The Evolution of E-learning

I have recently prepared this presentation but didn’t get to present it. It was for the better reason, I guess. Anyway, I think it won’t get to waste by my sharing it here. It’s a simple presentation about how e-learning has actually evolved with Web 2.0 technology today and how it affects our learning process. This is just a small part of my literature review for my dissertation.

Below are the notes for some of the slides which can be found if you view the presentation in

Notes on Slide 2

E-learning is widely used without a standardized meaning to everyone. According to Guri-Rosenblit & Gros, e-learning is defined to be the use of various web applications of technologies esp. in learning environments. According to Mayes & de Freitas, it is defined as the use of technology to improve learning experience. Some associated e-learning to distance learning but some argue that they are not the same though their functions may overlap in certain situation.Other similar terms that are commonly used: internet mediated learning, web-based learning, virtual learning, distance learning, online education. These terms may or may not be synonym with e-learning.

Notes on Slide 3

The ambiguity of meanings signifies the different perceptions among many to define what e-learning means to them.To most learners and educators in higher education today, especially in Malaysia, e-learning is associated to Learning Management System. LMS is widely used in higher education as Course Management System where educators manage coursework content and learners activities through one platform. Similarly, learners get course information, lecture notes and assignments from LMS. Generally, LMS is designed to be in educators’ control rather than learners’ control.

Notes on Slide 4

There are many forms of e-learning available – there is face-to-face learning where electronic medium is used. Then we move to blended learning where we use classroom aids such as slide projector, computer labs/laptop and then we have the now famous type of blended learning where we use mixed mode with less face-to-face and more e-learning. Mixed mode learning is the beginning of the next stage called distributed learning where distance education is gaining popularity today. With the rapid development of the Web technology today, we see the e-learning evolves to become e-learning 2.0 where the focus is more towards personal learning environment and the practice of self-regulated learning.

Notes on Slide 5

Today e-learning has evolved with the Web 2.0 technology and become what we called the e-learning 2.0 that utilizes the advantage of Web 2.0 applications in education. So, what is Web 2.0? It is the platform for the web, where people’s participation and collaboration can harness the collective intelligence through the driving force of data. It also signifies the end of software cycle as software is delivered as service rather than product.Web 2.0 promotes the wisdom of the crowd through rich user experience where dynamic websites replace static ones and syndication technology keeps people together.

Notes on Slide 6

According to Amberg et al, web 2.0 applications can be categorized into four: collaboration, communication, relationship management and information.Collaboration are the applications that allow collaborative authoring content by multiple parties. One good example is the Wiki. Communications are those that allow both synchronous and asynchronous interaction between multiple parties. Relationship management as the name suggested allows a person to manage his/her online identity via social network. Information enables collection, publishing or sharing of information and facilitating feedback.

Notes on Slide 7

The learning process actually consist of both formal and informal learning. Amberg argues that the web 2.0 applications can be implemented in the learning process, especially the informal one.

Notes on Slide 8

The ultimate goal of utilizing the web 2.0 applications in the learning process is actually to help learners to become autonomous in their own learning process.Autonomy is defined as taking control of one’s own learning and it’s a combination of direct and indirect observable behaviors during the learning process. Personal autonomy is practices within the learning process where learners are actively participating in their daily learning activities.To become autonomous, a leaner must have the ability to become self regulated and willingness to take responsibilities for their own learning, hence the more responsible the learner, the higher their motivation in their own learning.

Notes on Slide 9

This figure depicts the progression from pedagogy to heutagogy in relation to the levels of learner autonomy and educator’s control. Pedagogy is the most commonly known leading and teaching theory – it concerns more about the transfer of information and skills between the educators and learners. The purpose of pedagogy is to build learners’ confidence (especially young learners) in the learning process. While pedagogy is a way to allow educator in control of the learning process and course structure, adult learners should require less educator’s control and structure as they have already built their confidence in early school years. With that in mind, the term andragogy, made popular by Knowles, is used to explain the theory of adult learning as an alternative to pedagogy. Andragogy is about learner autonomy and self responsibility in learning – let the learners decide on what, why and how to learn and at the same time maintaining their level of motivation to learn on their own. While andragogy promotes self directed learning, there is a more holistic approach called heutagogy as an extension of andragogy in promoting self determined learning. Heutagogy concerns about the development of learners’ capabilities and competencies to learn on their own with the desire to go beyond what is required in the learning process. In another word, heutagogy ultimately promotes lifelong learning capabilities to learners.


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