Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
E-learning most often means an approach to facilitate and enhance learning by means of personal computers, CDROMs, and the Internet. This may includes email, discussion forums, and collaborative software.
E-learning may also be used to support distance learning through the use of WANs (Wide area networks), and may also be considered to be a form of flexible learning where just-in-time learning is possible. Courses can be tailored to specific needs and asynchronous learning is possible. Where learning occurs exclusively online, this is called online education.
Supporting learning online
Some view e-learning as a means to effective or efficient learning, due to its ease of access and the pace being determined by the learner. Others point out that that e-learning software developers tend to limit their focus on course delivery and content, while online education institutions require a much wider range of educational services.
Not every e-learning resource, usage or provision is necessarily 'exclusively e-learning', sometimes a hybrid 'blended learning' solution is available, either combining distance learning with direct contact 'close at hand' human educational resources, or combining software driven resources with human intervention (whether remote or local, computer mediated [such as through email or chat] or non-computer mediated [such as face to face or telephone] or combining software driven resources with any other educational resource [TV, radio, books, tapes, etc.])Advances in technology have allowed for the growth of collaborative web-based learning opportunities. Asynchronous activities use technologies such as blogs, wikis,and discussion boards, and allow participants to contribute when time allows. Synchronous activities occur with all participants joining in at once, as with a chat session or a virtual classroom or meeting such as those offered by WebEx, Elluminate and Centra.
On the practical side some e-learning is about organizing the topics to be taught and creating multimedia CDROMs or web sites. An important advantage is generally seen in the fact that hyperlinking is possible and having interactive parts illustrating difficult things or for doing exercises. In higher education especially, the increasing tendency is to create a Managed Learning Environment (MLE; also called a Virtual Learning Environment, VLE) in which all aspects of a course are handled through a consistent interface, using specialised software that is standard through an institution so gives students a consistent user interface.
Often a design approach is implemented which involves creating or re-using Learning Objects. These are self contained units properly tagged with keywords, or other metadata, and preferably stored in an XML file format. These are put in a database and creating a course requires putting together a sequence of learning objects.
Pedagogy of e-learning
One important point is to help teachers organize their pedagogical perspective. Some institutes for Higher education are devoted to this mission (training, counselling, funding, development, etc.).
More recent approaches focus on dialogue, interaction and collaborative activities - courses still contain content but it is of secondary importance or is generated by the students. An open source course management system that makes this approach easier is Moodle. This advocates Social-Constructivism as a pedagogical perspective, whereby learners construct their knowledge through discussion, thereby enhancing their thinking skills.
One drawback from using an open source e-learning system is the lack of technical assistance. Users who use an open source source system must have a high level of technical and trouble shooting ability in order for student centered learning to be successful.
The cost of developing and purchasing e-learning solutions has excluded many smaller or nonprofit organizations from taking advantage of this new approach to workplace performance improvement. Inexpensive e-learning resources make this approach more accessible to these organizations.
Organizing the content
- For whom do we create e-learning content
- What do they need to learn
- How do we organize the content
- Which tools / platform do we use? For creating? For delivering?
With the advent of blogs, numerous educational experts routinely publish their personal explorations in this burgeoning field. Additionally, blogs are widely used in classrooms. See Educational Blogging by Stephen Downes. See also this list of educational bloggers by George Siemens. See also the Educational Bloggers Network.
Binding it together
Knowledge avatar paradigm
Knowledge avatars are practical, results-oriented, online virtual experts that incorporate the expertise of masters.
- Learning management system
- online learning
- E-learning glossary
- CALL (computer-assisted language learning) (for a more historical perspective)
- Michael Allen: creating engagement
- Jane Bozarth: inexpensive e-learning; reflective practice in e-learning; author
- Saul Carliner
- Ruth Colvin Clark: "science" of online instruction; graphics; author
- Stephen Downes: learning objects, learning networks, RSS in learning, educational blogs
- Lance Dublin
- Brandon Hall:whitepapers, product comparisons
- Jennifer Hofmann: synchronous training; author
- William Horton: tools and tips
- Jane Knight: editor of the e-learning centre uk site
- Kevin Kruse: e-learningguru; whitepapers, articles, etc
- Elliot Masie
- Steve Molyneux (UK): Virtual and Managed Learning Environment design; e-Learning strategies, Standards
- Bob Mosher
- Wolfram F. Spoenlein - change management and the successful integration of eLearning
- George Piskurich
- Dominic Prosser: cultural heritage e-learning
- Marc Rosenberg: "business" of e-learning
- Patti Shank: education in basics of e-learning and authoring
- Clive Shepherd
- Sivasailam Thiagarajan, "Thiagi", games and facilitation strategies
- Thomas Toth: demystifying technology
- Emiliano De Laurentiis: learning avatar paradigm
- Yolanda Gayol. E-learning and international distance education
- SCORM Reference Model (Most important standard)
- IMS Series of XML Standards for e-learning
- SIF US k12 XML and Infrastructure specifications
- IEEE P1484.12 Learning Objects Metadata Standard
- O.K.I. The Open Knowledge Initiative; Standards for application/service functional interoperability.
