E-learning (or eLearning) is the use of electronic educational technology in learning and teaching.
e-Learning is broadly synonymous with instructional technology, information and communication technology (ICT) in education, EdTech, learning technology, multimedia learning, technology-enhanced learning (TEL), computer-based instruction (CBI), computer managed instruction, computer-based training (CBT), computer-assisted instruction or computer-aided instruction (CAI), internet-based training (IBT), flexible learning, web-based training (WBT), online education, virtual education, virtual learning environments (VLE) (which are also called learning platforms), m-learning, and digital education.
In usage, all of these terms appear in articles and reviews; the term "e-learning" is used frequently, but is variously and imprecisely defined and applied. These alternative terms are all linguistically more restrictive than "educational technology" in that they refer to the use of modern tools, such as computers, digital technology, electronic media, networked digital devices and associated software and courseware with learning scenarios, worksheets and interactive exercises that facilitate learning.
However, these alternative names individually emphasize a particular digitization approach, component or delivery method. Accordingly, each conflates to the broad domain of educational technology. For example, m-learning emphasizes mobility, but is otherwise indistinguishable in principle from educational technology.
Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of others, but may also be autodidactic. Any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. Education is commonly divided into stages such as preschool, primary school, secondary school and then college, university or apprenticeship. South Africa faces many challenges in this modern age and education should not be one of them. One of the initiatives in place is E-Learning.
Platforms - Classroom
A new software based CLASSROOM platform transforms students Android and Windows tablet into a rich 21st century learning environment. Students can easily connect their tablets to the classroom Wi-Fi network, while the teacher stays in control, using his own tablet or Laptop. With this platform all students' activities can be managed in the interests of learning – from the teacher’s Android or Windows mobile device, without requiring middleware server or hardware (peer-to-peer).
Platforms - Education
A new online based EDUCATION tool is a learning management platform based in a cloud framework used to plan, implement and assess specific learning processes. The new online based EDUCATION platform involves the learning world from a student centric perspective, and incorporates the full school day in 1 in an easy to use interface and application. Whether it is through PC, mobile phone or a tablet. You always have access to the platform, anywhere you are.
Platforms – Guard
The new GUARD application set is a cloud-ready global management interface for network-wide visibility and control. Affordable, easy-to-use and robust, the system enables teachers to centrally control PC's, laptops, tablets (including BYOD) wherever they are. It reaches inside and beyond the boundaries of your local network, managing and supporting users on your LAN, on-the-go and on remote sites. Whatever your environment, municipality, university, school, education or help desk centre - GUARD optimizes and streamlines your administration capabilities.
Platforms – Free Utilities
The new Lite tool is a free e-learning tool, that allows students, parents and teachers access to their eBooks, an online bookstore and to the content media library for the latest movies and music. Sign up today and get your own Cloudbanc account. As a value add on for schools, or closed learning groups this can be upgraded from the Lite package to include CLASSROOM and/or GUARD.
Platforms – Content & Partners
E-learning is only as strong as the content that is available to both teachers and learners. To that end long lasting partnerships have been formed with the pioneers and drivers of education locally and globally with a wide content library available.
More on e-Learning
E-learning includes numerous types of media that deliver text, audio, images, animation, and streaming video, and includes technology applications and processes such as audio or video tape, satellite TV, CD-ROM, and computer-based or device based learning, as well as local intranet and web-based learning. Information and communication systems, whether free-standing or based on either local networks or the Internet in networked learning, underlying many e-learning processes.
E-learning can occur in or out of the classroom. It can be self-paced, asynchronous learning or may be instructor-led, synchronous learning. E-learning is suited to distance learning and flexible learning, but it can also be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, in which case the term blended learning is commonly used. E-learning in learning and education refers to the use of modern technology, such as computers, digital technology, networked digital devices (e.g., the Internet) and associated software and courseware.
There are several aspects to describing the intellectual and technical development of e-learning, which can be categorized into discrete areas.
