, students now have the capabilities to access education from any location at any given time (Beldarrain, 2006). Also, the flexibility of collaborative technology tools presently available support a learning environment that aims to support cultivation, motivation, and the needs of the modern day student (Beldarrain, 2006).

 

Drawbacks of eLearning Technologies

 

E-learning collaboration technology in education also comes with some drawbacks. For one, it can be argued that e-learning will never be able to entirely replace the benefits of instructor lead learning in physical classrooms (Mayor, 2001). Specifically, e-learning collaboration technology struggles with being able to fully support certain key components of the physical classroom, such as role playing or one-on-one feedback (Mayor, 2001). To continue, since e-learning technologies are rather expensive to produce, many of these technologies fall into the one-size-fits-all classification, which can lead to significant usage issues (Pagram and Pagram, 2006). Also, e-learning relies significantly on internet availability, without it the technology is not very effective (Pagram and Pagram, 2006). The current disparity in internet access in developing nations versus developed nations highlights the contrast in internet availability (Pagram and Pagram, 2006).  For example, in the case of Thailand, only a minority of the population has access to the internet, but in the developed nation of Australia, a majority of the country's population has access to the internet (Pagram and Pagram, 2006). Such differences in internet access impairs the impact that e-learning collaborative technology in education could be having globally. 

 

How People Learn

 

eLearning presentations can teach facts, concepts, or skills for a job. Learning content is typically presented in the form of text or multimedia.  Quizzes and tests challenge learners, measure the amount of learning, and allow the system to customize the learning path. Content has to be processed by the student for learning to take place. Student hold new knowledge in short term memory, make connections with old knowledge, and with practice and the strengthening of connections, new knowledge enters long term memory (Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, 2000). 

 

With time, learners become experts in a domain. Experts can recall ideas and perform skills with little effort. Students who've been reading for years automatically recognize the shapes of letters and translate them into words. This ability becomes automatic for people with reading ability. Overall, experts hold a greater depth of knowledge and understand abstract concepts that can be applied many situations. Novices understand the surface of a subject, and can only apply their skills to a few contexts (Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, 2000).

 

When people collaborate in groups, they learn from each other. Experts who share knowledge, as in a teaching or mentoring situation, are exposing novices to a greater depth of knowledge. Besides facts, novices can learn metacognitive skills from experts, which are the skills needed to seek out knowledge and learn on your own (Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, 2000).

 

Learning with Collaborative Technologies

 

Adaptive Content and Scaffolding

Technology can guide the process and provide a customized learning path. Changing the level of difficulty, or providing hints when the student is struggling, is known as scaffolding (Clark and Mayer, 2000). This helps novices move forward while they're still getting acquainted with the material. Scaffolding can be lifted for experts, and system can give experts the freedom to explore areas that interest them.

 

Multimedia, Collaboration, and Levels of Involvement

Technology can present different levels of experience. Text and images communicate at lower levels of the brain. Multimedia, in the form of video and audio, stimulate the senses to a greater degree. Impact is increased with interactivity, when learners can control and manipulate content. Studies show that different levels of involvement can affect learning. With passive activities such as reading, hearing, or watching, the learner recalls only 10-30% of content in the long run (Clark and Mayer, 2000). With active involvement, as when students are engaged in conversations or performing the actual skills, students absorb 70-80% of the content (Clark and Mayer, 2000). Active learning includes simulations, where learners are prompted to take actions based on scenarios, and these will be more effective compared to passively reading a passage (Clark and Mayer, 2000).

 

Social Pressures

Besides offering customized learning paths and immersive multimedia, technology provides social spaces that motivate people to learn. Most people have an natural inclination to please others, and working in a group with assignments and deadlines can provide motivation for individuals to stay on task. This contrasts with situations where learners work alone and have self-imposed deadlines. Groups can also enforce rewards and punishments. The extra dimensions of embarrassment or competition, add an extra dimension of motivation to the public sphere.

