Investigation of ICT maturity and e



Investigation of ICT maturity and e
Alena Ilavska
Investigation of ICT maturity and
e-maturity level of people aged
between 40-60 years
Athens 2008
This project (ENTER 2004) is incorporated in the Competitivity Operational Programm and specifically in Axis 8, rule 8.3. It was
cofinanced from European Social fund by 67,5%, from public funding by 22,5% and private company Slovak Management Training
Center by 10%.
Alena Ilavska
Academic Director:
Professor Dimitrios Tseles
Research team:
Ioannis Chronis
Nikolaos Vasilakis
Investigation of ICT maturity and
e-maturity level of people aged
between 40-60 years
Athens 2008
This project (ENTER 2004) is incorporated in the Competitivity Operational Programm and specifically in Axis 8, rule 8.3. It was cofinanced from European Social fund by 67,5 %, from public funding by
22,5% and private company Slovak Management Training Center by 10%.
Purpose: The purpose of this research was to investigate maturity with ICT and e-maturity level of people aged between 40-60 years.
Design / methodology / approach: Primary data of a non probability sample using respondents who are
suitable for the research with the usage of a non structural personal interviews were collected. Data were
collected also from a database of Greek statistical office.
Findings: The results indicate, that e-maturity do not tend to be positive. Determinants of e-maturity
such as possitive relationsship with new technologies appear to have a significant impact on the social
inclusion and cohesion, but unfortunately all determinants assign very low level.
Research limitations / implications: The findings also provide the feedback for further research and implementation of e-learning system. Future research should compare research and examine other regions in
Practical implications: A major contribution of this research has been the provison of the general sets of
variables through different inerviews and attitudes to the new technologies which helps TEI of Piraeus
to create strategy for life — long learning in very close future.
Originality: This report presents results which are awaring. Very low level of e-maturity implicates many
problems in future for the generation of age between 40 -60
Key words: e-maturity, generation, relationship, ICT.
As interest for policy makers (education, work/organisation, business/commerce), we consider these
themes and domains in turn, and stress both positive and negative social and psychological efffects of
the technologies, where these have been highlited by research.
E-maturity make a major contribution to economic activities and employment in market economies. It
is axiomatic that the majority of firms will need more and more skilled employees with IC technologies.
Estimation of e-Europe is 100% of population able to deal with ICT and not only in business sector.
Nowadays, all social sectors ask for skilled workers and e-maturity — as an ability to work with PC, Internet, Intranet, fax etc. is main requirement.
In recent decades our world has became global. People’s behaviour is becoming similar. The economy sets
standards that are the same in the world over. The same trend we have to wait in all social environments.
Globalization is progressing very fast and the individual nation state can no longer intervene and regulate
by itself. Politicians regard the educational system increasingly from economic angle. There are more and
more higher education institutions operated as private limited companies — companies dealing not in goods
but in educational programmes. This sector was around the Europe liberalized. A supervisory committee
watches over the standards laid down by the state. Greece is still exception to adapt standards of EU.
The economy is increasingly switching over from an input-orientation to an output-orientation. In the
days of input-orientation, work was measured on the basis of time. Employees were paid on the basis
of their time at the workplace not for their productivity. Output-oriented pay means that only actual
performance is remunerated. Tasks are laid down in a target agreement and it no longer relevant how
much time it takes to perform them. In intellectual jobs, smart and clever employees are paid better.
They need to spend less time on performing a specific task and reaching a specific goal. All these changes
lead us not to disvalue education and maturity with ICT.
In our survey we review the effects of the new information communication technologies (ICTs) on the
individual and society, with the particular emphasis to the Maturity and related eMaturity as a preposition of social inclusion and wealthy of modern society. The changes in society brought about this information revolution are undeniable. For example, this media signal in fact breakdown of social relations in
a way, as producting a fragmented and divided society, and also we can say that provide environment
for to a more egalitarian society transcending intergroup differences and divisions. The positive and negative consequenses of these technologies invite special attention from a sociological point of wiev, precisely because of the potential severity of the social impacts. This include among other things, the role
of social influence both in“ and of“ ICTs, the forms of self definition and social and economic organi”
sation that these technologies support or promote, and public reaction to these new technologies.
The new ICTs considered in this survey include Internet, together with Intranets and extranets–more circumscribed systems of communication usualy restricted to a particular organisation or institution, whichmake use of email or computer/mediated communication (CMC) which is based of all jobs nowadays.
While the World Wide Web has been hugely popular for some time, it is only more recently that it has
become a site for interaction. In its original connection the Web served as a powerful way of accessing
and linking documents. Web sites can now support asynchronous and synchronous communication.
Through the use of various software tools, web sites can host asynchronous discussion groups as well as
real-time text chat. Various kinds of media are increasingly being integrated. The use of software to support communication and decision making within groups and organisations to allow individuals to share
applications, Computer Supported Cooperative work, to callaborate on tasks are also important new
developments that employ electronic text — based communication. The integration of these communications media with intelligent software systems is also a growing feature, reflecting the increasing integration between communication and tools/technology. Communication features associated with the
Internet have also penetrated commerce and finance markets and transforming these domains. Electronic communications technologies have also been introduced into the work domain — teleworking and
educational realm-distance learning and virtual classrooms. The use of mobile phones add a new dimension to earlier forms of this medium, no just in terms of the mobility of the user, but also through connections to fax, email and the internet. New forms of communication can have a visual dimension as well
as being text-based text or voice based. On-line video is increasing a part of both Intranets and the Internet, and will increasingly become part of interpersonal telecommunication. All these mentioned features
will more and more affect security systems used in public as well as private spaces. The activities of people are increasingly recorded not just throught explicit surveillance but also through automated and
informationalised transactions and customer behaviour — credit cards use, e-commerce etc. These technological advantages have a range of features, which in turn signal a range of social changes. A common
characteristic of these technological tools, is the shift from information to communication. The collapsing of traditional limits of space/time mean that space is becoming far more integrated while remaining
territorially fragmented. Communication is more distributed and widely available: we can reach more
and more people. The global village“ also means that there are greather levels of standartisation and
fewer local differences. The internet can have a profound impact as a means of cultural transmission,
potentially homogenising culture and cultural experience and understanding local diferences. On the
other hand communication can be highly personalised and targeted: we can reach virtually anyone from
any place.
Individual and organisations increasigly participate in new forms of social networks — via the Internet or
Another paradox of the internet is that whereas it has the power to connect people in uprecedented
ways, those who are not able use it will likely become further excluded and alienated.
The skilled and the educated will also have priviledged access to but also within the ICTs. An important
question then is to look at the groups in society and the regions of the globe that are included and those
are excluded, not only by access to the ICTs, but also to the opportunities that flow from this. A closely related theme is the increasingly visible distinction between public and private sphere the information
age. Traditionally these have been clearly separate domains. However in the age of the internet they can
be come closely interwined and even confused.
The main issue that ENTER addresses is the contribution of ICT to Lifelong Learning policies and practices and at the same time tries to map e-maturity of the people who are able due to better maturity level
to include undepresiety into the society and contribute to develop it. But for it they need some ability
and skills and one of it is education — exactly according to Lisabon and also they will need positive
approach to ICT.
In order to developed a methodological approach to investigate and observing Maturity, eMaturity and
tools to assess the effectivenes of these measures, we need to get inside a number of environments. It
means to get into the consideration — the socio-technical environment that shapes the ways choices are
made in relation to ICT delivery systems; policy environment with all structures initiatives and measures;
institutional environment or better to say learning environment through which learning is provided.
In unprecedented policy consensus member states of EU developed the clear and forward-guiding overall vision of Europe as the most competetive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world
based on a society building all citizens and offering equal changes and quality of life. Such an ambitious
goal only can be reached by common efforts of all citizens.
This needs two pillar elements:
A credible feeling for every European citizen to be needed for that progressing at an adequate and
challenging pace
Inclusive, mainstreamed and high quality of Lifelong learning
It is common understanding that ICT can offer the degree of flexibility and adaptability to the individual’s needs not in reach for the conventional education and training and therefore has to play a paramount role in any policy towards adaptive inclusive, mainstreamed and high guality Lifelong learning.
Evidently policy rehetoric is necessary at the beginning of any substantial innovation process to allow
synchronisation of arguments, consensus building, and join actions. Messages also have to be clear, not
over-sophisticated, optimistic and appealing to develop the emotional basis for entusiasm, so to trigger
real innovation processes.
Nevertheless, the intermediate results observed diverge to a wide extent from the predictions of the
vision in some key areas, making strong and adequate corrections necessary if the core elements of the
eEurope vision should be kept.
What are the key areas of divergence between the plans and the first results?
1. We see the strongest and most self-reinforcing changes in those fields where Lifelong learning was
already developed, amongst the young, well educated and high income professionals in economically leading regions.
2. If a new policy does not suceed or is too slow or not completely in the right direction, policy makers see the reason mostly policies this financial deficit is obvious. But not only financial. Still it is
problematic to adapt ICT and to offer capable programs for third generation, or even for generation between 40-60 years — this is a problem in spite of fact that Universities in Greece have a big
potential, structure and base to offer Lifelong learning. It is known that education and its valuable
heritage is featured by institutions, in Europe predominantly public, with long history and
undoubtedly subtantial merits within this history.
Greece’s socio-economic context is defined by an ongoing effort to effectively adapt the economy and
social protection system to the latest developments raised by globalization, demographic problems and
new technological advances. The government’s reform plan lies at the core of such effort aiming at fulfilling the objectives of Development — Employment — Social Cohesion enhancing Economic Growth –
Competitiveness — Innovation.
The reinforcement of active employment and training policies, legislative interventions in the labour sector, social protection structures extension, statutory changes implementation in social security and the
health care system rationalization have been the Government’s policy spearhead in the social field.
Moreover, the country’s course towards development is mainly underpinned on optimally using its human
potential, a fact which requires a cohesive, effective, sustainable social protection system accessible by all
citizens, serving at the same time as development precondition and repercussion, leading to an equitable
social dividend satisfying social justice and social cohesion purposes. (National Strategy Report on Social
Protection and Social Inclusion 2006-2008, Ministry of Employment and Social Protection).
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector has become one of the core foundations
underpinning knowledge economies and sustainable social and economic development. ICT usage
worldwide has witnessed extraordinary growth. However, a closer look at key indicators shows a
marked digital divide among nations and geographic regions. In fact, 34% of world population represents more than 75% of the world Internet users. The combined incomes of those 34% represent over
81% of world GDP. In other words, the holders of 81% of the world’s income account for more than
75% of the world’s Internet users.
This so-called digital divide reflects deep socio-economic inequalities between countries and regions of
the world. Governments around the world are being called on to develop ICT strategies to narrow the
digital divide between the ‘connected’ and the ‘unconnected’ populations, in order to place themselves
on a global competitive platform.
A close assessment of the new evidence on large gaps within the Greece itself, emanating from the various countries’ diverse efforts to develop their ICT potential , and to bridge the digital divide.
Additionally, the research identified a matrix of the most significant challenges and enablers to ICT
development in the Greece along the three layers:
Political and regulatory leadership: The development of ICT in Greece is unlikely to be solely
determined by market-led logic. It is important for countries to articulate their national ICT strategies. Such an effort entails the assessment of opportunities and challenges for future development,
and the definition of a policy framework to take advantage of the opportunities and overcome
prevailing challenges.
Market competition: the creation of a competitive market is important for ICT development, as
access to higher quality and lower cost ICT services stimulates ICT uptake.
ICT access affordability: Cost plays an instrumental role in influencing ICT penetration. The main
cost elements are PC acquisition price and connection charges.
Infrastructure quality and availability: ICT infrastructure availability and quality is the prime prerequisite for network access, and the creation of an online market. The degree of ICT infrastructure availability and quality influences the potential of communities to reach for the new resources
and leverage their benefit.
ICT awareness and universal access: There is a broad consensus that schools and the education
system are the basis tools to provide a gradual higher literacy and comfort with the digital environment. Governments can advance policies to increase Internet awareness and literacy through
initiatives to include IT courses in school curricula.
Compelling content: The lack of Greek online content is one the main factor deterring ICT usage
in the Greece, as it is a key enabler for creating compelling Internet content.
It would be good idea to recommend a set of policy initiatives that can enhance the functioning of ICT
markets, alleviate the risks of ICT-marginalization and support national agendas towards sustainable
economic growth. Recommendations are based on focus groups interviews.
The main recommendations put forward for the region are follows:
Devise a clear and comprehensive ICT development plan, supported by the highest political constituencies.
Enact telecom laws and regulations to introduce competition through deregulation, privatization
and sector liberalization.
Promote access device penetration among citizens, businesses (particularly SMEs) and the
Government, as well as employee training schemes to improve the readiness of market players
to take advantage of ICT benefits.
Devise appropriate strategies for Governments to deliver e-Government services and participate
in e-commerce.
Tackle the digital divide by taking positive actions among population groups less likely to use the
Promote purposeful uptake of Internet technologies in the business community
Promote online public services through strategic Government policies in order to increase Internet usage among citizens, businesses and Government.
Drive literacy and comfort with the ICT field through the promotion of awareness, trust, training
and comfort.
Incorporate ICT skills and knowledge into the educational system.
The study concluded that Greece would need to develop its own policies, which should be driven by the
local conditions (infrastructure, IT skills, education, and so on). It is key, however, to understand that the
“window of opportunity” for catching up with developed economies is limited, hence the need for Greek
governments to act quickly to boost ICT advancement from EU.
ICT investment levels in Greece, in absolute and relative terms, represent a fraction of what is being
invested in other developed countries. It averages only 4% of GDP compared to an average of 8% in
developed countries. Another problem is investment to education which represent only 1,3% of GDP.
For some time, ICT has been poised as a primary engine of economic growth in the South countries. It
is visible ICT’s powerful influence on sectors such as transportation, education, manufacturing and trade,
tourism, and financial services, which in turn play a role in creating employment opportunities, supporting infrastructure services, driving improvements in basic rights and freedoms, and maintaining
long-term sustainability in the region. As a major sector in its own right, ICT further contributes to GDP
The study revealed signs of ICT development in the area of readiness — the ability of a country’s economic stakeholders to capitalize on the opportunities that a strong ICT environment offers. However, it
also showed that even Greece do not yet provide an environment that meets the preconditions for ICT
growth. “There exists a generally high awareness level of ICT and of its benefits among individuals and
business, yet while the prices of access methods such as telecom services, PCs, and Internet dial-up are
dropping, they are still very expensive. (e-Bussiness in Greek Enterprises. E-Bussiness Watch survey
2007; result of focus on interview).
Some of the ICT initiatives which is necessary include:
Developing a comprehensive ICT strategic plan.
Developing a comprehensive liberalization agenda for the telecom sector.
Instituting necessary foreign investment laws as well as enforce software piracy and copyright
infringement laws, which encourage ICT multinationals to establish regional operations, thus providing work opportunities for skilled individuals and limiting the brain drain effect.
Supporting the creation of economic zones and technology parks with the aim of attracting foreign and regional capital as well as building local expertise in ICT.
Designing a PC subsidy and credit facilitation program, jointly sponsored by private sector com-
panies and banks to ensure the affordability of PCs at a relatively low price to the end user and
thus guarantee the increase of PC penetration.