- An educational approach or tool that supports traditional subjects;
- A technological medium that assists in the communication of knowledge, and its development and exchange;
- As an educational subject; courses may be called "Computer Studies" or "Information and Communication Technology (ICT)";
- E-Learning administrative tools such as education management information systems (EMIS).
The major key to the platform is the ability to monitor and track the progress of students. Through the use of online portals or applications, it is an innovative way of delivering online educational content to teachers via a local cache based end device.
Mr Kobus van Wyk (www.e4africa.co.za) said “A classroom without technology is like a football match without a vuvuzela”. There is great confidence that the above solutions will enhance and improve educators and education as a whole, thus improving learner knowledge and increase the pass percentages. Organisations are committed to helping South Africa produce future Leaders, Engineers, Doctors, Scientists, Programmers and Educators locally by empowering our children to bridge the “Digital Divide” through ICT.
The ultimate goal is to inspire and assist learners to reach their full potential, by delivering original, fun and affordable educational & funky products. These products will be accessible everywhere. They are with you on the web and mobile.
Here are some examples of what the solution could potentially offer, and indeed does offer, learners.
- Educational products include summaries, online lectures, mock exams, online tests, study skills, and access to top teachers – all designed to make expensive and difficult-to-arrange extra lessons more accessible
- Fun products too, from educational games, competitions, prizes and giveaways to school-holiday activities – and potentially, jobs
- Potential access to Whizkid, a two-way communication and management system for school, teachers, parents and pupils that includes notice boards and calendars, messages, My Profile, My Children, and My School
- Easy, affordable ways to pay. Not only are products very affordable but paying for products is easy too and even includes payment by cellphone and vouchers
- Immediate real time delivery - products are delivered immediately via email or fax. No more waiting and no room for error!
The platforms for e-Learning now also includes access to Moodle, which is a free software e-learning platform, also known as a Learning Management System, or Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The platform has 7.5+ million courses with 1.2+ million teachers. Moodle was originally developed to help educators create online courses with a focus on interaction and collaborative construction of content, and is in continual evolution.
The Moodle project comprises several distinct but related elements, namely the software. The Moodle Community, an open network of over one million registered users who interact through the Moodle community website to share ideas, code, information and free support.
This community also includes a large number of non-core developers, with Moodle's free source license and modular design allowing any developer to create additional modules and features that has allowed Moodle to become a truly global, collaborative project in scope. The Moodle Partner network, which forms the commercial arm of the Moodle environment and provides the bulk of the funding to Moodle.
The overall idea for the solution is to provide users with access to all forms of educational material through fixed internet portals or through a range of applications that make up an ecosystem, fed through mobile platforms. A potential ecosystem could resemble the following:
Intel and Education
Intel education helps passionate education professionals transform education. In turn, education transforms their students into dreamers, doers, and the leaders of the future.
Taking Steps toward Change
A transformative education initiative starts from a vision of student success where goals and an understanding of how information communications technology (ICT) can help schools achieve those goals, drive change. From improving student achievement and bridging equity divides, to increasing student engagement and aligning skills with workforce needs, these goals are the beginning of global transformation.
A Holistic Approach for Success
Successful educational technology initiatives require ongoing, long-term efforts aimed at new goals, new approaches, and new ways of thinking about challenges and opportunities across the school system. This embodies what scholars characterize as second-order change, the type of substantive change that drives deep impact.
Government Focus on Education
Spending on education will grow drastically in 2015/2016 as Government steps up its efforts to drive education in South Africa. The Minister of Finance made additional allocations for equalisation of learner subsidies for no-fee schools and expanded access to grade R as well as funding for the national department of Basic Education over the three-year spending period to extend the national assessments system. Additional funding is being allocated to improve university infrastructure, including student accommodation facilities.
Education remains an apex priority for government. Government is striving, with the help of business, to push education and:
- continue to promote universal access to education by ensuring that all children between ages 7 and 15 are in school or have a learning platform
- increase the number of Grade 12 learners who can gain entrance to university
- continue to eradicate mud schools and other inappropriate structures, building proper learning facilities and proper learning platforms such as digital and mobile.