WikiEdProfessional eLearning Guidebook/An Overview/Opportunities and affordances of e-Learning

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A growing body of literature on learning and teaching is suggesting that learning is greatly enhanced when it is anchored or situated in meaningful and authentic problem-solving activities (see Barron, Schwartz, Vye, Moore, Petrosino, Zech, Bransford, & The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbuilt, 1998; Brown, Collins, & Duguid, 1989; Evensen, & Hmelo, 2000; Naidu, 2004; Schank, & Cleary, 1995; McLellan, 1996; The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt, 1990). This approach to learning and teaching is founded on the principles of learning by doing and experiencing (Schank, Fano, Jona, & Bell, 1994). It places or confronts learners with authentic situations and scenarios which are motivating and which require learners to carry out tasks or solve problems and reflect upon their actions (Naidu, 2004).

While such learning designs are suited for any learning and teaching context or media, their effectiveness and efficiency can be somewhat constrained by the fixed time, space and pace limitations of learning and teaching in conventional campus-based classroom settings. Similarly, printed study materials, while they afford transportability, are limited by their inability to capture and carry much else other than text, pictures, and illustrations.

Information and communications technologies, on the other hand, afford us a wide range of opportunities to capture, store and distribute information and resources of all types and formats. Along with text, pictures and illustrations, these include multimedia-based simulations of complex processes from all sorts of domains such as the biological and medical sciences, agriculture, engineering and educational practice which are not easily or cheaply accessible in real time and settings.

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*What promise does this attribute of e-learning hold for your organizational needs?
  • What advantages do you see in adopting e-learning for your organization’s learning and teaching needs?
  • What concerns and fears, if any, you have in the adoption of e-learning in addressing your organizations education and training needs?

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Tell us a story

Can you think of contexts or situations where these opportunities have been adopted? What were its successes and/or failures?