Subsidizing content developers and aggregators to allow them to produce local contents.
Introducing a comprehensive set of e-government projects to promote internet usage among
individuals and extend the offering to G2B in order to incentivize businesses to interact with the
government through a virtual medium.
Undertaking a comprehensive revision of public universities curricula to reflect a new ICT focus.
Regional Differences
There are marked variations among the different regions in Greece in their efforts to adopt ICT tools and
grow their networked economies.
Table 1: Gross Domestic Product per region
Share in
Total (%)
Share in
East Macedonia and Thrace
Central Macedonia
West Macedonia
Ionian Islands
West Greece
Central Greece
North Aegean
South Aegean
In millions of euro, at current prices
Country Total
In 2005 the Directorate General of Social Cohesion of the Council of Europe developed a Methodological Guide to the Concerted Development of Social Cohesion Indicators. It proposes a method and tools
to make this shared responsibility operational, be it at the local, regional, national or European level. It
provides stakeholders working in the same territory with an opportunity to share their thoughts, choose
their objectives and translate them into indicators in order to clarify and quantify them, monitor their
implementation and measure their impact.
In 2006 the Committee on Social Cohesion decided, to develop concerted social cohesion indicators in
order to examine how local and regional authorities could implement in practice the principles contained
in the Guide. This report1 would like to show sequence with the nowadays situation in Greece.
a) Concerted development of indicators as a key factor for social cohesion:
According to the Council of Europe’s social cohesion strategy “social cohesion is the capacity of a society to ensure the welfare of all its members, minimising disparities and avoiding polarisation”. Building
this capacity must be considered as the responsibility of every sector of society. While it was often considered during the twentieth century that welfare was the responsibility of the State (the “Welfare State”),
the economic problems of recent decades and globalisation have shown that this model is no longer adequate and that the welfare of all must become a goal shared by all social actors (hence the notion of a
“welfare society”). This means that a cohesive society is a solidarity-based community made up of free
individuals pursing common goals by democratic means, the well-being of all providing the fundamental basis for these common objectives2.
The formulation of objectives and shared responsibility among the various social actors for the wellbeing of all presupposes an ability to define and measure these objectives. It therefore requires dialogue
among all the operators involved in order to establish common parameters and transform them into
indicators specifying each party’s responsibilities and facilitating joint monitoring and assessment of the
results. In that sense the Methodological Guide is an instrument that brings together all the main agencies operating in a given area, enabling them to share a vision of what they want and to make this vision
operational and measurable at any given time.
During the research time we were discovered that also Greece prepared many operational programs
under mentioned conditions.
b) Well-being as the starting point for discussing objectives
By defining social cohesion as society’s capacity for ensuring the well-being of all, the Council of
Europe’s social cohesion strategy and the Methodological Guide pinpoint well-being as a fundamental
objective and starting point for discussions. They thus propose initiating the consultation process with
joint reflection on this concept, considering four dimensions of the latter (equity and non-discrimination;
dignity and recognition of diversity; autonomy and personal, family and professional development; and
finally citizen commitment and participation), and stressing the idea that it is those personally involved,
the citizens themselves, who are responsible for defining well-being.
Interest the third generation for ICT: depends on character feature — there are plenty of people that do
not want to be worse than younger generation. They would like to be equal.
Social classification: social status: — is the most significant factor which create specifc relation with ICT
(but it is necessity to include also socially deprived and illiterate people and we are thinking that mobile
offices could help them). This is factor of social vulnerability and social exclusion. Lack of money is not
only restriction that they are not able to follow new trends but also affect their positive attitude to the
social and personal life. Only positive humoured person has struggle and tendency to study and education himself. So nowadays this access to new technologis became a big problem for the society.
Occupation: work is invisible force which leads people to be in touch with the newest trends in ICT. But
employer needs also people with experience and their know-how. This is something which young generation is not able to offer in spide of fact that there are very skilled with ICT. For this reason employer needs specific offer for workers to requalified them, because the experience in fact in this new era are
not enough. So they need continuos education to improve their skills.
Economic development of the country and regional development
Entrance to EU means new forein investors for each country and Greece is not exception. They use high
tech and ICT technologies accompanying it. It is necessity for potencial staff to be skilled. Unfortunately as the table above shows there is a very unproportional regional development.
Living standard of the country
The level of welfare of the country depends on welfare of the stratum intermedium. But this is not a best
approach. Using of ICT has not to depends on such parameter. There is a necessity to find the solution
how to bring it to everybody in EU. In spite of fact that Greece has 4% GDP per year, 2 milion inhabitants are leaving under range of powerty. And to be involve in real life means to be requalified and to
have posibility to train new skills.
Health state
It is another factor which has significant influence why people between 40-60 have a problem with using
ICT. There are plenty of people with health handicap unable to go to work so they have to work at
Very often significant part of population is under the dictacy of religious which dictate what they can,
must and musn’t to do. Many of religious prohibite new technologies and mainly this generation is under
their influense.
Time restriction
It is paradox of life. We have to work more and more and we have less and less time for everything. For
the family, for our hobby, for education....etc. So we have no time to be requalified if we are working.
There is no space because we have time restrictions.
Very often it is problem to be pressed for requalification because we need a rest. Hobby is one of the
posibility how to spend free time, but there is no enough time.
Geografical status
It has a connection with using ICT very significantly. There is still enormous difference between urban
and rural areas. In rural areas people are not under such a big press of ICT and they deal with basic problems such a connection, expences for PC, unemployment, housekeeping for woman specially in the villages, etc.
One of the basic factors which influence how mentioned generation use ICT. It is more than important
to transfer information to that people. They have to exactly know what they can wait from new technologies, what it will bring, what kind of changes. It is necessary to use all media which we have to disseminate information.
Adaptability to ICT
Young generation accepted newest technologies without any problems and actually it is not able to
imagine their life without it. It is in contrary with older adults. They try to accept new technologies step
by step and from the beggining they try to avoid it. They have also a big fear from it. Many times they
would need special help.
Educational system of country
Plays critical role in process of requalification and supports of mentioned generation to the social
process. In Greece it is still not enough retraining courses. A lot of interviwed people express willing to
intend some course but they mentioned lack of courses and specific education for them.
Availability of services in the market
Theoreticaly we can speak about tree levels of availability:
Importance of area assesibility — the place where is ICT used
Importance of financial assesibility — to be able to affort it
Importance of availability of ICT on the market
Differences between sexes
Paradoxical man were sceptical and woman were able to wellcome new way of communication. The
main role play children in households. But practically in spite of fact that woman would like to study and
retraining themselves they do not have oportunity and possibility. They are extremely occupyed with
the children and housekeeping and do not have enough money to afford additional education.
If we want to mark real households which have connection with the Internet the number which we can
found out is not real number of skilled people. Usually the PCs are used by youngest members of the
Preferences of ICT
All respondents put on the last rank to ICT after necessity of foods, installments of loans, all kind of
payments, all kind of appliances.
All they need strong motivation for retraining — unfortunately social tension is not still strong enough to
motivate people. Sometimes they are motivated by gift of ICT or by shame that they are not able to use
it like their children. But generally the relation with ICT is very individual so it means that people by
themselves have to understand necessity of using ICT not only for a work, but for general social inclusion (and it needs enlightement) which means better communication not only in the society, but also
inside the family.
Ordinary human being understand usually necessity of ICT with the connection of the job. Unfortunately all of our respondents finally conclude that it is only for a job and for work. But as we already hardly
mentioned in the report, social inclusion depends on how to people will accept the role of ICT in public services which is the main precondition of e-Europe. They still do not understand that in the close
future there are a new conditions for communication with all governmental services in the state and also
in the daily communication in the household.
Project titled Connection of Age Group Between 40 and 60 years of Age to ICT“ choosed as theoret”
ical framework for the research sociocultural theory. Mentioned theory is wide explanation system within social sciences which tries to explain construct of groups and individuals and explain their identities in
social environment. Sociocultural approach is used for a long time for explanation of relation between
people and sources in different economics regimes for example: in agrarian community where productions connected with the primary sources and industrial communities where is bounded with producing.
Similar principles could be apply for postindustrial era we are living nowadays and where economies are
more and more connected with information. Interaction between people and information could be
designing is inclusion. Each social disciplin contributes: conrete forms of the work with information,
coviws on education and training, concrete expertize which can add value to economics which depends
on information. It is holistic approach, because works with big perspective — transaction of information
which affect each part of economy and each aspect our life style. One of the main principal of sociocultural theory is theory of activity“. Theory suppose that activity cannnot be understand out of the con”
tent in which is situated.
The wish of the Project is to try to answer the question how mature are people between 40 to 60 years
old to use ICT technologies and to suggest to TEI Piraeas some possibilities how to help to this target
group in the frame of Life-long Learning. It was decided to launch it through qualitative research in the
frame of ENTER Program. One of the central methodological issues in social sciences, particularly in
those dealing with education, is the comprehension of the world, including comprehension of ourselves
and our knowledge, as a part of the world. Development in the area of methodology of sciences in the
field of social and human sciences has reached, however, a conclusion that maintains that the pure quantitative thinking became unsupportable. The qualities of individual social phenomena, processes, relationships, forms etc. can not be reduced to only one of their dimensions — measurability.
During the first phase of the Project we were working mainly with statistical data. It was searched plenty of databases and www pages with the goal to gain as much data as possible and compare situation
which is declare in European Union declaration with the situation in Greece.
During the second phase we worked in terrain and through Focus groups methods collected relevant
Focus groups are a form of interviewing but it is important to distinguish between the two. Group interviewing involves interviewing a number of people at the same time (in our case it was maximum 6), the
emphasis being on questions and responses the researcher and participants. Focus groups however rely
on interaction between participants. The main purpose of focus group research was to draw upon
respondents attitudes, feelings, beliefs, experiences and reactions in a way in which would not be feasible using other methods, for example observation, one-to-one interviewing, or questionnaire surveys.
Their attitude, beliefs were partially independent of group or its social setting.
Here is a part of list of www pages which were studied during the searching period.
ICT in Greece — generally (searching in November, 2007)
Greek citizens and their access to Internet ( searching in October 2007)
h t t p : / / r d s . y a h o o . c o m / _ y l t = A 0 g e u . G q . p V G _ j s AW m 9 X N y o A ; _ y l u = X 3 o D M T E x a jZnYmVjBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkAwRsA1dTMQ—
c g R w b 3 M D N A R j b 2 x v A 2 F j M g R 2 d G l k A w R s A 1 d T M Q —
z c g R w b 3 M D M g R j b 2 x v A 2 F j M g R 2 d G l k A w R s A 1 d T M Q —
g R w b 3 M D O A R j b 2 x v A 2 F j M g R 2 d G l k A w R s A 1 d T M Q —
z c g R w b 3 M D M j Y E Y 2 9 s b w N h Y z I E d n R p Z A M E b A N X U z E /SIG=11u9befde/EXP=1184321159/**http%3a//
The Information and Comunication Technologies in Greece,3425,en_33873108_33873421_2738016_1_1_1_1,00.html
Greeks and their access to Internet
h t t p : / / r d s . y a h o o . c o m / _ y l t = A 0 g e u . G q . p V G _ j s AW m 9 X N y o A ; _ y l u = X 3 o D M T E x a jZnYmVjBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkAwRsA1dTMQ—
c g R w b 3 M D N A R j b 2 x v A 2 F j M g R 2 d G l k A w R s A 1 d T M Q —
z c g R w b 3 M D M g R j b 2 x v A 2 F j M g R 2 d G l k A w R s A 1 d T M Q —
g R w b 3 M D O A R j b 2 x v A 2 F j M g R 2 d G l k A w R s A 1 d T M Q —
z c g R w b 3 M D M j Y E Y 2 9 s b w N h Y z I E d n R p Z A M E b A N X U z E /SIG=11u9befde/EXP=1184321159/**http%3a//
Reasearcher used qualitative research as the attempt to obtain an in-depth understanding of the meanings and definiotions of the situation, presented by informants. We used the natural settings as the source
of data and attempts to observe, describe and interpret settings as they are and try to act as the human
instrument of data collection and tried to use inductive data analysis, which were necessary for creation
of e-Maturity model and for the toolkit which will use TEI of Piraeas during the setting base for e-learning education. We try to interprete events which experienced the individuals. The aspiration of
researcher was to gather data with the less structured instruments and to use of open — ended questions
during the deep interviews and focus on groups. Depth interview helped us to explore a subject in detail
attitudes and feelings. Students from TEI of Piraeas and students from TEI of Athens helped with gathering relevant data because of no excelent spoken form of language of researcher. However interview
did not take more than 20 minutes we obtained a very detailed picture about the issues beeing
researched. From Focus on group we took advantage of the interaction between a small group of people, because participants responded to on build on what others in the group have said. It seems that this
synergic approach generates more insightful information, and encourages discussion among group
members rather than interview individual members due to fact to ensure everybody that there are not
right or wrong answers. Focus group was made with max. 6 people with common characteristics. Of
course the results are based on smaller sample sizes and are not representative of the population. This
research had to help mainly TEI of Piraeus to mark this specific target group of population.
The fact of conducting collective reflection in small “single-profile” groups of six to ten persons with the
same socio-professional characteristics (eg groups of young or elderly people, women, immigrants,
people with disabilities, etc) and then combining them into “multi-profile” groups with one representative of each of the “single profile” groups with an eye to inclusively consolidating all the different criteria
expressed, produced a joint vision of well-being which also allows each individual to take account of his
or her own expectations. Another key element in the success of the process was allowing each individual to express his or her vision of well-being irrespective of the need to derive indicators from the said
individual visions. Initially, therefore, the construction of indicators was left to one side and participants
concentrated on expressing criteria for appraising maturity and subsequently e-maturity.
European schools nowadays have unprecedented access to technology to support teaching and learning. However, research indicates that many educational institutions fail to make full use of their information and communication technology (ICT) facilities, while at the same time ICT still has the potential
for a positive impact on education systems. Thus, there is a need for schools to reach a point of maturity in their use of ICT, and to ensure that Ministries of Education and all other stakeholders reap the
benefits of massive investments in infrastructure, training and maintenance. Some schools are already
successfully exploiting ICT, and can be termed e-mature. (E-mature Schools in Europe, 2007).
What is maturity ? Maturity is the ability to control anger and settle differences without violence or
destruction. Maturity is patience. It is the willingness to pass up immediate pleasure in favor of the longterm gain. Maturity is perseverance, the ability to sweat out a project or a situation in spite of heavy
opposition and discouraging set-backs. Maturity is the capacity to face unpleasantness and frustration,
discomfort and defeat, without complaint or collapse. Maturity is humility. It is being big enough to say,
“I was wrong.” And, when right, the mature person need not experience the satisfaction of saying, “I told
you so.”
Maturity is the ability to make a decision and stand by it. The immature spend their lives exploring endless possibilities; then they do nothing.
Maturity means dependability, keeping one’s word, coming through in a crisis. The immature are masters of the alibi. They are the confused and the disorganized. Their lives are a maze of broken promises,
former friends, unfinished business, and good intentions that somehow never materialize.
