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The Foundations of Educational Technology

The creation and evolution of information technology has facilitated the digital presentation of knowledge and with this comes the speedy acquisition and processing of information. This technology has enabled the possibility of transfer and sharing of information that cuts across distances and different time zones (Diane; 1989). The foregoing advancement has also paved way for the development of new institutional technologies and tools of communication that enhance the delivery of information without limitations that were previously experienced by use of traditional means (Minoli; 1996).

A good example that depicts the importance of this technology is the Open University in Britain, which was established in 1969 and began with the use of television for delivery of information and letter evolved to the use of computers and other multi-media facilities. (Minoli; 1996). Today as we speak, various institutions varying from learning, government, and business institutions provide educational technology and as such various debates concerning this technology have been propounded concerning its place within the society.

It is from the foregoing premise that his paper is based. This paper examines the concept of electronic learning and to what extent it incorporates the pedagogical models of learning. With regard to the foregoing, the paper seeks to examine whether e-learning adequately promotes effective teaching as well as effective learning. But before looking at the foregoing, this thesis shall begin by examining the definition and key concepts of effective learning. The Foundations of Educational Technology

E-Learning is defined as a form of learning where the teacher-student interaction is separated by space and time but the gap is bridged through the use of online technology (Jochem (et-al); 2003; Cumming; 1992; Diane; 1989). While the introduction of e-learning was on the basis of serving isolated rural schools and some urban systems (Cumming 1992) current systems go beyond this role due to their encapsulation of advanced and specialized courses that involve training and seminars for adults.

(Blanchard & Marshall; 2005). Electronic-learning has also been accepted especially in learning institutions because of its application that meets specific needs such as provision of institutional mandated courses that are too costly to provide or there is insufficiency of teachers that are required for the particular course (Blanchard & Marshall ;2005)

Many authors thus claim that just like the traditional systems, e-learning yields a technology push that improves the quality of education. The promulgation of this view include Marler et-al (1998) and Jochems et. al (2003) who state that apart from the independence of place and time that characterize e-learning, its integrated presentation and communication facilities which create opportunity for reuse of institutional material create are foundational basis for quality learning.

However other authors are skeptic about the influence of technology in learning and promulgate that the use of technology does not promote effective learning that is a product of pedagogical design. (White; 2003, Bruer; 1993). Proponents for e-learning however stipulate that the focus should be on the institutional methods provided as opposed to the media employed in determining the quality of learning. (Malel et. al; 1998).

The question that seems to be the bond of contention is whether technology in a learning forum facilitates effective learning. Integrated Electronic-Learning: The Place of Effective Learning The general agreement propounded by various authors is that effective teaching is the facilitative tool of effective learning. Effective learning is acknowledged as the act of accumulating facts, organization of information, and understanding of the concepts that define the information and power of critical reasoning.

(Warschauer; 1997). The question that arises is whether electronic learning encapsulates the foregoing concept of effective learning. As examined in the previous section, the anti-technology learning proponents hold the view that from a pedagogical perspective e-learning is deficient as it entails a lot of content constituting of programmed tutorials and electronics books which in turn limits the activities of students to reading from screens and filling out boxes. (White; 2003).

Bruer (1993) concedes with this notion by stating that education cannot be delinked from the society as it reflects the values of a particular society thus a broad set of common values are put into consideration while drafting a school curriculum, a concept which is not considered in electronic technology. The classroom curriculum is therefore fashioned with the intent of developing the enjoyment as well as commitment to learning. (White; 2003). The two proponents promulgate that the curriculum is formulated from people’s strength, interests and experiences thus developing students’ confidence and capacity to learn.

This according to White and Bruer is attained from an interactive face-to-face classroom setting as opposed to distance learning. Some e-learning proponents support the foregoing view. Lock Wood (1995) refers to e-learning as a computer supported page turning (CSPT) concept where the computer provides information that must be imitated as opposed to classroom based learning where the development of peoples identity is based on acquisition of knowledge and understanding that fuses with the spiritual, moral, social and cultural heritage of diverse societies.

Belanger Jordan (1999) also stipulates that learning technologies that encompass the active engagement of learners with active social construction of knowledge together with acquisition of skill is hardly achievable. Thus with e-learning, tasks should be designed well with the intent of integrating required skill, knowledge and attitude as well as coordinating different aspects of behavior (Baker & O’Neal ;1994) Arguments to the effect that e-learning has integrated the above mentioned concepts have been put forward.

Warshchaur (1997) asserts that e-learning envisages the above mentioned concepts under the four components of institution design model commonly referred to as 4C/ID. This model according to proponents of e-learning constitute of an integrated e-learning design. It propounds for the existence of a learning task which should be concrete, authentic and meaningful (Blanchard & Marshall; 2005), supportive information, just-in-time information and put-task practice which is additional exercise for recurrent aspects of learning tasks.

The common denominator or pedagogical models as examined above is the task or determination of the curriculum (Diane Publishers 1989). This therefore depicts that other elements are subordinate to the task. White (2003) has however raised criticisms on the foregoing integrated design on ground that the guidance given through supportive information and/or supportive information gradually becomes of less import especially where learners acquire more expertise. In conclusion, the framework of integrated e-learning presented comprise of limitation.

Bruer (1993) establishes that e-learning is limited to pedagogical models in that internet is the primary media unlike traditional models where tutors may give direction and or consultation may be made from books or stand alone skill training programs may be used. Conclusion The foregoing paper has examined the concepts that govern electronic learning. It has begun by examining the key concept of electronic learning by examining the definition importance of this form of learning.

An examination of various schools of thought has also been conducted in which examination of various views raised for or against e-learning. The outstanding component with regard to anti-electronic-learning is that e-learning restricts student’s activity to reading from screen without encompassing the active engagement of learners thus deterring their acquisition of skill. Other propounders have established that e-learning envisages the components of effective learning through the process of integrated e-learning design.

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