History of E-learning

The word “E-learning” seems so general and common today, especially the speed with which it is becoming a learning norm nowadays, labels it as one of the widely practiced concept all over the world. But, till 1999, no one could even imagine that learning would be possible without meeting at a physical location and there had never been a term like “E-learning” till then. The word “E-learning” and its concept first emerged in October 1999, in a seminar at Los Angeles, organized by CBT systems. In this seminar, the origin and usage of this word in a professional field, was never thought to be the most admiring and adopted idea in just few coming years. It implies that the concept of E-learning is not that old.

The world “E-learning” is also associated with the expressions like “virtual learning” or “online learning”. Experts define E-learning as a mean to gain learning that is based on the utilization of new advanced technologies that permit access to interactive, online and sometime tailored training via Internet and other media like interactive TV, Intranet, CD-ROM, extranet etc so as to expand competencies while the course of learning is self-determining from place and time.

The growth of the e-Learning concept has derived from so many other ‘educational revolutions’. Some of such revolutions are quoted by Billings and Moursund (1988) as:

  • The development of writing and reading
  • The emergence of the teacher/scholar profession
  • The development of portable technology
  • The advancement of electronic technology

It seems that the basic ideas, didactical grounds and methodologies are not so new!

The history of E-learning has been a gradual evolution since long.

In the beginning of 1960s, Psychology professors from Stanford University, named Richard C. Atkinson and Patrick Suppes tested computers to be used to teach math to kids in elementary schools in East Palo Alto, California. These experiments gave birth to Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth.

In the year 1963, Bernard Luskin set up the earliest computer in a community college for teaching. At that time he was working with Stanford along with others and made progress in computer assisted training. Luskin finished his milestone UCLA thesis while working with the Rand Corporation in examining the problems to computer assisted education in 1970.

Initially the e-learning systems, that are based on Computer-Based Training frequently tried to replicate conventional teaching methods whereby the function of the e-learning system was assumed to be for conveying knowledge, as contrasting to systems that were developed afterward. These were designed on the basis of Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), which initiated the idea of shared growth of knowledge.

In 1993, William D. Graziadei introduced an online computer-conveyed lecture, seminar and evaluation project via electronic mail. The first most online high school was founded by 1994. Till now the e-learning has become the hot norm of societies at large, all over the world. The global e-learning industry is anticipated to have value over $48 billion as per some conservative estimates.(Nagy, A., 2005, pp. 79-96). From 1994 till 2006 i.e. just within 12 years, over 3.5 million students had been reported to participate in on-line learning environment at various higher education institutions in US.

E-Learning is now being adopted widely and used by a number of companies to update and educate both their customers and employees. Companies with big and spread out division chains employ it to teach their staff even for the newest product advancements without the requirement of arranging physical courses.

Reference:

1. Nagy, A. (2005). The Impact of E-Learning, in: Bruck, P.A.; Buchholz, A.; Karssen, Z.; Zerfass, A. (Eds). E-Content: Technologies and Perspectives for the European Market. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, pp. 79–96

Tin Can API-Another Fabulous Addition To Enhance E-Learning Model

If we talk about E-learning and online learning approaches, then the discussion would never be complete if we skip the most recent development in this regard. This development has come out in the name of Tin Can-API, a new protocol set ready to replace SCORM.

Since long, SCORM, a collection of specifications and standards had been used for e-learning and web based training. SCORM stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model, and it is a tool that is used to record when anyone takes an e-learning course and records quiz results. It describes communications between a host system referred to as the run-time environment, and user side content that is usually up hold by some learning management system. SCORM also tells how content might be packaged into a transportable ZIP file named “Package Interchange Format”. The last main modernization of SCORM took place in 2004. (Tillett, Jeff, 2012)

Tin-Can API is another evolution of the inflexible SCORM specification. There are a lot of benefits for using Tin-Can, however, the major trait that is proving to be its biggest benefit is its capability to record learning beyond the limitations of a browser’s window. This “light weight” feature of Tin-Can has made it quite versatile, so it is just a matter of time until you will start seeing it integrated in several different ways.