Maturity is the ability to make a decision and stand by it. The immature spend their lives exploring endless possibilities; then they do nothing.
Maturity is the art of living in peace with that which we cannot change, the courage to change that which
should be changed — and the wisdom to know the difference.
What is understood by the concept of an e-mature ?
“Today’s workplace must employ knowledgeable, flexible, efficient, and adaptable workers who need to
be updated on the latest changes in the structure and work skills requirements of their business environment.” (Whiteman, 2001).
There is presently no definitive description of an e-mature workforce. Workplace learning takes many
forms and occurs in many contexts. Becoming part of an e-mature workforce may depend on initial
training before entry to the labor market, or it may be part of continuing professional development,
therefore the definition of an e-mature workforce should include groups presently in and those presently not in employment.
Another important aspect of e-maturity relates to questions of transferability. I would suggest that the
skills required by an e-mature workforce should include more than technological skills directly related to
work based needs.
An e-mature workforce could be defined as relating to three principal strands:
One of the most obvious requirements in the development of an e-mature workforce must be the
requirement to identify and fulfill specific technology training needs which are directly related to specific areas of employment.
As well as targeting specific IT skills, an e-mature workforce also needs more generic IT skills, e.g. the ability to search for information, use e-mail, but especially the ability to access e-learning The White Paper
21st century skills: Realising our potential: makes a commitment to help adults gain ICT skills as a third skill
for life alongside literacy and numeracy as “ICT is a valuable skill set in its own right. The pervasive nature
of ICT is itself changing the skill sets needed in the workforce”, PIU Strategic Thinkers Seminar, 2001.
Any strategy for the promotion of an e-mature workforce must also consider the role of inclusion. To
develop a truly e-mature workforce, we must consider the needs of the long term unemployed. There
is a danger of an ever increasing IT skills divide growing, between those in and those not in employment.
How to promote the e-skills of the whole workforce must be a prime consideration for any strategy
leading to an e-mature workforce. Good result of collaboration between local industry, a university and
the learning centre, which uses e-learning for delivery and accreditation in a non-threatening non-traditional environment are plenty of courses which have real impact on employment rate after completion of the course. It also results in strong motivation for: learners to increase their e-skills, industry to
support the development of e-skills in the existing workforce and for the delivery centre to include elearning skills in their course content.
Compare to the rise of other electronic media, the internet has expanded at a phenomenal rate, integrating
various modes of conventional communication, including radio and television into a vast interactive network. So, this important development that have had transformed modern society already described Giddens as intensification of globalization, the detraditionalizing of society and the expansion and intensification
of social reflexivity. Together, these developments have resulted in the acceleration of manufactured uncertainty in our late modern world. It was not by accident that the internet originated under such conditions.
This research would like to focus on how the internet might enrich and transform the nature of self and
experience in everyday life. Today, under conditions of reflexive modernization, technologies such as
the internet in their attempts to refashion the project of the self and attempt to steer it through an
increasingly uncertain world of baffling complexity. Life strategy of each individual will depend on internet in close future. The internet, together intranets and extranets, is resulting in a tremendous expansion
of information available to individuals. The end of modern life strategies In Life in Fragments Bauman
describes the pilgrim as “the most fitting allegory of modern life strategy”. Not that pilgrims are a modern invention, but modernity reshaped and gave them a new kind of prominence.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Skills are of strategic importance for Europe. The
raising of ICT skills within the EU will form part of the means by which the challenging Lisbon objectives
(for Europe to become “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world,
capable of sustainable economic growth, with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”) are to
be achieved. It is recognized that education and training provision within the EU must be further
improved to better match demand for skills, to improve access and equal opportunities, to increase the
productivity of workers and raise social inclusiveness.
The e-mature system
Education plays a major role in Europe’s social and economic development, developing people’s skills,
understanding and knowledge, and enabling them to contribute fully to the information society.
Arguably the ultimate goal of ICT is to bring all schools in the system to a state of e-maturity. E-maturity is when organisations make strategic and effective use of ICT to improve educational outcomes. Ematurity needs to be achieved at every level of the educational system if pupils and teachers are to
engage in an e-mature teaching and learning process. (The ICT Impact Report, 2006).
The diagram below indicates the relationships between e-maturity at various levels. The educational system is a key in facilitating the achievement of e-maturity at all levels of education.
Figure 1: Relationship between different actors in the e-mature educational system
Source: E-mature Schools in Europe, 2007 (available on WWW: upload/ematurity.doc)
A core feature needed to facilitate appropriate planning, exchange of knowledge and coordinated action
to achieve the goals of e-maturity is partnership (UNESCO Bangkok, 2007). Partnerships should include
both inter-institutional partnerships as well as public-private partnerships where public partners can
benefit from knowledge and services in the private sector. These partnerships are crucial as no single
stakeholder has ‘all the answers’ needed to achieve the e-maturity1.
The central level of the education system needs to ensure that there are appropriate infrastructure,
resources, training and networking opportunities available for schools. Information and communication
technology (ICT) is associated with unprecedented global flows of information, products, people, capital
and ideas, connecting vast networks of individuals across geographic boundaries at negligible marginal cost.
Through past projects, our experience has shown us that an e-mature educational system requires a set
of core values (E-mature Schools in Europe, 2007):
Learner-centred: education should be structured so as to address the learner at his/her stage of
development, and facilitate personalised approaches. Skills acquired in non-formal settings must
also be assessed and integrated;
Inclusive and egalitarian: allows for e-participation and diminishes the discrepancy between high
and low e-maturity schools (there are currently wide differences between schools within and
between countries in Europe2). It must strive to offer eLearning opportunities to for all type of
An example of such an approach is the UK’s Partnership for Schools programme, which brings together the public and private
sectors to rebuild or renew all schools in the UK, and putting ICT at the heart of the physical environment (more information available on WWW: Partnerships for Schools (2007) ‘About BSF – Building Schools for the Future’, PfS website,
learners (whether students have special needs, are gifted, or come from socio-economic deprived
Responsive to societal needs and promoting active citizenship: an education system that reflects
the needs of society as regards to skills required by the society and engagement and active participation within society;
Flexibility to permit variety of access and location that allows for variety of approaches to access,
use and integrate ICT in a variety of settings (formalised, semi formal) to improve learning and
teaching processes and learning outcomes with ICT.
E-mature schools also display e-mature teaching and learning processes, encompassing both teachers
and learners.
E-mature teachers should display a range of behaviors during the teaching process which indicate their
confidence in using ICT, or e-Confidence. They may not always be located in e-mature schools, but one
might expect to find more e-mature teachers in an e-mature school than a typical school, due to the supportive environment for ICT. There are three key subsets of activity they should engage in during their
teaching, which can be summarized as follows:
Developing pupils’ ICT capabilities: teachers should stimulate pupils to develop their ICT skills,
cover the core ICT curriculum, ensure balance in the kind of learning activities provided and support learners in acquiring knowledge and skills in the areas of intellectual property (IP) and Internet safety (IS);
Use of ICT to enhance teaching: teachers should ensure that ICT is used across subjects, in a variety of modalities, based on networks, intranets and/or virtual learning environments. ICT must be
used to support teacher-pupil communication and increase exposure to authentic learning experiences, multiple viewpoints and to personalise the learning experience to address pupils’ learning styles, strengths and weaknesses.
Teaching staff competence and confidence: teachers must display practical knowledge of ICT
devices, connectivity, creation and dissemination of digital learning materials and how to leverage
resources available at regional, national and international levels. They must have an approach of
reflective practice, and be able to select appropriate ICT-based resources, strategies and pedagogical approaches, and have access to relevant professional development opportunities.
E-mature learners are often more commonplace, due to well-documented generational differences in
ICT competency — however learners may be proficient in technology use for recreation while lacking
some basic skills with respect to e.g. copyright and plagiarism. E-mature learners are all-rounders, who
should display the following characteristics (Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants, 2001):
Development of ICT skills: learners should show continuous improvement of their ICT skills, with
reflective, eConfident behaviour where they can select appropriate ICT tools and resources to
complete their tasks and projects. They should demonstrate awareness of IP and IS, know how to
use devices, and share and edit digital resources. In addition, they must be aware of how to access
and benefit from regional, national and international online resources and tools.
Enhancement of learning: e-mature learners use ICT to work in teams, and share knowledge with
others, while also using it to pursue their own independent learning. They will work at a faster
pace due to efficiency gains of using ICT effectively, and demonstrate creativity in their use. They
will demonstrate their learning outcomes to others using ICT and communicate with a wider
learning community both in and outside of the school.
E-maturity is still a relatively new term across Europe in terms of its application in the educational system. Thus, there are relatively few projects that have the specific goal of achieving e-maturity (E-mature
Schools in Europe, 2007).
Social inclusion through the maturity3
Social inclusion through ICT is becoming increasingly pervasive. Every day more and more services like
banking, travel, training and job seeking are delivered online. The Information Age is changing how people work, learn, spend leisure time and interact with one another. However, there remains a digital
divide, which particularly affects people living in deprived neighbourhoods. The beacon councils for
social inclusion through ICT have delivered excellence across a range of services to bridge this gap.
Bridging the digital divide is about more than simply improving access to technology. For excluded
groups in particular, there is little relevant content available on the Internet, which is driven by the market and aimed at affluent consumers.
Despite the Government’s many innovative programs for improving access, hardware and skills, the
evidence suggests that excluded groups still lag behind in the take up of ICT: many simply cannot see
the point in accessing the new technology. The best solution is to let people develop content for themselves. ICT and Social Exclusion features studies of innovative projects are doing just that (Beyond
Access, 2001). Drawing on these, this major new report proposes a radical approach to delivering an
inclusive information society.
Data processing, multimedia and the Internet are techniques organised and used by human beings. They
are deployed and used in a certain social context. The Internet is, however, a technical object, as it concerns communication modes between people as well as information circulation, storage, sharing and
access. Finally, the internet is a flexible technique which can be spread, learned, transformed and adapted in a relatively short time. Its evolution can thus turn quickly in unforeseen directions: as all techniques,
socially included, it can contribute to smoothing disparities or to generate new inequalities.
In that way, because it allows new communication and organisation modes, ICT are often presented as
being able to reduce some disparities. Minority groups have already shown that they are able to use the
internet to take their development in hand. It is then attractive to believe that the technique will reduce
the disparities. But disparities observed in access and use is the continuation of pre-existing social disparities. Now, in an information based society, the internet’s non-homogeneous distribution risks
increasing economic and social disparities.
Disparities observed in access and use
Internet access and the computer equipment usage increases with educational level, social and occupational status and level of income and we suppose that all around the world not only in Greece. Men and
this fact is extremely visible in Greece, are more connected than women, families with children more than
isolated women and cities more than rural zones. Immigrants, ethnic groups and minority groups are less
connected and in spite of fact to try to train immigrants in Greece the result was almost zero. The less
E-learning toward social inclusion, Barcelona 2004.
advanced parts of country have also less access to internet (and more expensive access). These differences
in access and equipment lead to an analysis of use: “We use the internet if we know that we can benefit
from it in everyday life”. It is the professional or school or university context which generates the first use.
Thus those, who are professionally excluded because they are retired or for other reasons (disabled, unemployment, very often to be a women is fact for exclusion…) face more risk of being excluded from ICT.
If internet use is mainly connected to work, it is also integrated into the domestic sphere and daily life.
Most widespread is the use of e-mail, at first for professional or practical purposes, but also for keeping
in touch with family and friends. Used of discussion groups and focus on groups, very important quantitatively and qualitatively in the beginning of the popular use of Internet, has decreased a lot. The collective dimension of the internet which benefits individual relationships (the individual with family, the
individual and social network, the individual and professional network) thus tends to fade.
This goes with consumption rather than production behavior. Internet users interact with their close relations; beyond that, they consume resources and services. A real network in which each user is an information producer is being transformed into a network increasingly functioning in broadcasting mode,
illustrated by the asymmetric consumption of internet by broadband. This individualistic evolution,
reflecting the dominant social practices, maintains exclusion.
The socially excluded are those, who have most difficulties in finding content adapted to their needs and
wants because nobody produces it for them, and thus they have little reason to access, becoming therefore socially excluded as well.
Social e-learning4
After a careful analysis of real e-learning practices towards e-inclusion5, there have been found following five key areas which are good starting points for both implementation and further research:
1. Social solutions to social problems
Social practices interact with technology, and one influences the other. If there is a want to have a really inclusive information society, then there is a need to address the social problems that have turned
people into digitally excluded, and not only consider the ones derived from lack of structure. When digital divide is considered, not everyone has been created equally. There is an important qualitative difference between someone which is already excluded and need to understand and use ICT and someone
which only needs some formal knowledge to jump in. This is a general principle which should permeate
any type of e-learning strategy directed to e-inclusion. Otherwise it may become a total failure. (Anex
1 suggests possible e-learning strategy for TEI Piraeus. Research revealed huge target group which
would like to study through e-learning. Interviewed people agreed to study more discreet and after
Social e-learning Guide, 2008; Scenario based social e-learning concept map, 2008.
E-inclusion or digital inclusion , is the term used within the European Union to encompass activities related to the achievement of
an inclusive information society. In this vein, new developments in technology turns the risk of a digital divide into “digital cohesion” and opportunity, bringing the benefit of the Internet and related technology into all segments of the population, including
people who are disadvantaged due to education (a specific subset called e-Competences), age (called e-Ageing), gender, disabilities (called e-Accessibility), ethnicity, and/or those living in remote regions (subject to the geographical digital divide). E-inclusion
covers mainly the development of appropriate policies, maintenance of a knowledge base, research & technology development
and deployment, & best practices dissemeination. At EU level e-Inclusion is part ot the third pillar of the 2010 policy initiative,
managed by Directorate-General for Information Society and Media of the European Commission. (definition from Wikipedia, free
ecyklopedia online, 2008).
explanation what e-learning means 100% interviewed agreed such method for study.)
2. Community and awareness
Learning communities are a hot subject nowadays. Nevertheless, they are mostly viewed as mere instrumental concepts towards improving learning. Again, this is useful, but it is not enough. ITC offers wonderful social software which can be used in original ways to help real communities to expand their political, social and cultural horizons. Isolated communities can use digital technologies to be better known
and respected among society. The dispersed members of a community can use several digital tools to
stay in touch and continue developing their own lifestyles and culture. There should still be on mind the
awareness power that lies in the Internet to describe and fight social exclusion. This strategy is the key
when considering rural isolated communities and migrants that are working far away from their homes,
but they can become also an important measure to fight sexism in the computer world and help women
to join and transform ICT.
3. Towards the transparent PC
Personal computers and software get more improvements and new features each year and therefore
become more difficult to use. This may be fine for users that are familiar with ICT. However, it makes
things worse every year for the digitally excluded, especially when elderly or people with disabilities are
considered. In fact there is a consideration that this “new feature” strategy is deeply wrong from a social
and educational point of view. There is a need to reverse it, to consider strategies and technologies to
turn them more intuitive and easier to use. E.g. a camera is fairly an intuitive technology. To take a picture, the camera is just directed to the place that wants to be photographed and click the button. Why
couldn’t ICT be like that? Such a question was created by the people with lower education. Anyway it
was a very interesting opinion.
