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Using e-learning right

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When you get a bunch of text on a computer scene, it is known as a wall of text. And when you post a wall of text on internet forums, this will probably be the end result of anyone trying to read…

As far as e-learning is concerned, it is a concept that many people have heard of. Learning with a computer is something that have been done since a long time ago, since the early days where computers were first adapted as a luxurious machine at people’s homes.

I personally remember playing educational games at my very technologically savvy aunt’s place, ranging from word puzzles to solving mathematical equations to save the world – all of these in the days where a dial up modem was considered razor cutting edge.

But in the last 2 decades, e-learning have not caught up with the likes of e-commerce, where computers and internet have totally reinvented the way people do business these days. It is only very recently that schools and educators began their baby steps in embracing this new field of learning with a connected computer.

It was not too long ago that, sci-fi geeks would have portrayed the future of learning to be one where students could flick buttery smooth user interface (UI) and get running lines of information at the blink of an eye.

But that haven’t really materialized. In fact, the current state of learning is so far away from what we imagined it to be, that students today still lug heavy textbooks to school, take notes on pencil and paper.

Now picture this; an educator is forced to use e-learning as part of her lesson, hence, she uploads chucks of text only word documents and some quiz online, to some content management system (CMS).

This educator would be quickly and sorely disappointed that not only her online classes have totally fallen through; students would not get to learn anything at all.

Once bitten twice shy, this educator would swear he/she would never use this gimmicky way to conduct her lesson, and be reluctant to use it again even when asked to.

In my opinion, the problem of slow adaptation of technology in the fields of education, lies with the way e-learning is built – the attention span of a student in front of a computer is way shorter then he/she sitting in a classroom.

Any standalone computer could run simple games that are more interesting then the boring text he/she is supposed to read. Internet connected computers are in magnitudes more interesting then a standalone computer, and the rest is history.

Online learning materials have to be concise, interactive, complimented with interesting media like videos, pictures or audio, and especially, be easy to read.

These are the very same elements why younger people can actually get addicted to internet, so why not embrace these same elements in e-learning?

Well, a few schools here in Singapore have finally made baby steps, by issuing their students with the Apple iPad – in hopes that the interactivity these tablets offer could actually help students in ways a teacher could not.

Girls from Nanyang Girls High were issued with iPads as part of a pilot project to embrace technology for better learning in classrooms.

Students from Nanyang Girls High were issued with iPads, where they could use these tablets as a compliment to classes. As a measurement of success, a Secondary 3 girl was quoted saying such a device actually helped in hard subjects like math, where she could better visualize trigonometry and geometry – a field where visual animation would work a lot better then static pictures.

While e-learning haven’t caught on the success of e-commerce, it is making baby steps towards the right direction, and hopefully, the scenes that wow-ed us in sci-fi flicks could come true one day.

PS: I was half alive during Tuesday’s class, and was on MC on Friday’s class. Have been nursing a flu that doesn’t seem to go away, so if this post isn’t very related to class, pardon me. 🙂

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Written by garygoh

February 27, 2011 at 2:59 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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