 

Collaboration Tools

Technology can create collaboration environments that are more dynamic. Collaboration increases the amount of work output. In the case of learning, it might increase the amount of knowledge available to the student. Technology also provides a  medium that unites learners in different geographic regions. This increases opportunities for students to teach each other, especially working in mentoring situations. Synchronous learning technologies include virtual classrooms with live lectures and two-way communication with IM, while asynchronous technologies include learning presentations, wikis, blogs, and discussion boards.

 

Learning activities such as writing or decision making can be assisted with collaborative technologies. Altassian Confluence or ThinkTank offer spaces where learners can contribute ideas. Group members can validate each other's points of view and reach consensus. Overall, activities increase the amount of involvement and knowledge, refining the end product.

 

The following are examples of eLearning systems:

 

BlackBoard

Blackboard is a common elearning tool that is used by many for educational institutions in a variety of disciplines.  It’s a great collaborative tool that keeps students involved and working together to learn the specific subject matter. Blackboard has six divisions/platforms that they feature and they are learn, collaborate, connect, transact, mobile, and analytic.(Blackboard ,2011)  Blackboard learn is the elearning tool platform that blackboard is best known for.  Learn is the platform that allows students to view main course and supplementary course information.  The other platforms were added on as blackboard grew as a company, but only Blackboard collaborate provides collaborative technology that is complementary to blackboard learn. 

 

Blackboard has the advantage of being one of the firsts to start offer a solution for online learning.  They have been in many institutions since the beginning of elearning.  They have features such as the a wiki, blog, course management system, and many more setup.  Now they are in over 9300 institutions all around the world. (Blackboard ,2011)

 

Desire 2 Learn

Desire2learn or D2L is a popular online learning management system and elearning solution that is used in many institutions of education and business around the world.  D2L is a very competent online learning system with features such as blogging, document repository, dynamic and engaging course management, easy to use content system. (Desire2Learn, 2011)

 

A advantage Desire 2 learn has is that it is moving towards the implementation of cloud services.  Also simplified operations and site accessibility is also a plus for D2L as opposed to other online learning management systems.  A global company which provides users around the world in over 400 institutions.  (Desire2Learn, 2011)

 

CourseLab

CourseLab is a software used to create interactive web based e-learning pages.  This software features a power point like authoring layout which gives the user something familiar to work with.  Editing is also quite easy as they have drag and drop objects to place them on your page.   CourseLab has a wide range of uses.  Assessments, quizzes, surveys, training courses, and demonstrations are just some of the applications that are available to the user.  The software offers collaboration through the medium of simulations and surveys.  It furthers promotes collaboration with the forums on the CourseLab community page.

 

Some advantages of this tool are that it has ready to use templates, capability to re-use inserted objects in different modules, and a wizard for added guidance and ease of use.  CourseLab does boast a programming free tool that is good for non- programmers.(Courselab, 2011)  The added support from the community helps support the software as well as to promote collaboration while creating these elearning pages or learning from them.    

 

The common users of  CourseLab  would be for either work or classroom.  The software is great for work trainings and building simulations.  Also the classroom could be great for demonstrations and simulations. (Courselab, 2011)

    

Moodle (modular object oriented dynamic learning environment)

Moodle is a learning management system that educators can set up content for an online learning environment.  The best way to describe moodle is that it is a software tool that allows for online collaboration.   It has the ability to take educators’ content and deliver it to thousands of students at a time.  It can be used for simple things as a forum to build collaboration or even be a medium for quizzes, whole class lectures, and assignments. 

 

Moodle features include forums, wikis, online quizzes, grading, assignment submission, calendar, and plenty of extras.(Moodle, 2011) There are many advantages that moodle provides compared to other such learning tools.  Once purchased, moodle is freely opened sourced.  That means the user can copy and modify the tool to fit what their needs as long as the original license is not removed.  Another feature that moodle provides is that developers can use this open source software tool to create their own personal plugins.  These plugins can contribute to the overall elearning experience.  For example, plugins could be something like a math game or a just a different method of answering a question. (true/false, a ,b, c, etc.)

