E-Learning as a Field and Research Area

In her paper International Perspectives on E-Learning Research, Conole addresses e-learning as a field. Foremost, the changing terminology of the e-learning is due to the evolving nature of the field. What is more, its position as a field or discipline is questioned. For instance, Conole suggests e-learning falls between two stages of evolution: emergence and diversification, which is the maturation and emergence of different schools. At earlier stages, e-learning would have been a question or new phenomenon that arose from an event. Latter stages will see the field as established and recognized with defined communities, careers and experts.

As a young field, research on e-learning is exploring areas such as pedagogical, technical, organizational and socio-economical. Research on e-learning in organizations includes issues such as “integrating online courses within existing systems, development of organizational knowledge, new methods and processes for developing learning organizations and for the seamless linking of different information processes and systems” (p.3).

Research on the pedagogical aspects of e-learning asks questions about it effectiveness in learning, possible new forms of teaching and learning, student experiences, and affordances of technology. Other questions ask about its appropriate use for teaching and learning activities and the assessment of student work developed through technology. It also explores issues about the development of e-learning materials, use of pedagogical models, different learning styles and cognate levels courses, assessment methods, and evaluation of quality. It is wondered who should be involved in developing e-learning.

Other pedagogical questions for e-learning are how to deliver it effectively, and how to integrate it with other teaching and learning contexts. It questions the pedagogical models associated with different learning systems. As well, it questions students’ views of e-learning systems, materials, and online courses, and how they communicate and interact with tools. Last it asks about new forms of literacy and the baseline skills needed by faculty and students to engage online. More so, what support mechanisms, guidance and feedback are put into place for them?

 

As a young field, research on e-learning is exploring areas such as pedagogical, technical, organizational and socio-economical. Research on e-learning in organizations includes issues such as “integrating online courses within existing systems, development of organizational knowledge, new methods and processes for developing learning organizations and for the seamless linking of different information processes and systems” (p.3).

Research on the pedagogical aspects of e-learning asks questions about it effectiveness in learning, possible new forms of teaching and learning, student experiences, and affordances of technology. Other questions ask about its appropriate use for teaching and learning activities and the assessment of student work developed through technology. It also explores issues about the development of e-learning materials, use of pedagogical models, different learning styles and cognate levels courses, assessment methods, and evaluation of quality. It is wondered who should be involved in developing e-learning.

Other pedagogical questions for e-learning are how to deliver it effectively, and how to integrate it with other teaching and learning contexts. It questions the pedagogical models associated with different learning systems. As well, it questions students’ views of e-learning systems, materials, and online courses, and how they communicate and interact with tools. Last it asks about new forms of literacy and the baseline skills needed by faculty and students to engage online. More so, what support mechanisms, guidance and feedback are put into place for them?

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