4. Problem solving methodology for e-learning
Because the target (people between 40-60 years) has specific needs, there is a need to avoid academicism, and to construct e-learning materials that are useful, practical, and motivational. This surely implies
something that is usually neglected when thinking about e-learning strategies: the specific social and cultural context (Greece is the last country in EU. There are very specific precondition we have to take into
consideration). Lack of trust and motivation are important barriers towards e-inclusion and it is in spite
of fact that exist quite transparent strategy for ICT development. More than 80% interviewed did not
know about any strategy and mentioned lack of courses and possibilities to study any relevant course or
study program. These gates will never be crossed if there are created just the typical “how-to” courses.
Besides, information society becomes more and more competitive. In a few years, just knowing how to
use a word processor or an e-mail client won’t make any difference in the job market. This is another
reason to search for problem solving methodology.
5. Internet for everybody
Software technologies are plastic enough to be adapted to any specific need a special collective may had:
content can be adapted to any type of cognitive, sensorial or physical disability. Unfortunately, very few
companies, administrations or individuals use that characteristic. There is a need to raise awareness on
that topic among software and hardware producers, web designers and educators. When accessing culture, physical barriers like distance or architecture are a challenge to people with mobility problems.
Books are of no use to people with visual difficulties. It is a shame that most digital cultural products,
which can avoid these barriers easily, are not really adapted to these people’s needs.
Conclusion: social Inclusion in the European knowledge society
It has widely been recognized that the promises of the information society cannot be realized if too many
people are “falling through the net”, i.e. if they are not in a position to participate in and benefit from
this development. If the emerging digital economy is to become a major driving force for Europe’s economic well-being, it will be a major policy challenge to ensure that as many Europeans as possible have
available the information tools and skills that are critical to their participation. Otherwise, there is the
threat of a widening “digital divide” — a term that refers to the gaps in access to information and communication technologies and networks, either because of lacking economic resources or because of lacking skills.
When talking about social inclusion and the digital divide, attention needs to be paid not to confuse cause
and effect. It can reasonably be argued that the digital divide is currently just an expression of an overall and world-wide social divide rather than a cause of it. Since the use of digital technologies will continue to play a key role in the future information society, however, there is a danger of mutual reinforcement. People from disadvantaged social groups who cannot afford access to and usage of ICTs are
threatened to fall further behind and to become excluded from information society opportunities. If this
argument holds true, closing the social gap (in terms of a fair distribution of wealth) will have as a prerequisite that there is no significant digital gap. Therefore, counteracting the digital divide can be regarded as a policy instrument and means directed toward social inclusion. “The policy rationale,” states the
OECD, “are the social benefits derived from the spillovers and positive externalities associated with diffusion and greater use of ICTs and related improvements to the skills base.”
The danger is that the current digital divide will widen rather than close if no pro-active policy measures
are being taken. Nonetheless, a digital divide remains and has expanded in some cases, even while internet access and computer ownership are rising rapidly for almost all groups.”
Figure 2: Social inclusion chart
Source: E-inclusion,
Measures of Implementation
In the following, an four step model of implementation e-lerning as one of most suitable tool for TEI will
be presented. This is an example how vision and strategy can be put into action in an organization.
1st step Creating Awareness for the Implementation of Change
Staff must be aware that change is vital. The degree of urgency can be ascertained by analyzing the conditions of the market and the competition. Real and potential crisis as well as opportunities must be identified so that they can be discussed with the decision makers in the organization.
2nd step Formation a Group of Opinion Leaders
Alongside the institution’s leadership — rector, or president or executive director — a group of staff members who are willing to embrace change must be formed whose task is to accompany the process and
serve as catalysts for the rest of the organization. Coalitions must be formed so that all the various interest groups in the organization can align themselves towards the common goal.
The catalyst group must be strong enough to be able to lead the process of change. Its members must
be recruited among the pioneers. They accelerate the progress of implementation. A staff member
unwilling to embrace change would slow down the introductory phase. The members of the leadership
group must act as a team and not as solitary agents working alongside each other.
3rd step Definition of Vision
In order for the change to become goal-oriented a vision must be created. The vision must be the common goal for all the staff members of the organization. As next step, the vision is carried out with the
help of strategies. The vision is objective that one wants to reach. Objective-oriented organizations with
staff who have visions are more successful than those which lack orientation.
4th step Publish the Vision
The vision must be clear and easy to understand. It must be understood by all employees. It must be
made known to everybody without exception — equally to external partners. To ensure this, all available
means of communication should be used. Since vision and strategy must be understood be everyone,
the process of communication is crucial. The group of opinion leaders is a convenient testing ground for
the visions and strategies developed. Their conduct should be observed closely and the feedback gained
might be beneficial for the whole process. Finally the jointly defined vision can be communicated with
conviction by all the opinion leaders.
E-ducation — Virtual University System
Abstract—Concerning the eEurope as an aim to be reached in 2004, the idea of necessity to connect university research and practice came to the front as a crucial matter. In comparison with other institutions
concerning the research, universities represent a great advantage since they function as a base for many
new scientists with modern thinking and ideas who bring fresh air to the research area. We started to
move this way ten years ago and tried to combine the academic research and practice. Today we can
claim that we have successfully come to the aim and fulfilled this vision. This can be understood even as
a tautology, because while in our case the university helped the research, the outcome of this research
is aimed to help especially universities which need the product the most.
Universities or their departments realise the necessity and importance of human resources they have and
can use to reach a certain standard within the EU. The fact, that we realise this potential is already known
from the past.
The time we live in is characterized by great speed of changes in our everyday life. We often hear about
the transformation of society into a so-called “information society”. This process includes rapid development of so-called e-branches becoming the status symbol of the information society, including eLearning, e-Business, e-City, e-Region, e-Country and even the e-Europe.
We understand that new information and communication technologies (ICT) are the key to this development and were rapidly developing in the past 20 years.
This development started with microprocessors, computers, mobile phones, e-mail, the Internet, web
pages and endless number of software products. These are the facts which within this trend development
cannot be ignored. They create a new environment also for teachers whose knowledge and skills
obtained in the past do not suffice anymore and call for new modern methodology.
With the growing industry productivity and effectiveness required in all areas, the demand for effective
services grows and is strongly influenced by information technologies. Education system, of course, cannot avoid this trend as well. We will have to bear in mind that the process will not influence only universities but all levels of education not leaving out even kindergartens.
On one hand, information technologies will influence all areas of teaching, and on the other hand they
will considerably change the relations: teacher — student, teacher — knowledge and student — knowledge.
These changes will also influence universities with the trend already being applied in all the areas and
change the institution to a learning one.
The basic principle of distance education is to help all those who want to study, but for different reasons
cannot or do not want to study in a full-time setting, which is strictly limited by time, and place. Distance
education is such a form of education in which a student is not obliged to attend the educational institution daily and participate in the education in person. In such cases, where distance education is applied
in organisation to educate its employees, they do not need to spend time at work because of education
but can also comfortably study from home. A student learns by himself mostly because he wants, of
course with a rich support of special study materials and a supportive system. Distance education is suit-
able for older age groups, not just for those of the age of 18-26, additionally; distance study is for those,
who (mostly because of work duties) cannot study full time or external form of study. Inseparable parts
of distance education are specially tailored learning materials with special structure defined so that the
learning process is the most effective and supportive. Structure of such materials was also a base for creating of the presented study materials and the e-learning system itself.
Distance education allows students:
no age limits for the study, no restrictions to other activities (employment, sport, etc.), possibility to
study specific study branches according to students needs, no obstacles to get education, even for the
E-learning presents a wide range of acquiring knowledge via electronic media, modern information
and telecommunication technologies (CDs, TV, Internet etc.). It includes developing and distribution of
electronic courses, managing learning and teaching. Of course we have to bear in mind the most important factors which lead to effective education. This is secured by feedback and possibility to study wherever and whenever. This gets us more or less back to the roots and principles of distance education. Elearning makes this form of education more interesting and effective than other forms of education.
To make the distance form of education effective, there was a need to find the most suitable tool, which
would fulfil the role of the education system as well as secure the feedback and at the same time communication between teacher and students. The answer is the Internet — the today’s phenomenon, which
comes to the front with growing scale of activities such as selling, shopping, communication, entertainment and of course education.
Description of the system
LMS6 e-ducation is the Internet application which secures education via the Internet. The application is
created on the bases of distance education methodology which has been already practised both in our
country and abroad. With the application that uses the distance education features effectively, an organisation can offer valuable education together with modern interactive features. Still, feedback is the most
important feature of distance education and the system secures it via communication and electronic
tests. Since the system is the Internet application, students can study anywhere and anytime, because
nowadays the Internet connection is also possible via wireless mobile devices.
Advantages of the system e-ducation
Electronic systems come to life mainly because they can reduce costs and are more effective. System education offers an institution the following advantages:
saves costs concerning study material printing
saves travelling costs both for students and teachers
saves communication costs
saves teachers time needed for consultations
Learning Management Systém – system for managing education.
saves teacher’s time on testing and evaluation
saves time necessary for study materials development
increases efficiency of an educational process
increases students‘ interests to study due to new educational form
increases students‘ interest to study since it offers comfortable study “from home“
increases efficiency of cooperation among students as well as students and teachers
Form of providing the system
E-ducation is an ASP7 application — what advantages can an organisation have?
ASP applications are provided to customers for a lease. This represents a modern form of outsourcing,
where an organisation orders to use an application whose owner is the company offering the application. This company is responsible for the smooth running of the system while the user company is
responsible for the content.
Advantages and the lease of the application:
institution does not need any financial means to run and operate the application (e.g. salary)
institution does not need means to maintain the system
our company is fully responsible for the running of the system
the system is continually updated for new features
the application can be adjusted upon request
simple system supplements with new functions can be added
institution does not need any special technical equipment for the running of the system (except
client – user computers)
possibility of any language mutation
E-ducation verzus MOODLE (ASP verzus Open Source8) — comparison of the systems
Since e-ducation is an ASP application, institutions do not have to spend any Money for the running of
the system, which cannot be said about the open source applications. Installing open source applications
as well as their running and maintaining require quite high operation costs. Consequently the open
source application for free becomes a much more expensive investment in comparison with commercial applications. For an open source application technical equipment (such as server, high speed Internet connection) is necessary, while in case of an ASP application these are secured by the system
As an example we compared an ASP application e-ducation and a LMS application Moodle. The latter
one is freely available on the Internet.
ASP — Application Service Providing.
Open Source — freely accessible application.
Figure 3: Comparison of elearning systems
● commercial application
● fees for the lease of
the system
● guaranteed by the
system provider
● compatibility secured
by the system provider
● updating of the application by the system
provider upon request
● supplementing of the
system with new
functions by the system provider
● user needs only system access data
● free application (no
● operation costs (maintenance, service running of the system)
● no guarantee
● no compatibility — creating compatible system for own expenses
● updated
for own
● supplementing of the
system with new
functions for own
● necessity of technical
support for the running of the system
Principle of e-ducation system functioning
The system is divided into three individual parts, while each of them has its own specific function. All the
parts are accessible via the Internet.
Part 1 — Administrator
The “administrator” part functions as a virtual study department. Administrator creates the access to the
system for both teachers and students.
Administrator has a possibility to create groups (study programmes). On this basis students have an
access only to those subjects which are part of their study programme.
Part 2 — Teacher (Tutor)
Role of the teacher is clear from the name of the part itself. Teacher manages the educational process of
his/her subject. One subject can have more than one teacher. The basic functions are development and
distribution of electronic courses, managing learning and teaching, and feedback interconnected with
that, and last but not least, making tests to check students' knowledge.
Part 3 — Student
This part allows students to study electronic material and courses and to communicate with schoolmates
and teachers. Feedback is the most crucial, and is secured via discussion forums created for individual
chapters and electronic tests.
Figure 4: Scheme of virtual university
Conclusion and Recommendation
Qualitative research shoved that level of e-maturity of mentioned generation is extremely low — to compare with the theory described in the report. One of the hypothesis which not proved fake was higher
education means higher level of maturity“. Education was real preposition for quite high level of e-maturity only for that people who are working with PC, e.g. technicians, engineers, programmers, bussinessman, some teachers. For example barristers, lawyers, doctors and even teachers who do not teach topics related with PC are not able even to switch on computer.
All interwieved people agreed with the idea to study through e-learning system. We introduced them
briefly system E-ducation which could be possible tool for TEI of Piraeas to offer courses for generation
between 40 to 60. Woman were much more excited with such a possibility, because system allows them
privacy, intimity, flexibility chance to study efficiently. System that support communication between
participants is asked mainly by woman.
The challenge for this research is also to provide some guidelines to shape future design of of educational environment within the domain of group collaborative learning. System that support communication and social integration will be more effective in enabling users to continue to learn about the functions of the system than those designed to isolate individuals. A collaborative web environment cannot
easily be developed without reference to the social and pedagogical situation in which i tis to be used,
although this is not aways clearly considered. Certain conditiion must be met in order to ensure that collaborative efforts are successful and some of these will need to be incorporated into the task structure
and imposed by the instructors or tutors. However, with the aid of a socila models of group process, the
design of the environment can be significantly enhanced to support the collaborative group. Education
and training in the use of ICT skills may be especially important for the older generation as well as the
young, not only because these people are in danger of being left behind, but so that they are to have
insight and if neccessary excert some parental control over web use by their children.
Brief introduction of the system:
Username: demo
Password: demo
(Users have to have download flash player:
[1] Y. O. Boy, “Synergetic structure of industrial research (Book style with paper title and editor)”, in
Research, 2nd ed. vol. 3, J. Brothers, Ed. New York: McGray-Hound, 2004, pp. 15–64.
[2] G. Zeibekakis, A. Ilavska: The role of Tutors and Mentors in Open and Distance Learning. Bratia
Sabovci s.r.o., Zvolen, 2002
[3] A. Ilavska, G. Zeibekakis: Define Rules for Quality Assurance in Distance Education: IN: Quality
Assurance in Distance-Learning and E-learning. Print: Sandler Druck, Marbach a.d. Donau 2003
1. Balanskat A., Blamire R., Kefala S., The ICT Impact Report, European Communities, 2006,
2. Durando M., Balanskat A., Blamire R., Joyce A., E-mature Schools in Europe, 2007, [online:]
3. E-learning towards social inclusion, Barcelona 2004, [online:]
4. Hellawell S., Beyond Access; The Fabian Society 2001, 84 p.; ISBN-10: 0716330547
5. Prensky, M. (2001) ”Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” On the Horizon, NCB University Press,
Vol.9 No.5, October 2001, [online:,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf]
6. Scenario based social e-learning concept map, 2008 [online:
7. Social e-learning Guide, 2008; [online:
8. UNESCO Bangkok (2007) Initiating and Managing Schoolnets, [online: http://www2.]
9. Wikipedia, free encyclopedia online:]
Today’s society is being gradually transformed to a Knowledge Based Society, where organizations
and businesses progressively realize that their competitive advantages rely on their Human
Resources, their expertise and their know-how. However, the speed of evolution depreciates the
value of the employees’ knowledge thus, new, flexible ways of learning are needed for organizations and employees in their attempt to remain competitive and to grow.