 

Moodle currently has close to 70,000 sites and is still growing.  It has a huge user group of teachers, students, and administrators all over the world.  Demonstrating that moodle is a very popular tool and is very useful in educating. (Moodle, 2011)

 

Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS)

The learning content development system is a Microsoft tool that can be used to create online courses within the Microsoft learning community.  They have made it easier by having templates ready for you to use while creating these online courses.  The features of the tool include customized content, interactive activities, quizzes, games, and animations.  They have made it easy to use with the introduction of their templates to choose from.  This tool offers the Microsoft community to be able to create sites for collaboration and learning.

 

LCDS has the advantage of delivering content very quickly by use of templates that are available to the user.  You will just have to select what type of structure the course will take and use an appropriate template then place in content.  Also they have options for uploading images, demos, videos, and audio. (microsoft,2011) 

 

The user group is mainly the Microsoft learning community.  There are currently 1,000 Microsoft e-learning sites available that are used for training and certifying individuals all across the country. (microsoft,2011)

 

 

Future Prospects

 

Potential

The potential for the continued development for e-learning collaborative technology is great (Kim and Bonk, 2006). For one, many educational institutions have been welcoming online education wholeheartedly (Kim and Bonk, 2006). Also, the increasing number of students enrolling in online educational programs indicates the growing demand for distance learning (Kim and Bonk, 2006). 

 

Issues/Influences

Some of the core issues of education influence the decision making tied to the future of e-learning collaborative technologies. For instance, best practices for teaching, how to best support learning, and training are all some of the issues taken into consideration when contemplating the influences of where e-learning will be heading (Bruckman, 2002). Next, another key influence that cannot be overlooked is the budget (Bruckman, 2002). The technology for e-learning collaboration costs financial resources, and therefore must be looked at carefully when making organizational decisions. In addition, deciding between asynchronous and synchronous learning is another key component that will influence the future of e-learning  (Pagram and Pagram, 2006). These two different approaches to learning are particular important to online education, and must therefore be considered when forming the collaborative technologies that support e-learning.

 

Consequences

The consequences of e-learning collaborative technology are going to be far reaching for the future. Collaborative technologies are going to be at the evolutionary forefront of education .  Emerging technologies have the ability to greatly aid teachers in their practices (Bruckman, 2002). With both students and teachers currently using collaborative tools, such as blogs and wikis, we can expect the future of not only e-learning, but education as a whole to be a different entity than it is today (Beldarrain, 2006). If technologies can effectively support teachers in the days ahead, then our society will have the ability to take education to heights that were not possible before. At the same time, we must keep in mind the benefits that physical, onsite learning can have (Mayor, 2001). We must be mindful of the lessons of the past when looking to create new collaborative technologies for the future. To continue, the relationships between fellow students are going to be very important for the future. Since learning is a social process, the internet provides a unique opportunity for students to learn from one another (Bruckman, 2002). Students learning from other students cannot only be an engaging experience, but also one that can be scalable (Bruckman, 2002). Similarly, the relationship between students and teachers will also continue to evolve. With both teachers and students using collaborative technology for learning, we can expect an evolution in this relationship as well (Beldarrain, 2006).

 

References

 

Alonso, F., López, G., Manrique, D. & Viñes, J.M. (2005). An instructional model for web-based e-learning education with a blended learning process approach. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(2), 217-235. http://aulatika.net/app/download/1629822702/An+instructional+model+for+web-based+e-learning+education.pdf

 

Beldarrain, Y. (2006). Distance Education Trends: Integrating new technologies to foster student interaction and collaboration. Distance
Education, 27, 139–153. http://www.dastous.us/edtechadvocate/2.pdf 

 

Bruckman, Amy. (2002). The future of e-learning communities. Communications of the ACM. 45, 4, 60–63. http://java.cs.vt.edu/public/classes/communities/readings/Bruckman-eLearning-CACM2002.pdf 

 

Clark, Ruth C., Mayer, Richard E. e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. 2000, Pfeiffer, 2nd edition

 

Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning with additional material from the Committee on Learning Research and Educational Practice, National Research Council (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. National Academies Press, 2nd edition.