- A.I.C.C. Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training) Committee
- SCORM Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model - US military standard
- CanCore - Canadian learning object metadata standard
- Very large free software platform list - Although in Spanish, the list can be browsed easily.
- LRN is open source software and a development kit for supporting innovation in collaborative education and learning and research communities.
- Moodle - PHP-based, free software (GNU-GPL)
- Segue - Developed at Middlebury College, PHP-based, free software (GNU-GPL)
- ILIAS - free software (GNU-GPL)
- Claroline - PHP-based, free software (GNU-GPL)
- Dokeos (external site) - PHP-based, free software (GNU-GPL)
- OpenUSS: platform itself and sourceforge site - Java J2EE
- aTutor PHP-based, free software (GNU-GPL), course generator
- interact - Interact is an Online Learning and Collaboration platform developed by the Christchurch College of Education, New Zealand. PHP, Apache, and MySQL based.
- Sakai - The Sakai Project is a community source software development effort to design, build and deploy a new Collaboration and Learning Environment (CLE) for higher education.
- KEWL.Nextgen - Part of the (Africa Virtual Intitiatives and Resourse) AVOIR project's work. KEWL.Nextgen is an advanced web-based system with extensive features. Still under active development. PHP, Apache, and MySQL based.
Free software or Open source learning tools for collaborative learning
Commercial e-learning platforms
- NetDimensions' EKP learning management system
- Learn eXact
- Apex Learning
- Learning Management System
- CompuPharma Learning Management System
- learnwise UK educational LMS
Commercial e-learning tools
- LERSUS e-Learning authoring tool Lersus easy to use and powerful software to create e-Learning materials and use use them in all range of e-Learning.
- HTML Course Development Toolkit
- Flash Course Development Toolkit
- Test Builder
- SCORM Visualizer
- learnwise publisher: UK SCORM content creator
- How do you Compile review by Matt Jadud's blog comparing software systems and social impact
- Maricopa Comparison and studies of Web based courseware
- EduTools Course management system comparison
- XPLANA Evaluation and rating of Open Source courseware
- Virtual-Learning LMS and LCMS evaluation carried out for the Austrian Government (German Text)
Other related links
- Australian Flexible Learning Framework (Australian 5-year project to develop online learning skills and resources)
- Collaborative learning environments sourcebook
- Online Education and Learning Management Systems - Global E-learning in a Scandinavian Perspective
- Tutorial Markup Language (a simple HTML based approach); link is dead; where is a copy?
- http://dublincore.org (Dublin core metadata initiative)
- http://ltsc.ieee.org/wg12/ (This IEEE standard specifies the syntax and semantics of Learning Object Metadata)
- http://www.aicc.org/ (Aviation Industry CBT Committee)
E-learning web resources
- Schools Interoprability Framework(SIF) is the k12 XML data and infrastructure standard supporting k12 educational technology in the US
- Ariadne (software) is a European Association open to the World, for Knowledge Sharing and Reuse, E-Learning for all.
- EducaNext is a portal for sharing learning objects.
- Learning Circuits latest e-learning developments, US emphasis
- Stephen's Web e-learning and related technology, includes the widely read OLDaily e-learning newsletter
- e-Learning Guru lots of information about e-learning
- tele-task archive provides many tele-lectures particularly about Internet- and WWW-technology and security
- Support Insight daily e-learning stories, international interest
- European Schoolnet e-learning stories, European perspective, schools and education system emphasis
- eLearningpost daily e-learning stories, US emphasis
- Comunidad E-learning Workshops E-learning news and resources in Spanish for Spain and Latin America.
- me-Learning Makers of me-Learning management simulation courseware series and the ALEAS simulation framework
- elearnspace E-learning, knowledge management, communities, and networks - news and resources
- English Grammar Online free exercises, explanations, games and teaching materials on English as a foreign language
- Skills & More European eLearning Consulting Group, specialists in eLearning, blended learning and change management of eLearning projects
- No Child Left Behind Technology Leadership Summit: Increasing Options Through eLearning
- eLearning Acupuncture A blog which examines eLearning technology from an andragogical perspective.
- Bozarthzone.com Site devoted to cost-cutting strategies for building or buying e-learning solutions.
- TrainingResourceLibrary.com Capsulized information about a variety of elearning terms.
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