The European Union, through its various research and development funding initiatives, has been a
major driver of educational change in Europe over the last 10 years. Some of these initiatives
investigate the technology backbone, some the pedagogical approaches; others set up European
study centres, yet others develop software and courses. All of these are a necessary part of the
movement towards virtual teaching and integrated environment for a pan-European delivery of
The rush by traditional campus-based institutions into distance education has been headlong in the
last 10 years in the U.K. and Scandinavian countries. The power and prestige of the traditional old
universities in the rest of Europe, are still intact, they may leapfrog over the interim step of distance
education and go straight to modest forms of virtual education.
Open and Distance Learning (ODL), in combination with the advances in information technology,
represents a very important and valuable approach in providing high quality content training for
large number of students in different locations. Especially using the online approach offered by the
Internet, the provision of “anytime” and “anywhere” access to a virtual classroom will enable faculty and students to engage in an interactive dialogue on a truly global scale.
Learning theories
The origins of learning theories can be traced back to ancient Greece. In the 18th century the onset of
scientific inquiry marked the beginning of earnest attempts of people to study and develop models of
learning. The existence of numerous definitions and theories of learning attest to the complexity of
learning although it is often taken for granted as a natural process. Learning theories cover a wide variety of approaches or ways of explaining how humans learn.
At the extremes of this learning theory range stand Behaviourism and Constructivism respectively.
Having the same thing as their focus, they are bipolar with respect to their views of how knowledge is
acquired and of who, what and how intervenes in the learning process. Cognitivism can be placed
between them to represent the shift in focus from external behaviour to internal knowledge structures
and processing.
The chief concern of behaviourism is the conditioning of observable human behaviour. The behaviourists’ example of classical conditioning demonstrates the process whereby a human learns to respond
to a neutral stimulus in such a manner that would normally be associated with an unconditioned stimulus. The theory of behaviourism views the mind as a “black box” in the sense that response to stimulus
can be observed quantitatively, ignoring the thought processes occurring in the mind. Some key figures
in the development of the behaviourist theory were Pavlov, Watson, Thorndike and Skinner.
Pavlov is best known for his work in classical conditioning or stimulus substitution. The Russian physiologist’s most famous experiment involved food, a dog and a bell. The subject of Pavlov’s experiment
was the digestive process in animals. In conducting the experiment, Pavlov noticed that the dog would
salivate (response), upon hearing the ringing of a bell. This occurred because the dog had learned to
associate its unconditional stimuli (normally feeding), with the neutral stimuli of the bell ringing simultaneously with the feeding process. Pavlov believed that humans react to stimuli in the same way.
Edward Thorndike did research in animal behaviour before becoming interested in human psychology.
His theory, Connectionism, stated that a neural bond, or connection, would be established between
stimulus and response, and that learning would take place when the bonds were formed into patterns of
behaviour. On this hypothesis he formulated his three laws: the law of effect (when a connection
between a stimulus and response is positively rewarded it will be strengthened and when it is negatively rewarded it will be weakened), the law of exercise (the more a stimulus-response bond is practiced,
the stronger it will become), and the law of readiness (because of the structure of the nervous system,
certain conduction units, in a given situation, are more predisposed to conduct than others).
In American psychology Pavlov’s ideas were first used by John B. Watson, who is credited with coining
the term ‘behaviourism’. Watson believed that humans are born with a few reflexes and the emotional
reactions of love and rage. All other behaviour is established through stimulus-response associations, i.e.
through conditioning. He believed that the stimuli that humans receive may be generated internally (for
example hunger), or externally (for example, a loud noise). Watson’s work demonstrated the role of
conditioning in the development of emotional responses to certain stimuli. This may explain certain
fears, phobias and prejudices that people develop.
Today behaviourism is associated with the name of B.F. Skinner, who tested Watson’s theories in the
laboratory. He conducted experiments in which pigeons and rats were taught to obtain food pellets by
performing certain actions, e.g. pecking a lever a certain number of times. Like Pavlov, Watson and
Thorndike before him, Skinner believed in the stimulus-response pattern of conditioned behaviour.
However, Skinner’s studies led him to reject Watson’s almost exclusive emphasis on reflexes and conditioning. He argued that people responded to their environment but they also operated on the environment to produce certain consequences. He developed the theory that learning occurs through ‘operant conditioning’, i.e. we behave the way we do because this kind of behaviour has had certain consequences in the past. If an action has positive consequences for the organism, it is more likely to repeat
that action. If the consequences are undesirable, then the action is less likely to be repeated. Dealing with
the changes in observable behaviour, Skinner, like Watson, ignored the possibility of any processes
occurring in the mind, of the mind or feelings playing any part in determining behaviour.
Behaviourism is concerned chiefly with the observable indicators that learning is taking place. In contrast
to cognitive psychologists who equate learning with the mental processes of the mind, behaviourists
only acknowledge their existence as an unobservable indication of learning.
The influence of behaviourism goes far beyond the field of psychology where it originated. Its concepts
and methods are used in education, and many education courses at college are based on the behaviourist
assumptions about man. It is easy to recognize their demonstrations in our learning world. The concept
of directed instruction, whereby a teacher is providing the knowledge to the students either directly or
through the set up of “contingencies” is an excellent example of the behaviourist model of learning.
Information is passively absorbed by the brain, which is viewed as a ‘black box’. The learner is passive
whereas the tutor provides the content, the structure, and the method. The use of exams to measure
observable behaviour of learning, the use of rewards and punishments in our school systems, and the
breaking down of the instruction process into “conditions of learning” are all further examples of the
behaviourist influence.
Computer-assisted instruction, which was first used in education and training during the 1950s, can also
be considered an effective way of learning from a behaviourist point of view. It was very much drill-andpractice controlled by the program developer rather than the learner. Little branching of instruction was
implemented although the program did allow the learner to determine the sequence of instruction or to
skip certain topics. The drill and practice approach was applied to learning new concepts or skills, where
the question acting as the stimulus elicited a response from the user, and a reward could be provided for
a correct response.
A drawback of behaviourism is that learners may find themselves in a situation where the stimulus for
the correct response does not occur, therefore they cannot respond.
A major advantage is that learners are focused on a clear goal and can respond automatically to the cues
of that goal.
Learning theories are not stagnant. They evolve and change with the discovery of new ways of viewing
human cognition. The observed deficiencies in behaviourism stimulated the development of the theory
of cognitivism. Proofs were found that some individuals could produce behaviour without it being reinforced, merely from passively observing it in others, and that this behaviour could appear some time
after the initial observation. Cognitive psychology emerged in the late 1950s and began to take over as
the dominant theory of learning.
Cognitivism seeks to understand the internal processing which takes place between stimulus and
response. A key feature of cognitive theory is that of the schema, our internal knowledge structure. The
schema concept was described by Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget in relation to infant and childhood
learning, but is also applicable to adults. When we encounter a novel idea we may, if it fits our existing
schema, assimilate it into our current understanding. If it is in conflict with what we believe, we need to
change our schema to accommodate the new knowledge.
A particular challenge to behaviourism came from Chomsky’s theory of language acquisition. Chomsky
argued that human beings are endowed with an internal understanding of the fundamental rules of language that allow us to develop language skills much exceeding those which would result purely from
environmental conditioning.
Cognitive science began a shift from behaviouristic practices which emphasised external behaviour, to a
concern with the internal mental processes of the mind and how they could be utilized in promoting
effective learning. The new models of learning addressed component processes such as knowledge coding and representation, information storage and retrieval, incorporation and integration of new knowledge with previous information. The learner was given a more active role, and the content was seen as
more individually adaptable and related to the learner’s previous experience, which would contribute to
the learner’s increased motivation and interest. Evidence of the influence of cognitive science on instruction can be found in the use of advance organizers, mnemonic devices, metaphors, chunking into meaningful parts and the careful organization of instructional materials from simple to complex. The manner
in which computers process information is similar to the way in which cognitive scientists believe that
humans process information: receive, store and retrieve. This analogy makes it possible to consider programming a computer to “think” like a person, i.e. artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence involves the
computer working to supply appropriate responses to student input from the computer’s data base.
With the cognitivist approach, the learner learns a way to accomplish a task, but it may not be the best
way, or the way suited to the particular learner or situation. For example, logging onto the internet on
one computer may not be the same as logging in on another computer. The approach is of special value
when the goal is to train learners to do a task in the same way in order to achieve consistency — sometimes it may be important to do an exact routine in order to avoid problems.
Both cognitivism and behaviourism are governed by an objective view of the nature of knowledge and
with both the goal of instruction remained the communication or transfer of knowledge to learners in
the most efficient manner possible. Therefore the transition from behavioural to cognitive-style principles of instruction was fairly smooth. Many of the instructional strategies advocated and utilized by
behaviourists are also used by cognitivists, but for different reasons. For example, behaviourists assess
learners to determine a starting point for instruction, whereas cognitivists look at the learner to determine their predisposition to learning. The situation is analyzed and a goal is set. A behaviourist would
break down a task into small steps in an attempt to find the most efficient method of shaping a learner’s
behaviour. Similarly, a cognitive scientist would break down a task into smaller chunks in order to analyze it and use that information to develop instruction that moves from simple to complex building on
prior schema. Learning objectives are developed and evaluation consists of determining whether the criteria for the objectives have been met. In this approach the designer decides what is important for the
learner to know and attempts to transfer that knowledge to the learner. The learning package is more or
less a closed system, since although it may allow for some branching and remediation, the learner is still
confined to the designer’s “world”.
Since both behaviourism and cognitivism are objective in nature and they both involve analysing a task,
breaking it down into steps, establishing objectives, and measuring performance based on those objectives, the shift from behaviourism to cognitivism in learning theory and practice was not too dramatic.
Constructivism, however, presents a very different theoretical perspective when compared to behaviourism.
Constructivist learning theory viewed behaviourism as being too teacher-centred and directed. It sought
to improve the behaviourist learning theory by focusing on the motivation and ability for humans to
construct learning for themselves. Its implications in teaching practice are the different degrees of nondirected learning, a more open-ended learning experience where the methods and results of learning are
not easily measured and may not be the same for each learner.
Fundamentally, Constructivism is a cognitive learning theory because of its focus on a learner’s ability to
mentally construct meaning of their own environment and to create their own learning. It shares some similarities with cognitivism, i.e. the analogy of comparing the processes of the mind to that of a computer.
Constructivists believe that all humans have the ability to construct their own individual mental models
of the world in order to make sense of their experiences through a process of discovery and problemsolving. The extent to which this process can take place naturally, without structure and teaching, is the
defining factor amongst those who advocate this learning theory.
The most profound influence on constructivism was Jean Piaget’s work. The Swiss psychologist
observed human development as progressive stages of cognitive development. His four stages, which
commence at infancy and progress into adulthood, characterize the cognitive abilities necessary at each
stage to construct meaning of ones environment.
According to constructivists, learning is the process of adding to or refining the individual mental model.
The key to effective learning is thus to involve learners as actively as possible in the learning process by
motivating them to attach new meaning to past cognitive experiences.
One of the advocates of constructivism, Seymour Papert, believed that children as learners have a natural curiosity to construct meaning of their world. His desire was to have children become motivated learners, critical thinkers, problem-solvers and metacognitionists and he believed that could be achieved
through educational reform that provides the learner with the necessary tools to actively participate in the
learning process. He saw the computer as the appropriate means of achieving such an educational reform.
These desired objectives of Papert and others who share the Constructivist view of learning are coming
closer to reality with the shift to more interactive learning due to the exploitation of the digital media.
Constructivism can be seen as having several impacts on learning. With objectivist course design
(behavioural and cognitive) there is a predetermined outcome, and a pre-determined concept of reality
is mapped into the learner’s mind. A constructivist designer is expected to deliver a product that is much
more facilitative than prescriptive. Constructivism maintains that because learning outcomes are not
always predictable, instruction should foster rather than control learning by creating constructivist learning environments which support the construction of knowledge. Curricula are not be standardized, with
pre-specified content but rather tailor-made to the students’ previous knowledge. They are concerned
with the experiences and contexts that would make students willing to learn. For that purpose authentic tasks can be set in real-world, case-based learning environments. The instruction design aims to facilitate extrapolation, i.e. the learner is encouraged to go beyond the information given. The focus is on
the ability to make connections between facts, to analyse, interpret and predict information. Multiple
representations of reality are given in order to illustrate the natural complexity of the world. Teachers
try to promote extensive dialogue, rather than competition for recognition, among students since one
of the main ideas of constructivism is that through dialogue individuals share much of reality. Assessment is much more subjective because it does not depend on specific quantitative criteria, but on the
process and self-evaluation of the learner. Evaluation is based on notes, early drafts, final products and
One of the most useful tools for the constructivist course designer is hypertext and hypermedia on
account of the branched design of instruction. Hyperlinks allow for learner control which is crucial to
constructivist learning. If used on a beginner’s level, however, they may result in the learner’s “getting
lost”. Therefore, classical instruction with predetermined learning outcomes, sequenced instructional
interaction and criterion-based evaluation may prove to be more useful in the initial phase of knowledge
acquisition, whereas the constructivist approach may be better suited to the later phases. Most literature
on constructivist design suggests that learners should not simply be let loose in a hypermedia or hypertext environment, but that a mix of old and new (objective and constructive) instruction/learning design
be implemented.
A major disadvantage of the constructivist approach is that in a situation where conformity is essential
divergent thinking and action may cause problems. However, if learners are able to interpret multiple
realities, they can more easily deal with real life situations where they can use their existing knowledge
and problem-solving skills.
From a course designer’s point of view, the divergent, subjective nature of constructive learning makes
it easier, less time-consuming and perhaps less expensive to apply the objective approach and classical
instructional design techniques. However, in a digital era of learning, today’s generation of learners are
no longer satisfied with being the passive recipients of the traditional teaching process. They are happier when given the chance to discover it for themselves by becoming interactive with the learning.
To decide which approach to learning is most appropriate, it is necessary to examine the circumstances
surrounding the learning situation and realize that some learning problems require highly prescriptive
solutions, whereas others are more suited to learner control of the environment. In spite of the behaviourist tradition, new insights to the learning process continue to replace, change and alter it. Advancements in technology make branched constructivist approaches to learning possible. A course designer
can take advantage of all available practical applications of the different learning theories and draw from
a large number of strategies and technological developments to find solutions to the learning requirements of the 21st century.
Didactical advantages and disadvantages
With the rapid progress of information and communication technologies in the last decades education has
assumed a new, central role. There has been a shift in focus from ‘knowledge storage’ in industrial society to ‘life-long learning’ in information society. Stored knowledge loses its applicability in increasingly
shorter periods and has to be replaced by new information. The demands for greater professional and
geographical mobility of workforce determine the greater dynamism of the training provided. The modern multimedia, information and communication techniques are being established as dominant cultural
practices. In education this translates not only as new problems but also as new training perspectives, as
innovative formats of the product offered, as better opportunities to expand the scope of an institution’s
programs and to serve groups of people who otherwise would not be able to receive training.
With Internet-enabled learning, or e-learning, educators and trainers face different challenges. To implement it successfully, they need to fully understand its strengths and weaknesses by viewing it from as
many perspectives as possible.