 

Kim, Kyong-Jee and Bonk, Curtis J. (2006). The future of online teaching and learning in higher education: The survey says.... Educause Quarterly, 29(4), 22-30. http://faculty.weber.edu/eamsel/Research%20Groups/On-line%20Learning/Bonk%20%282006%29.pdf

 

Mayor, Tracy. (2001, Jan. 15). E-Learning: Does it Make the Grade? CIO. Retrieved from: http://www.cio.com/article/29509/E_Learning_Does_It_Make_the_Grade_?page=3&taxonomyId=3186 

 

Pagram, P. and Pagram, J. (2006) Issues in E-Learning: A Thai Case Study, The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 26, 6, 1-8. http://www.ejisdc.org/ojs2.../index.php/ejisdc/article/viewFile/276/175 

 

Moodle.org: open source community for learning, 2011, http://moodle.org/ , 10-22-11

 

E-Learning Course Creation Tool l Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS), 2011, http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/training/lcds.aspx#tab1,10-22-11

 

BlackBoard, 2011,http://www.blackboard.com, 11-10-11

 

CourseLab :: CourseLab - free e-Learning authoring tool, 2011, http://www.courselab.com/db/cle/root_id/courselab/doc.html , 10-22-11

 

Content services by D2L, 2011, http://www.desire2learn.com/, 11-10-11

 

Fall11Projects

 

 Moodle (modular object oriented dynamic learning environment)

Moodle is a learning management system that educators can set up content for an online learning environment.  The best way to describe moodle is that it is a software tool that allows for online collaboration.   It has the ability to take educators’ content and deliver it to thousands of students at a time.  It can be used for simple things as a forum to build collaboration or even be a medium for quizzes, whole class lectures, and assignments.  

Moodle features include forums, wikis, online quizzes, grading, assignment submission, calendar, and plenty of extras. 

There are many advantages that moodle provides compared to other such learning tools.  Once purchased, moodle is freely opened sourced.  That means the user can copy and modify the tool to fit what their needs as long as the original license is not removed.  Another feature that moodle provides is that developers can use this open source software tool to create their own personal plugins.  These plugins can contribute to the overall elearning experience.  For example, plugins could be something like a math game or a just a different method of answering a question. (true/false, a ,b, c, etc.) 

Moodle currently has close to 70,000 sites and is still growing.  It has a huge user group of teachers, students, and administrators all over the world.  Demonstrating that moodle is a very popular tool and is very useful in educating. 

 

Microsoft Learning Content Development System (LCDS)

LCDS is a Microsoft tool that can be used to create online courses within the Microsoft learning community.  They have made it easier by having templates ready for you to use while creating these online courses.  The features of the tool include customized content, interactive activities, quizzes, games, and animations.  They have made it easy to use with the introduction of their templates to choose from.

LCDS has the advantage of delivering content very quickly by use of templates that are available to the user.  You will just have to select what type of structure the course will take and use an appropriate template then place in content.  Also they have options for uploading images, demos, videos, and audio.

The user group is mainly the Microsoft learning community.  There are currently 1,000 Microsoft e-learning sites available that are used for training and certifying individuals all across the country.

Comments (3)

terbush@... said

at 7:52 pm on Oct 26, 2011

Please fix the link back to the projects page.

terbush@... said

at 7:51 pm on Oct 26, 2011

Got some formatting to do for the final version. Please be sure there are links to the citations throughout the article. Looking good!

terbush@... said

at 11:14 am on Oct 17, 2011

Wow, this looks very ambitious! I look forward to reading more. Please be sure to give me a link back to the main projects page.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.