The major features that Tin-Can provides, along with so many other minor qualities, include:

  • Informal learning
  • Personalize learning
  • Performance tracking
  • Analysis
  • Visualization

For learning management system, especially the e- learning one, these features can be termed as ideal as they enhance their efficiency by giving lot of comfort and security.

In addition, there is a fitted query API to assist sorting out recorded statements, and a situation API that permits for a kind of “scratch space” for utilizing applications. Tin Can API statements get saved in a data store named as Learning Record Store that can exist itself or inside a Learning Management System.

Using Tin-Can API:

With Tin-Can API, you can now capture a variety of actions of your users at levels of factors never seen earlier than in conventional learning management systems. There are ways to help you to implement Tin-Can API in your own learning management system through three phases:

Phase 1: Learning Record Store Integration

This phase is complete. The first phase is to incorporate a Learning Record Store (LRS) to house Tin-Can statements.   Learning Record Store is the point where all the learning statements are saved.  An LRS is an innovative method that derived out of Tin-Can API. When Tin-Can API statements are formed, they are conveyed to an LRS which proves as a warehouse for delivered learning statements.

Phase 2: Tin-Can Organic Statement Generation for Quizzes

The second phase is still in progress by LeanDash and you will very soon see the results of this phase as well.

Phase 3:

Currently, no details are available about phase 3. However, it is also going to come very soon.

Reference:

1. Tillett, Jeff. (2012), “Project Tin Can – The Next Generation of SCORM”. Project Tin Can – The Next Generation of SCORM. Float Mobile Learning.

5 Emerging E-Learning Models

E-learning is the fastest growing learning method in developed and advanced countries. The E-learning is going to widely adopted in many other developing countries soon. The planning for effective implementation of sustainable, result oriented and quality e-learning programs needs a comprehensive understanding regarding the affects of communication technology and information on current learning and teaching practices and on higher education market, in order to find out important success factors which are necessary to be discussed in an effective e-learning policy. (Elmarie Egelbrecht, 2003)

Newer and more effective e-learning models are being developed on a continuous basis, as novel research findings. E –learning models attempt to provide the frameworks needed to deal with the concerns of learners along with the challenges being imposed by technology, so that e- learning can be made effective.  Let’s have a look on some of the e-learning models.

  • ADDIE

The ADDIE model is basically a frame work that shows the generic method conventionally employed by training developers and instructional designers. (Elmarie Egelbrecht, 2003)

The word “ADDIE” is the short form of its five phase i.e.

  1. Analysis
  2. Design
  3. Development
  4. Implementation
  5. Evaluation

The model shows the dynamic, adjustable guideline for structuring successful teaching and performance maintenance tools. It is an ISD (Instructional Systems Design) model. Instructional models play a significant role in devising instructional materials.

  • Dick and Carey Model

Another recognized e-learning instructional design model is called The Dick and Carey Model. The model deals with instruction like a whole system, focusing on the connectedness between content, content, instruction and learning.

The components of this model include:

  1. Identify instructional objectives
  2. Conduct instructional investigation
  3. Examine learners and their contexts
  4. Write performance targets
  5. Develop appraisal instruments
  6. Develop instructional approach
  7. Develop and choose instructional materials
  8. Design and perform formative assessment of instruction
  9. Revise coaching
  10. Design and perform summative evaluation
  • Minimalism

The Minimalism theory by J.M. Carroll is a structure for the designing the instruction, especially teaching materials for e- learners. Minimalist model aims to reduce the degree to which instructional resources hinder learning and emphasizes the design on various activities that maintain learner-directed action and achievement.