Advantages of e-learning
Benefits for the learner
E-learning provides training opportunities to people for whom further study would be for some reason
unthinkable or with whom traditional education has proved unsuccessful. People or students are no
longer constrained by a fixed number of courses which they have to physically attend at a specified time
and location. With traditional education learning resources are real, and access to them depends on real
time, real place and real context, whereas students doing an e-learning course can determine the place,
time and pace at which they learn. This both reduces stress and makes learning accessible to a larger
number of people who would not be able to afford the time and travel costs involved in conventional
training. They can work away from universities and schools and the time they need for preparation is
largely reduced by the much faster and easier search for information and learning content.
The globalization trends in all spheres of life make people look for ‘convertible’ training, i.e. for internationally recognised qualifications.
E-learning encourages people to select the learning materials that are best suited to their level of knowledge, goal or interest and further expand them by browsing for information on the Internet. This develops their sense of responsibility, self-confidence, independent learning and problem-solving skills, and
provides them with the media competence that is a decisive factor for success in the information society.
The increased student-trainer and student-student interaction involved in e-learning, the stimulating and
innovative ways of learning content presentation, the use of a variety of learning styles and activities
facilitate understanding and retention of information and contribute to the building of teamworking skills.
A major advantage of e-learning within the context of global developments is that materials can be produced in multiple languages. They can address bilingual audiences which would help the latter’s fuller
integration into society. This feature is of particular significance in programs involving the study of two
or more foreign languages.
Benefits for the teacher
E-learning has a wide variety of applications both as entirely web-based courseware and as a complement to traditional training. Using all the World Wide Web resources, teachers can prepare comprehensive and varied materials that are much more appealing to people who are studing than the almost
entirely monological format of formal lectures. They can provide instructional information in which
texts, diagrams, images, video, sound are easily incorporated; they can simulate processes and task performance thus stimulating students’ interest and motivation and improving the overall efficiency of the
training process.
Training quality is no longer dependent on the number of people in a group. An e-learning course can
serve numerous, widely dispersed audience and still address individual needs and preferences. The new
flexibility in time and space provides instructors with more opportunities to work on their qualification
or on other higher-level activities.
Records of students’ performance and discussions can be kept for further reference. Error correction and
modification of the course content can be made faster and with less effort. An e-learning module can be
easily adapted for use in different training programs. Continuous assessment, examination and proof of
completion of a course can be automated.
With some courses given by instructors whose expertise is rare there is the problem of the instructor’s
availability for a particular course at a particular time. The development of a web-based version of these
courses would help capture this valuable knowledge and provide it to students when the instructor cannot fit the course into his or her busy schedule or even after the instructor’s retirement.
Economic benefits
E-learning is becoming an increasingly popular method of providing training in accordance with the specific demands. Special needs-oriented modules can be developed through which learners can expand
their existing professional knowledge and acquire new competences and skills without leaving their jobs
or families.
E-learning offers a solution to the problem of wasted time and money. Often most of the costs involved
in a training program do not go toward the actual training. The money is spent on travel and accommodation, especially in cases when a course is given by teachers external to the institution.
0Furthermore, traditional training normally includes talk which is not associated with the learning content — greetings, introductions, different irrelevant questions, etc. The multimedia format of the course
helps condense training and use time more efficiently.
Part of the practical training involved in some programs can be done on-line by role play or process
simulation. Thereby the costs for travelling to a suitable facility and spending time in it will be eliminated. This, on the other hand, is very important in spheres where a mistake in real life would have serious
consequences so students had better make their first steps in the profession in a virtual setting.
Disadvantages of e-learning
Traditional vs. virtual interaction
Modern learning theories put an emphasis on human interaction. E-learning facilitates interaction of an
entirely different type from that in the traditional classroom. Face-to-face communication plays a major
role in the training of children and adolescents. Apart from new knowledge acquisition, the training
process also involves the development of the social skills needed for students to function as members
of society. The special atmosphere and relations in conventional settings that shape a certain culture can
be hard to imitate in a virtual classroom. The body language and peer communication are also missing.
An e-learning course can be isolating and adult learners can more easily adapt, a more balanced
approach should be applied to young ones to keep them from feeling lonely and demotivated.
E-learning advocates believe that the isolation of individual learners can be avoided by the provision of
efficient support and communication options in the e-learning courseware, such as message boards,
chats, e-mail, discussion forums, teleconferencing, etc.
The new role of the learner
As mentioned above, many of the e-learning advantages are associated with the possibility for learners
to make different choices about the training process and shape and direct it in a way which they find correspondent to their needs. This means that learners should be mature and responsible enough to fully
grasp the need of the course and set specific objectives. Their background should enable them to adequately plan and prepare their own learning process, choose a suitable learning strategy, decide when to
contact an instructor and choose which instructor to contact. That would require a high level of selforganisation, motivation, self-discipline and good decision-making abilities (which could be restriction
for many people). These qualities would rather be expected from more grown-up learners, and even
they would have to go through a period of adaptation from learning patterns and teacher-controlled
instruction in the traditional classroom to the self-governed and self-responsible study in a virtual environment.
New demands on teachers
E-learning also implies an entirely new role of teachers in the training process. They are no longer the
sole decision-makers as regards the learning content and evaluation criteria. Instead of teaching the subject-matter directly, they collect the learning materials, suggest alternatives and additional information
sources, supervise and help the learners throughout the course. Hence they need to develop new abilities and skills in order to stimulate the students’ internal motivation rather than impose motivation on
them externally. They are expected to activate each individual potential. Within the framework of this
new training culture trainers should have entirely new attitudes and qualifications. However, in many
countries there is still no clear concept of teachers’ qualification and training that would enable them to
meet the new requirements and prepare for their new role.
Another drawback of e-learning is that even though in some fields it can assist in the practical training
of students by providing simulations, it cannot actually replace it. Learners will still need hands-on training in real-life environments.
The implications of new technology
The application of new technology can be both an advantage and a drawback. To be able to do an elearning course, students should have access to suitable computer equipment during the hours in which
they can study. Buying or renting this equipment will be a necessary condition for their flexibility, and
that would involve significant initial costs. E-learning is a capital intensive venture for teachers as well,
involving significant investment in resources. The initial costs for the learning material development and
the costs for its maintenance and updating can be very high. Trainers may have to take into account
copyright is (IF?) they need to become familiar with other related textbooks, courses and materials.
Another very important consideration is the high cost of using telephone lines for Internet access or the
user fees payable to Internet service providers in many countries.
Both teachers and learners need to have the skills and know-how to be able to give and receive the new
type of training. For those who have gaps in their computer knowledge, training in computer basics may
be needed before they begin the teaching and learning process. Serious problems can arise out of technical difficulties or operator error.
The advantages and disadvantages of e-learning vary depending on the specific program objectives, target groups, infrastructure and culture. It seems unlikely that it will replace formal education in a traditional environment.
Materials and tools
ODL materials can be categorized into a number of groupings, primarily based on their functions:
● Information sources: this encompasses materials, in whatever format, might include traditional
sources such as the reference textbook, a self-contained electronic reference library, or a more
sophisticated electronic link, via the web, to a dynamically changing source of information. This
accessibility and user-friendliness becomes much more important for ODL materials, where the
student may not be able to visit the tutor every time an uncertainty arises. So, ODL textbooks do
need to be easy on the eye, uncluttered and straightforward to navigate through. Providing electronic reference libraries on specific topics, for example by CD-ROM, is one way of giving comprehensive support to a\students learning in a subject, but this has the drawback of needing almost
constant updating, with subsequent version control issues. A more sophisticated solution is provided by on-line services, which can be constantly updated without version control issues. Whilst
invaluable as information sources, these types of ODL materials do not promote interactivity,
reflection or self-analysis. The use of these types of materials should therefore, be limited to this
Simulation: It provides the interactivity, through student decision making missing from the information providing type of materials, and can of course, be seen as much more exciting, interesting and enjoyable by students. These types of materials include interactive CD-ROMS of lab
experiments. For example, it can simulate setting up an optical microscope, then carrying out
Gram staining of bacteria, or counting cells after a fluorescent stain is applied. One of the benefits
of this type of approach to learning is that students engender their own enthusiasm, as they
achieve things. This can be particularly difficult to achieve when the students are remote from the
University setting, as in the Distance Learning mode. Recent advances in low-cost mass data storage allows to include quite detailed video clips, large numbers of different images or scenarios on
a single CD.
Computer-aided assessement: In this area, tools range from the very straightforward to use to
toolkit type products based around the use of object authoring tools such as Macromedia Authorware, Director and Shockwave. The value of the first products lies in their ability to make it very
easy to assess students by setting, editting and asking questions focussing on objective testing.
Although this can be as simple as completing a multiple choice assignment, it can involve more
much more complex tasks, such as multiple responses, text matching, calculations, selection of
matching pairs and matrix based answers.
ODL tools can be subdivided into two categories:
● Asynchronous instructions , such as audiocassette-based courses, courses on videotapes, courses
by correspondence, email, listservs, or web-based courses. The common characteristic is that they
do not require the simultaneous presence of course instructor and student;
Synchronous instructions, such as interactive TV, computer conferencing, internet relay chat
(IRC), multi-user domains (MUDs), and multi-user object oriented environments (MOOs)1.
In this section different types of products are discussed, which can help to develop learning content,
interact with your learners or manage the learning process. The types of product with examples of products that are available in the market are presented.
MUD is a MOO version using only text; a MOO also incorporates pictures.
A WYSIWYG web editor or a straightforward HTML editor can be a helpful tool to produce webpages.
But it is not always the fastest way because you need quite a lot of programming knowledge.
An authoring tool is a bit more expensive tool but very suitable for content developers with limited IT
skills. It can generate easily SCORM and AICC compliant content in a consistant way.
A lot of e-learning content is IT related content. Using animations and simulation can enhance the learning effect easily. These tools will make it very easy for you to create animations and simulations without
a lot of IT knowledge.
To test your learners is to know their progress and can be a great way to measure the quality of the
learning process. There are good products available to create standard compliant tests.
Communication is a very important factor in learning. What are the tools you can use to add chat functionalities to your e-learning environment?
Asynchronous communication can be very valuable for learners. What are the tools to create nice manageable forums?
The names for this kind of products keep changing (virtual classrooms, e-seminar tools, webinars tools
etc.). How can you offer functionalities like screensharing, showing presentations to all, audio- en videoconferencing, polling and webtours?
What kind of tools are available to manage the learning process and to have a solid system for content
management of learning objects?
Text editor
Almost all the web editing tools and authoring tools have various text editing options. You can type text,
format text, copy and paste, search and replace and even spell checking is possible.
If you only using some very short pieces of text, a text editor is not needed, you have enough at the
standard options in your web editor or authoring tool. But if you produce significant amount of text it
is easier to write the text in a text editor and then copy and paste it into the other tools.
Very good overview of the text.
Using auto text and macro’s to standardize text (e.g. shortcut for sentences that you use a lot).
With this it is easier to keep your text consistent.
The search and replace options are more advanced.
It is easier and faster to copy text between documents and parts of documents.
The spelling check is more flexible (e.g. instant spelling check).
Easier to print parts of the text for an off-line editing phase.
More control about the appearance of the text on the screen during the authoring process.
If you save the text file as HTML the generated HTML has a lot of rubbish (unneeded code).
If you also use format it is not sure that HTML will take over this format.
So it is smart only to write your text (without any formatting) and then copy it into your web editor or your authoring tool.
Microsoft Word.
Microsoft WordPad.
HTML editor
An authoring tool (for development of e-learning content) is indeed a very handy tool to create e-learning modules in a very fast and easy way. But if you only have to create a bit of learning content, or when
you have a lot of experience with web editors and you have very advanced options in mind, a web editor can be a more interesting option. An authoring tool will be far more expensive than a web editor
Applications are much cheaper than authoring tools.
More control about the source code. You can directly change the HTML code.
Advanced options are not very hard to accomplish (e.g. connectivity with databases).
Optimal flexibility, no restrictions because of templates etc.
You can also create your own templates.
Some web editors also have standard learning features like wizards to set up a testing page or
other interactivity.
Developer needs HTML knowledge and mastering every aspect of these editors is harder than
mastering the most authoring tools.
Although some web editors have a few possibilities in this field, the outcome of the development
process will not be totally standard compliant content (e.g. SCORM or AICC compliant). This can
be a big problem if you want to integrate the content in your LMS and you also want to have an
accurate student tracking.
Macromedia Homesite.
Macromedia Dreamweaver.
Microsoft FrontPage.
Authoring application
An authoring tool is definitely not only a tool for people who cannot program. Although these tools are
even so easy that subject matter experts (SMEs) can develop e-learning content. But also for the very
experienced developers they are offering a lot!
Fast and easy development by templates and drag-and-drop functionalities.
Easy to create interactivity and testing.
Easy import of learning objects created in other applications.
Output is standard compliant (SCORM, AICC etc.) so the content will be easily integrated in your LMS
Advanced options are possible with programming.
Relatively expensive products.
Your learning products can easily look like others if you use templates.
Macromedia Authorware
Lectora Publisher
Image editor
Most of the time the size of the images will not be optimized in web editors and authoring tools. Sometimes you will only reduce the size of the physical appearance but the size (in kb) will remains the same.
Your e-learning environment will be much slower if you don’t use an image editor to edit, optimize and
save an image. If you are a serious developer, you NEED an image editor.
You can import a lot of image formats.
You can import images straight from a digital camera.
You will get help in choosing the right format.
You can reduce the size of the image as you want.
You can use filters, work in layers and do all kind of other advanced editing.
You can always change the original picture later without losing quality (e.g. if you create an image
in Photoshop and export it as GIF, you reduce the size and quality but if you need to change things
you can open the original, high quality PSD file).
In some editors you can also add Jscript and HTML functionalities like roll-over effects and slices.
As a non graphical developer it will take some time before you know how to get the best results.
You will maybe need 2 applications to get all the features you want (although Photoshop comes
with ImageReady and this combination will satisfy 95% of your needs).
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe ImageReady
Macromedia Fireworks
PaintShop Pro
Corel Photo-paint
The Gimp (freeware)
Audio editor
There are some build in applications to integrate audio. E.g. in Microsoft PowerPoint you have the possibility to record audio and to integrate it into your presentation. But if you need to integrate audio in a
serious way, you need a separate application to be able to edit and manage the audio exactly as you want.
Import different audio formats.
Rip audio from CD and DVD.
Convert formats.
Save as streaming.
Detailed editing including effects.
Traktor DJ
DubIt (freeware)
RealProducer (from RealNetworks)
Animation/simulation editor
The free GifAnimator can create animations. But this is only a very simple and limited application to create animations. Besides this there are very advanced applications, which will help you a lot and they will
offer you all the possibilities you want.
Easy and fast creation of animations.
Control over the size in KB.
Detailed editing possibilities like in image editors.
Possibilities to integrate the text.
Some applications make it possible to save into different file formats (e.g. Flash or Animated GIF).
Some applications even can create interaction with the learner.
Some applications are relatively hard to learn (e.g. Flash)
Macromedia Flash
Macromedia Fireworks
ViewletBuilder (for IT related content)
OnDemand (for IT related content)
Adobe ImageReady
Lightwave (3D-animation)
Maya (3D-animation)
3D-Studio (3D-animation)
Video editor
Movie Maker is a good application with quite some options for editing video. But if you are seriously
producing video it is a must to have a real editing application.
