eLearning Potential

With the widespread access to the Internet in K-12 schools, homes, libraries and community centers elearning popularity has increased. There are many forms of elearning offerings that are showing up around the country. Several approaches will be outlined through this paper.

One approach is a cohort of educators participating in a series of learning activities. This approach generally uses available web-based technologies and asynchronous discussions. The participants can participate on their own schedules from any location as long as they have access to the Internet. These courses often include classroom activities in which teachers are asked to develop a lesson plan, visit other classroom to watch master teachers, and assessing students’ work. All of these issues would be discussed online in the elearning environment like Moodle, which is a learning management system.

Another approach of elearning programs is a video rich environment. Teachers can view lectures, demonstrations, conference workshops and classrooms around the world. This approach would also offer the ability to broadcast the instructor’s presentation to multiple sites. As technology and available bandwidth continues to advance, video rich elearning will become more widely accessible to educators in their schools and homes.

The third type of approach of elearning is the format that provides individualized, self-paced instruction. This type of elearning would provide flexibility for the participants. This asynchronous learning would limit the teacher and student to email, threaded online discussions, and homework message boards.

Other approaches are emerging. For example, the use of an audio bridge would allow the participants of the elearning experience to engage in spoken exchanges. Only time will tell how the elearning movement will evolve.

Some items for discussion would be how to make the elearning course interactive between the instructor and students. eLearning courses that are rated high usually involve many interactions during the course. eLearning provides a detailed record of content, assignments, products, and interactions that can be reviewed to make sure it is of quality.

eLearning can clearly provide a means to help meet the challenges of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. The anytime, anyplace components of elearning provides flexibility that can expand access to rural areas and to educators or students that have difficultly with traditional educational settings because of their schedules.

The following two states have been doing elearning with there students for some time. Florida and Kentucky have elearning programs that are offered to their student population. Take a look at their programs since they both have had great success with elearning.

Key Terms

Asynchronous communication: Communication in which students and instructors interact at various times (example include email, discussion boards, and message boards).

Synchronous communication: Communication in which students and instructors interact at the same time (via instant message, telephone calls, face-to-face meetings, chatrooms, or videoconferencing).

eLearning programs: Educational programs in which students take online courses that involve web-based material.