The state of e-learning

Tony Bates (2008 ) reflects on the e-learning from the perspective of his travels around the world. He states e-learning is a mode being increasingly used by professors and instructors. He states the enrolment into online learning in the US has increased by 12% over the last 5 years as compared to an average of 2% for overall enrolment. As well, about ¼ of students in postsecondary in the US have taken at less one course that is fully online.

With this evolution, institutions are wondering how best to use technologies in their teaching. As well, two concerns loom over higher education, the return on investing in technologies and investments and the lack of innovation.

He also criticizes that students needs for engaging learning is not being met but rather courses have teachers lagging in technical who tend to overlook 21st century skills and use technology to replicate outdated educational paradigms. While there are pockets of innovators in institutions most times technology is added on to existing programs with no strategic plans to implement it. 

The innovators are using new forms of technology, such as blogs, wikis, and mobile technology to let learners create and share their work. Another area of innovation is open educational resources to increase the wealth of information for students.

Bates claims in that in education “the traditional methods [for] preparation for an industrial society are fast vanishing. We need to use technology as an integral part of our teaching and learning activities to prepare learners for a knowledge-based society” (p.3). Yet, there is a lack of incentive to change in institutions, such as faculty rewards, management train gin, and understanding of current societal needs for information and knowledge.

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