Understanding E-Learning

In this unit we focus on three main topics:

  1. The different ways in which e-learning has been defined;
  2. The different rationales that organizations and institutions have for using e-learning;
  3. The implications of using e-learning for teaching and learning.

I am not going to suggest that there is one correct definition of e-learning but rather that we need to recognize that the term means different things to different people. The important thing is to develop a common understanding with the people we work with and not assume that everybody has the same understanding.

Just as important is to recognize that there can be a variety of different rationales for using e-learning. Again, there is no correct rationale, although an argument can be made that some are better than others. The main point is that to plan effectively for e-learning we need to be clear about why we are proposing to use it and what we mean by the term.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this unit you should be able to:

  1. Explain the different meanings of e-learning;
  2. Discuss and critique the key rationales for using e-learning;
  3. Identify some of the ways that e-learning is changing teaching and learning in higher education, and the forces that are leading to these changes;
  4. Analyze the implications for teaching and learning of using e-learning;
  5. Identify some of the elements necessary for the development and delivery of high quality e-learning.

Unit Schedule

Try to work to the following schedule:

Week 2

  • Section 1.1: What is E-Learning?,
  • Section 1.2: Rationales for E-Learning
  • Discussion: The Meaning of E-Learning

Week 3

  • Discussion: The Meaning of E-Learning (continues)
  • Section 1.3: Overview of Technologies
  • Section 1.4: Implications for Teaching & Learning