Easy to use.
Lots of effects.
Perfect integration of audio possible.
Export to streaming format and a lot of other different formats.
Export to DVD, videotape, harddisk or web.
Some applications are quite hard to learn.
Some applications are quite expensive.
For serious editing you also need special hardware.
Adobe Premiere
Pinnacle Studio
Final Cut Pro
MotionDV Studio
RealProducer (from RealNetworks)
Screen capturing
Screen capturing applications are very basic applications. But if you are developing e-learning content
that is about IT applications it can save you a lot of time because with PRINT+SCREEN, often you need
to edit the image in an image editor like Photoshop (e.g. if you only want to have a button or part of the
Can capture whole screens but also areas or object (e.g. buttons).
Can capture mouse pointer if wanted.
Can capture menu’s.
Can capture text (also text in images).
Can capture video.
Can capture web elements (all in one time).
Can add audio.
Edit images in special editor (are automatically placed there after capturing).
Export in different formats.
Very cheap.
Video of simple screen capture applications is very limited.
Flowcharts tool
If you are only creating flowcharts very seldom, the possibilities in PowerPoint will be sufficient. But if
you use them often or if you use other visual elements, a special application can be worth using.
Lot of existing templates and objects (e.g. lot of official elements): for flowcharts, for Windows
elements, for databases, for organization charts, for software and hardware schemes etc.
Elements can be exactly edited (lot of extra tools available).
Can develop your own templates (draw your own objects).
Can work in layers.
Export to graphic formats is not always successful.
Microsoft Visio
Mindmap tool
This is not an essential application like an image editor. A mind map is a graphical representation of a
concept with the relationships and hierarchy. You can use it: For yourself to structure elements of your
course during the first phases of the ISD process. As another way of showing content to the learner, it
can be a very strong didactical thing.
Fast creation of “structure trees”.
Perfect for helping you to structure the course content.
Can use it as a collaboration tool with other developers.
Lot of editing possibilities.
Export in different formats (e.g. HTML).
Can use it in a presentation mode (is something different than PowerPoint).
Communication tool
Depends on the kind of development projects you are in! If you are working in a team that is not located in the same office there might be some extra possibilities that could ease the development process.
You can think of combining various communication tools or using one tool, which can do different
things. When you have an LMS or LCMS you will probably have available most of the communication
options in the list.
Different communication ways and tools, which can be interesting in a collaborative development proceses are following:
E-mail distribution list.
Instant messaging.
Screensharing (E-seminar).
Teleconferencing (E-seminar).
Sharing files.
Common webspace (combination all elements).
More ways of communication with different purposes .
Fast and sufficient ways.
Most of them are free or cheap.
More contact between developers.
More control over learning objects.
More transparency in process.
If there are too many ways of communicating it can be confusing.
Some tools have problems to function behind firewalls.
Microsoft Instant Messenger
Microsoft NetMeeting
Lotus SameTime
Translation application
Translation tool is something more advanced than only a dictionary. A translation engine can help you
when you are translation a lot of learning objects. The quality of this kind of machine translations is getting better and better but it is still not perfect. You will need to check the translations by a human translator.
Fast bulk translation.
Can also re-use the HTML codes.
In one screen the source and target language.
Database with corrections so the translation will improve over time.
Good file management.
Still not perfect machine translation.
Quite expensive.
IBM Translator Manager
Alchemy Catalyst
Power Translator
E-learning platforms
“Learning plarform” is a generic term to describe a broad range of ICT systems used to deliver and support learning. A learning platform usually combines several functions, such as organising, mapping and
delivering curriculum activities and the facility for learners and teachers to have a dialogue about the
activity, all via ICT. So, the term learning platform can be applied to a virtual learning environment
(VLE) or to the components of a managed learning environment (MLE).
There are many benefits to using a learning platform, whether on its own or in combination with other
systems as part of managed learning environment. A learning platform has a range of electronic and
online tools that applied with vision and after careful consideration can achieve these benefits.
A good learning platform has benefits for all who participate in the learning and teaching processes. It
enables teachers to deliver online tutorials, access e-mail and hold online discussions with colleagues; to
participate in a collaborative approach to the development of lesson plans, schemes of work and learning plans; to access learning resources, whether bought in or locally developed, designed for individual
learners or groups. It enables learners to access learning materials and tutor support, before or after
school, and to do some studying from their home or other locations; to submit in electronic format
homework, assessment activities and evidence such as digital images, and to do so in a way which is
secure and tracked.
Tutor interfaces have personalised working spaces, with daily management tools plus access to communication tools and learning resources. Some tutor interfaces also provide opportunities for personalising “learning offers” and structuring the resources and activities associated with them.
Student interfaces provide personalised home pages, learning management tools and access to study
units, collaborative tools and learning materials.
A key future of a learning platform is that it has different user interfaces, and thus offers each user a personalised access point to their work and learning environment.
E-learning features
E-Learning can be referred to as Web-based training. It is available anywhere, anytime. It is self-paced
interactive instruction, presented over the Internet or to an Intranet to browser-equipped learners. Elearning courses span the spectrum from desktop applications to technical certification meeting the
needs of today’s life-long learners. The e-learning solution is empowering, engaging, effective and economical. So e-learning, where the ‘e’ stands not only for “electronic” but and for energy, excitement,
engagement, enthusiasm and effectiveness is the answer to today’s education and training challenges.
Education and training is no longer a luxury but a requirement in a world that thrives on constant change.
E-learning can be defined also as a strategic solution that is deployed as part of the wider business strategy throughout the entire organisation. It is basic function of enhancing skills and abilities of the workforce, it should be seen as a collaborative tool to support the solving of business problems -such as corporate governance — as well as being a way to cut costs without cutting back on the continued support
and development of the organisation and its employees.
Employers and learners cannot afford time off to take a class. Travel itself makes traditional training too
expensive and also disruptive. E-learning is revolutionising the training world and the ability to erase geographical boundaries is one of the most popular features. As eLearning is available via the Internet, you
can access courses anytime from any PC anywhere that has Internet access. The ability to stop and restart
a course provides flexibility to train immediately when training is needed and when opportunities arise.
Thus the most important features of an e-learning system are user friendly, engagment, effectiveness
and exitement.
E-learning is user friendly, easy and engaging. It is available to everyone at any time — all you need usually is a standard browser like Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. It is not necessary for the learner to install programmes, it is all done over the Internet or over an Intranet and the courses are interactive. One learns by doing, not by just watching a computer screen. Simulations and questions about key
concepts and facts keep the learner engaged in the course. E-learning courses are now available in every
possible subject including management and supervisory skills such as customer service, negotiation skills
and time management.
Hyperlinked indexes let the learner go to specific topics or subjects to get the needed information, when
it is needed. Courses are designed to work as just-in-time learning, too, eliminating the need to take programmes from beginning to end to find key information.
The learners can also stop anywhere, any time, and the next time they sign on — the system will bookmark their position and take them right to the place they left off — no need to remember where they
were, no need to page through the course to get back on track.
The benefits of e-learning can be itemised easily:
Immediate Dissemination of vital Information: e-learning can be available 24hours every day. Important knowledge and information can be rolled out around the world within 24 hours rather than having to be scheduled
over a period of days or weeks. Information about a specific issue or problem can as easily be disseminated.
Personalisation of Learning: Course content can be customised to meet the requirements of individuals
rather than the ‘one size fits all’ approach that larger classroom environments dictate.
Increased Collaboration and Access to Information: The interactive and collaborative nature of classroom-based teaching can be maintained by allowing students to communicate with others on a course.
Comments and suggestions can be added, queries can be lodged and a range of additional course materials can be accessed through URLs to supporting web sites.
More Effective Scheduling: While classroom-based courses need to be scheduled in advance and as such
are never likely to be at the most convenient time for all attendees.
Cost Reduction: The typical direct costs of classroom-based training are eliminated with e-learning,
which can be carried out from the student or employee’s desk.
Assessment Made Easier: Classroom-based learning can often be judged as a success or a failure. Postcourse assessment seems to be easier with e-learning through the use of Learning Management Systems.
This changes the success assessment criteria to “What did the student do?”
New role of e-learning instructors
As we have already mentioned above e-learning has enormous potential for making learning faster,
more through, less tedious, more challenging, less expensive, and more fan. We have mentioned also
that the typical direct costs of classroom-based training are eliminated with e-learning. But if we try to
cut costs in addition by removing people from the education, the e-learning will fail. This is because the
learning process is social. People learn from one to another.
E-learners can interact during the e-learning process in many ways – they may “attend” virtual presentations, seminars, and classes. They can participate in online discussions, both real time and anytime.
They connect with fellow learners, learning coaches, mentors, facilitators and others by email, videoconference, telephone, messaging, and voice chat. To make the most of a virtual learning, most learners need a Guide. This also changes the role of e-learning instructors. The role of on-line instructors is
more challenging but more flexible and varied. Their new job is to answer questions, to coach, to steer,
to encourage, to lead, but not only to instruct. We can call this new role “e-learning Guide”.
The Guide’s role changes over time. At first the Guide spends time defining boundaries, organizing the
learning process and explaining How (how) things work. The Guide sets expectations and monitors
participation. With the passage of time, more and more responsibility for learning shifts from the
instructor to the learner. The Guide become more a mentor, coach, advisor, and trouble-shooter. As
learners become more experienced and a group culture takes hold, the Guide spends less face-to-face
time with learners, real or virtual. But as the group matures, the Guide will need a greater depth of subject matter expertise — to noodle through the issues groups of learners couldn’t figure out for themselves.
When a facilitator makes the transition from onground to online he/she does not retain the role of
“distributor of information” in a teacher-centered classroom. Rather it is needed to become the medium whereby the discovery of learning is facilitated in a student-centered environment. Hence, traditional teaching methods simply do not succeed given the changes in the learning environment. This
brings new pressure on instructors, both to deal with a different way of teaching, interacting and managing a 24-hour-a-day classroom populated by adults who demand relevance and may require extra
Hence a responsible on-line facilitators needs:
Ability to create an atmosphere of collaborative team work. Learners depend on one another for a large
portion of their learning. The facilitator needs to know how to work as part of this team as well as help
learners work with each other.
Find a balance between leading the group and creating an environment where learners themselves meet
the learning objectives. The leadership model becomes one of dynamic facilitation, which is a shift away
from an authoritarian style toward a more democratic style.
The actions of an effective on-line Guide are into administrative, facilitation, technical, and evaluation tasks.
The primary goal of these competencies is to:
to assure smooth course operation, improve adherence to policies and procedures, and enhance
learner comfort level and retention.
to enhance cognitive outcomes related to course objectives and foster community and collaboration among class participants.
to assure that technical aspects of the course are running smoothly and learner barriers due to
technical components are quickly overcome
to establish high standards, assure that the learners understand how they will be evaluated, and
provide assistance in meeting course.
Planning of an e-learning course (T. Horeva)
Advances in information technology and new developments in learning science have led to a perceptible rise in the creation and implementation of e-learning programs, software, and courses in universities, companies and organizations worldwide. The transition from industrial to information society has
assigned a new role to education. The training-career bond has become much stronger because jobs are
project-oriented, tasks and problems change quickly depending on the specific market situation and
work is an education-encouraging process. Corporate developments affect vocational training orientation. Companies offer new training concepts, e.g. in the form of television courses, educational software,
etc. as a result of the more commercialized education sector. Universities are increasingly internationalised and opened to new target groups in order to respond to the requirements of the global education
market. By offering courses that can be accessed from any point in the world, together with internationally recognised diplomas, they complement their traditional programs with attractive alternatives
that enhance their positions and promote the sales of their basic products.
E-learning as a new form of training needs careful planning, analysis and investigation of the possibilities of using the potentials of the World Wide Web in compliance with the educational requirements.
Course planning is an essential stage in the development of any type of courseware. Decisions need to
be made about its content and structure, about appropriate instruction and assessment methods with
regard to the target group and their specific needs.
1. Definition of target group
E-learning courses can be aimed at satisfying the needs of a large variety of people: from students and
company employees to pensioners and unemployed.
A large number of full-time and part-time students are under economic pressure and have to work part56
time. They appreciate the reduced travel time and costs and the opportunity to study at a place and time
of their own choice.
Foreign students who wish to receive an internationally acknowledged diploma or training that is not
provided by their home institutions can also be included in the target groups.
An educational institution could find its target group by cooperating with companies who would wish to
enhance their employees’ qualifications. The employees can do several core subjects as e-courses before
they enrol for campus-based studies, or they may only opt for e-training and not go to the classroom
at all. In both cases the company will minimize the training costs, and the institution will extend its reach
to corporate and foreign markets.
Universities can offer re-qualification opportunities to the unemployed through special e-learning programs developed with regard to the specific market situation and the new occupational demands.
Another group who could benefit from e-learning is the group of pensioners. Special e-courses may be
designed in response to the needs and interests of the elderly who would otherwise not feel at ease surrounded by much younger students in the traditional classroom setting.
2. Assessment of needs
For some courses this is the most difficult aspect of planning because of the differences in students’ background and motivation. Even when the target group includes students from the same type of school,
their degrees of preparation may vary. In an academic environment, the modularization, credit transfer
schemes and interdisciplinary nature of courses lead to a great diversity in students’ interests, background and levels of motivation. The period of transition from school to university, both in knowledge
and in attitudes, may cover the whole first year, therefore a course offered in the first year may require
a totally different approach form that in subsequent years.
Certificates obtained at previous levels of education provide some information on the range and level of
learners’ skills. However, they are not always fully reliable — course planners need to be aware of how much
a learner really knows rather than how much he or she is expected to know. Also, there are some non-standard qualifications that need special attention. In order to start a course from an adequate point, research
into the learners’ background can be made by means of diagnostic tests, questionnaires or similar methods.
When a course is custom-made to meet certain corporate demands, the learners’ needs are defined by
the company ordering the course. Even in this case certain pre-testing will be needed to establish the
starting level of the audience.
A feature that is of special prominence in view of the globalization processes is that e-learning courses
can address multi-lingual needs. Any material can be produced in multiple languages and offered to
globally dispersed audiences.
An important factor when assessing learners’ needs is their preparedness to cope with the delivery
methods of an e-course. Not all students can be expected to possess a high degree of technical skill.
Some institutions try to design their courses in such a way that learners on all skill levels can do them.
Another solution would be to advise students who lack the necessary skills to take a preliminary course
that would prepare them to make best use of e-learning materials. Needs analysis results may show that
on-going assistance and support throughout the course will be needed for students to take advantage of
all delivery methods.
3. Definition of learning objectives
Prior to developing an e-learning course, it should be seen as one way of achieving institutional goals,
and should, therefore, be designed to operate in agreement with those goals. Its relation to the rest of
the curriculum, the learners’ and institution’s expectations, the competences, skills, and attitudes to be
developed through it are factors that need to be considered when formulating the course objectives.