  • Rapid Design

E-learning has become widely adopted and rapidly since late 1990s but organizations and developers were hindered by the complexity of writing processes. It was hard and costly to design online courses just from scratch. Rapid learning, Rapid design or Rapid e-learning development has conventionally referred to a method to make e-learning courses speedily. (Karrer, T., 2006)

Rapid design mostly focuses the idea of reprocessing accessible resources such as PowerPoint presentations and converting them into different e-learning courses.

  • User-centered design

Integrating User-Centered Design in an e-learning model will make sure that a product is useful, utilizable, and consequential to the user and permit for abridged development cycles.

User-Centered Design is a strategy for making experiences for learners with their desires they have in their minds. Usability is considered as the primary focus but merely one of numerous. Others incorporate usefulness, legibility, desirability, learnability, etc.

The aim of E-learning models is to spot the vital issues in the e-learning process that have to be tackled in a strategic development process for the execution of e-learning or the tuning of current e-learning initiatives.

Reference:

Elmarie Egelbrecht, (2003) “A look at e-learning models: investigating their value for developing an e-learning strategy”, Progressio, Vol. 25 (2), pp. 38-47

What Does A Real Life E-Learning Strategy Look Like?

We all follow strategies, every moment of life somehow or the other. It is true that almost every one of us have been a manager and pursuing strategies right from the day we got wisdom. Learning is an ongoing process and an infinite world to discover. Today, learning has evolved in the form of E-learning, vanishing the geographical barriers and distances and making people learn whatever they want, no matter what stage of life they are at.

However, just like other aspects of life, E-learning also requires certain things to follow which are essential ingredients for making the learners successfully pursue their E-learning goals. To exploit this opportunity to the fullest, you need to adopt practical and result oriented strategies so that the learners achieve their E-learning target effectively. (Watkins, 2004, Pg 32-34)

In this article, I am going to uncover some of the highly effective strategies that are compatible with learners’ real life aspects, in order to make the E-learning courses quite successful and interesting experience for them. After reading this article, you will be able to think on your own, what a real-life E-learning strategy should look like?

Remember! You are teaching people and giving them learning online. You might be able to see one another through various electronic means, however; it’s a reality that in real life, face to face (physical) interaction results in unmatchable results. Hence, you need to make your strategy so interacting; engaging and motivating for the learners which can make them feel that they are physically collaborated and learning under one roof. No matter, what the age of learner is, he/she needs the excellent e-learning experience, self satisfaction and engaging atmosphere.

A real Life E-learning strategy!

An E-learning strategy must have the following elements in order to be engaging and compatible with real life aspects of the learners.

  • The E-learning strategy must be challenging that can keep the learners active and alert.
  • The strategy must be able to deliver empowerment to learners where they can share their thoughts and what they actually think about the current topic. This also enables instructors to have an insight regarding the degree to which learners are getting engaged with the E-learning process. (C.Curran, 2004)
  • The E-learning courses must be made interesting so that learners take interest and show enthusiasm to explore more and more.
  • Let the E-learning strategy be embedded with one of the most common real life facts, “To err is human”. The E-learning strategy must be flexible enough to give space for the mistakes and flaws, by the learners or a process. This will lead towards advancement and improvement.
  • Make learning fun, rather than burdensome thing to digest. Since E-learning involves learning via electronic means rather than physical or face to face correspondence, there is not much margin for the learners to have something humorous in order to refresh themselves. Like for example, if the webinar is of 4-5 hours, the strategy should include at least one hour for informal discussion, so that learners can divert their minds for some time and gain energy for the further session. (C.Curran,2004)

All these strategies have actually been designed by E-learning experts and are widely adopted nowadays to make E-learning quite similar with normal mode of learning, where everyone has access to lot of information in an interactive and friendly manner.

Watkins, R. 2004b. E-Learning Study Skills and Strategies. Distance Learning 1, no. 3: 32-34

Curran, Chris, 2004.Straregies for E-Learning in Universities. Research and Occasional Papers Series, UC Berkeley.