The definition of realistic goals also involves careful consideration of the funding, the technical and
human resources available for the development and delivery of the course content. E-learning requires
students to learn at a computer, be self-motivated and be willing to learn independently. This shift from
the classroom style of learning may require that learners be re-educated to the new style. Another
important factor to consider is whether in a traditional training department there are staff who have the
skills necessary to convert existing material to e-format or to create new e-learning material. Then the
cost of re-educating teaching staff to e-learning should be weighed against the cost of employing an
external consultant or instructional designer who has the required expertise. In the second case the traditional trainer can be trained how to guide and facilitate the e-learning process. As e-learning becomes
more common and integrated with the responsibilities of teachers and learners it will gradually be
accepted as part of the culture.
A set of clearly defined goals and objectives is essential for all types of courses since it influences the
choice of topics to be included in the course, the time allocated to each of them, the application of suitable instructional, learning and evaluation activities compliant with the students’ background. Once
defined, course objectives should be shared with learners in a manner that is best suited for a particular
subject - the definition of too rigid and restrictive objectives may not be very appropriate for an arts
course, for instance. A possible formulation could be in terms of how learners will be changed by the
course, what they will be expected to be able to do on its completion, or the standards they will be
expected to meet.
4. Selection of content
An e-learning course can lift off two different points:
a) It can build on existing classroom-based material. In this case it is very important to decide whether
the available materials are convertible to online format. Apart from cost effectiveness, another important factor to be considered is how much face-to-face interaction is involved in the course and whether
this can be replaced by online collaborative meetings and activities, i.e. those involving groups of learners working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product.
b) It can be developed from scratch, i.e. as a course entirely new both in content and in form. It can use
the expertise from related courses and has to be planned as a rich and engaging experience that will have
repeated uses by a distributed audience. A new e-learning course can strengthen the positions of the
education institution in a situation of serious competition from other similar institutions, which can
sometimes be in close geographical proximity.
Content selection depends on a variety of factors that course developers need to identify and accommodate as best they can. The objectives defined largely determine the topics to be covered by a course,
putting a greater emphasis on some and assigning a less essential role to others. Other considerations
include accreditation requirements, available resources, institutional demands, special needs and abilities
of the learners. When funding is provided by an organisation external to the educational institution, the
course will have to meet the pre-set specifications.
5. Selection of didactical approaches and scenarios
The didactical approach selected needs to be consistent with the course objectives. With this type of
learning, learners choose when to learn and how quickly to proceed, i.e. they are in control of the learning. Therefore, the traditional linear approach with extensive reading of text and numerous slides of
information may prove unsuccessful. The absence of classroom dynamics can be compensated by an
approach that engages learners, has them respond to questions, involves them in scenarios and stimulates them to make decisions as they are learning the content. The nature of the student-instructor communication is changed in terms of more limited face-to-face and verbal interaction and increased use of
written communications. Students have to be made aware of the need to use web-based resources to
achieve the interaction level required to meet their needs.
Special links to related sites or supplementary material contribute to the more exciting presentation of
the content and provide additional stimulus to the more advanced students. However, it is important to
establish a mechanism for dealing with issues related to intellectual rights to these materials.
Most employers select an e-learning course not only on account of its cost effectiveness but also because
they place a higher value on problem-solving, quantification, analytical, synthesis, and self-evaluation
skills rather than the specific subject matter of the course. Therefore the approach applied should be
aimed at developing these skills through particular type of activities.
6. Selection of platform or features of given platform
The Web offers a wide range of methods for delivering content. These methods range from simple text
to audio and video formats. However, not everyone may be able to receive content in all forms. For
example, the student’s choice of Internet Service Provider and the computing platform that they are
using may play a role in this. It is therefore important to understand the facilities available to students
who may enrol in these courses and whether they can access services and download content from different sources.
The choice of content that learners will be able to receive and use as well as the delivery methods applied
should be periodically analyzed. As more people acquire high speed Internet access, and new hardware
and software becomes widespread, content and its delivery should be altered. The possibility of targeting programs at selected audiences, that already possess high-speed access and more advanced capabilities should also be considered.
The needs assessment should help guide the selection of a course delivery platform. The e-learning
course has to be accessible by a variety of different platforms such as Windows, UNIX and Mac because
they all read html files. A number of companies have developed course delivery software that facilitates
the organization and transmission of course materials. The strengths and weaknesses of each software
package need to be carefully assessed. The suitable choice of a product can greatly simplify the task of
delivering and maintaining course materials. The issue of interoperability or the ability of hardware or
software components to work together effectively also needs to be considered.
Another important issue is where course materials will be maintained, i.e. the appropriate facilities for
storing and delivering the materials must be available. It is essential to select a site that can deliver materials to the intended audience promptly and that can adequately meet the delivery demands. Sometimes
institutional facilities are sufficient to host a web-based curriculum. In other cases, however, it may be
more economical to use commercial facilities that guarantee an appropriate level of service.
7. Production of structure, material and timetable
After the course content has been selected, it has to be organised in a manner that is suitable for both
subject and learner. Obviously, a course developer should not expect to level out learners’ backgrounds.
A major advantage of an e-course is that revision topics can be covered by those who lag behind in their
knowledge through links to extra materials and activities without making the more advanced students
disinterested and bored. Depending on the specific subject, course material can be structured from specific to general, i.e. working on a series of relevant examples can lead to the general principles. The presentation can follow the historical or logical development of the subject. A complex situation may be
examined in detail and analysed down to its underlying principles. Different units may be grouped round
specific concepts or problems, and each may be directed towards the development of a certain skill.
Tougher topics should be supported by a larger number of activities that should reveal their different
aspects. If possible, topics that learners may find boring should be animated by illustrations or interesting information. Diagrams, flowcharts, images, video and sound should be incorporated in the material
to enhance learning. Whatever the structure chosen, presentation should be activity-based, split into relatively short sessions in order to maintain learners’ interest and motivation.
Since few instructors and learners can be expected to have the technical expertise necessary to either
prepare e-learning materials in the appropriate format or use them, technical support should be provided throughout the development, organisation and delivery of the course content.
Furthermore, the preparation of e-learning materials requires facilities for the collection of graphic,
video, voice, and text content. For an e-course to be competitive, course materials and methods should
be continually updated. Although hardware and software capable of doing this are available, they require
adequate financial provisions.
Being chosen by many for the flexibility they provide, web classes could theoretically ignore any traditional academic calendar. Still, an adequate timetable should specify the topics included in the content,
the approximate time allotted to each topic, and the points at which the continuous assessment tests will
be given.
Assessment has to be matched to the course objectives and structure. The assessment method chosen
needs to be a valid test of achievement of the pre-set objectives, and learners have to be made aware of
it prior to the beginning of the course. The complexity of test questions should be suited to the depth of
presentation of the material
The courseware should include frequent monitoring and feedback of learners’ progress. E-learning provides better opportunities for continuous assessment than traditional learning. Tests can be given to large
numbers of students and automatically processed, which leaves the instructor with more time for
analysing the results and making changes in the course content, if necessary. Self-assessment and peer
assessment options can contribute to the development of learners’ critical/self-critical and
evaluating/self-evaluating capabilities. One final examination may be included on completion of the
course as general revision of the skills acquired.
Learner assessment may not be a critical issue for classes not granting academic credit. However, it is
essential for credit granting institutions. Assessment options may range from on-line testing to requiring that students attend the institution or examination centre for testing. A problematic issue in the first
case is how to ascertain the identity of the person being tested. Degree granting institutions have to make
sure, that assessment methods and practices are acceptable to their accrediting bodies.
8. Course evaluation
When evaluating the quality of a course, first the extent to which it meets the pre-set objectives should
be examined. Information about this can come from various internal and external sources. Sttudents
assessments and feedback, student interviews and questionnaires can provide valuable information. The
course can be reviewed by other course designers or review groups within the educational institution.
Course quality can also be evaluated by external examiners, educational experts, employers or professional associations. The format of an e-learning course allows for its revision, improvement and updating on an almost day-to-day basis.
The best guide to evaluate e-learning products is to have a clear description of the learning need and the
technical capabilities of your organization and your learners. By keeping the learning need in mind, we
can assess the ability of the technology to address each of your needs and expectations.
Content related aspects
Products is suitable for target group
Learning objectives are clearly defined
The instructional content have to be interesting and interactive – ideal if the instructions allows
learners to generate their own ideas and use them later. Does the content reflect proven principles, or is it based on a fad?
Content is well structured, there is a possibility for searching and citation new knowledge at the
later state of the study (e. g. links to the elemental definitions, etc.)
A glossary defines unusual or technical terms used in the course and may provide links to sources
of supplementary information.
References are included
Content relates to other disciplines: the learners have to perceive the relations to other disciplines,
e.g. by means of exercises, in which they have to looking for references to models, theory or practice.
There are exercises related to the content; there are clear instructions
Assessments are included/self assessment
Communication and Collaboration related aspects
Possibility to communicate synchronously (chat)
Possibility to communicate asynchronously (email, forum, SMS…)
Deadlines for asynchronously communication are set
Possibility to form groups
Possibility to upload/download documents
Product includes calendar (notes function)
Need to be exercises in which the communication is essential.
Didactical aspects
Respects various levels of expertise
It include interactive forms of learning
Does it include support/explanation?
Which learning objective does it pursue (understand/apply/develop knowledge)?
Does it allow tutor support/ FAQs?
Does it include case study?
Technical aspects
Time for installation?
Does it comply the standards (AICC, IMS, SCORM)?
Is there hotline?
Possibility to extend
Possibility to adapt for own needs
Information about plugins / system requirements
Use and Usability related aspects
Ease of use
How easily can content be added, deleted, or upgraded by your training staff and technical support?
The package presents clear, professional appearance. The graphics, visual style, sound and animation options should enhance learning points.
Is the design attractive?
Navigation and orientation have to be easy, the learner have to find his way into and around within the learning package. There have to be clear, simple navigation tools, bookmarks, and the
option to skip ahead and go back to review material previously covered. Links within the course
are provided to other parts of the course. Page headers or footers identify where the learner is in
the course.
Can learners find information quickly? An index lists key words or topics.
Use is self explanatory: The function of each icon or button is explained and/or is naturally evident to the learners. A detailed table of contents includes objectives, learning outcomes, or topics. Every section of the course or module begins with a preview. Every page is linked to the previous page, the start of the module, the beginning of the course, and to e-mail so that learners
may contact instructors and other learners for clarification and discussion. Some course management systems do not allow designers to place a link on every page, but links may be placed on
the screen frame or interface page.
Cost-effectiveness/value related aspects
The learning package have to be cost-effective, when all supporting costs and licenses are figured
Can the package be charged on a pay-as-you-go plan, or is a user license required?
What kind of support is necessary and included?
Active Server Pages(ASP)
A programming language that extends standard HTML-based web sites to include database content
management. The Microsoft standard as opposed to CGI/Unix programming languages and environment.
Adaptive training programs adapt themselves to the skill level or preferences of the learner. Haven’t
seen one in over ten years. At best, some programs use the pre-test to enable students to “test out”
of certain lessons.
Classic model of an instructional system design process that includes the steps Analysis, Design,
Development, Implementation, and Evaluation from which the acronym is taken. Most corporate
trainers drop the “A”. Who needs analysis lets just start building stuff!
Adult Learning Theory
Principles and practices of providing instruction to the adult learner. Primarily concerned with an
adult’s well-defined learning goals, wealth of experience and ability/desire to direct his or her own
learning. See andragogy. Hmmm, the more you learn about andragogy, the more you start wondering if kids don’t actually learn the same way.
Acronym for Aviation Industry CBT Committee. An emerging set of standards The AICC sets guidelines in the development, delivery, and evaluation of e-learning programs. These guidelines are
developed specifically for the aviation industry, but are being widely adopted in a variety of other
industries. See for more details. Already becoming old-school — SCORM is the new
kid on the block.
Alpha Version
An alpha version of a program is also known as a “pilot” version, which can be tested for overall
usability and training effectiveness. You know, the pilot version, where the program is actually tested by a real sample population and then refined before final roll-out. What? You’ve never done that?
The first step in the classic A-D-D-I-E model of Instructional System Design. In the analysis phase
the audience is defined and performance improvement needs are identified. Often the phase that discovers that the performance problem really isn’t a training problem at all, but what the heck, we have
budget to build something for it...
The opposite of pedagogy. A European term introduced into the English vocabulary by Malcom
Knowles, it is the art and science of helping adults learn. A prime contributor to most theories of adult
learning, andragogy as set out by Knowles emphasizes an adults’ capabilities to direct and motivate
themselves, utilize past knowledge to assist learning and evaluate the contents of training for relevance and quality.
The rapid sequential presentation of slightly differing graphics to create the illusion of motion. Animation can have greater purpose in illustrating a process than a static visual, but it requires more
information to be processed by the computer and thus higher bandwidth. Compare to audio, video,
text, and graphic.
A small program, that runs on the Internet or an Intranet, written in the programming language
known as Java. Also known as a rarely used program that keeps getting stopped by your corporate
firewall and causing all kinds of end user complaints. (Come on Java fans, where’s your sense of
humor? Don’t send me any hate emails!)
Any stand alone computer program.
Application Service Provider (ASP)
Internet hosting service provider. A company that hosts a program on behalf of its clients. Many
training programs and learning management systems are now offered on an ASP platform. The ASP
model is under heavy scrutiny right now as e-learning vendors are folding up with little notice in the
dot-bomb crash. Many customers have found that they are losing access and student data with very
little notice.
ARCS Model
A theory about the best way to instill learner motivation, developed by John Kellar, PhD. The four
steps in the model are: gain learner Attention, describe the training’s Relevance, instill Confidence in
the learner that the training can be successfully completed, and leave the learner Satisfied after a
learning goal has been achieved. Invaluable in practice and easy to implement, but sadly it is seldom
Assessment Item
A question or exercise on a test, quiz, or other evaluation. Well why don’t we just say it’s a “question”? Who invented the word “item” for “question” anyway?
Work produced by students and used by instructors for purposes of interaction and also evaluation.
See Active Server Pages or Application Service Provider.
Communication in which interaction between parties does not take place simultaneously.
Asynchronous Training/Learning
A learning program that does not require the student and instructor to participate at the same time.
Typically self-paced, online tutorials.
A disposition toward a certain behavior. Psychological theories hold that attitudes are revealed by
examining behaviors and shaping attitudes can in turn influence behaviors. Training to change attitude is bunk. As the old saying goes, hire attitude and train skills.
The intended end user population of a training product. Careful consideration of audience factors
such as learning styles, level of education, preferences, background, and job responsibilities helps create more successful e-learning.
The medium of delivering information to be processed by a learner’s ears. Compare to text, video,
graphics, and animations.
Audio bridge
A device used in audioconferencing that connects multiple telephone lines. Audioconferencing: Voice
only connection of more than two sites using standard telephone lines.
Similar to “programming”, developers assemble discrete media components using a tool called an
authoring system.
Authoring System or Authoring Tool
A program, like Macromedia Authorware, designed for use by a non-computer expert to create
training products. An authoring system does not require programming knowledge or skill to operate. Enables non-programmers to create e-learning programs. Although there are over 100 authoring systems on the market, Authorware, Director, Toolbook, and DreamWeaver are among the most
common (yes, I know, DreamWeaver isn’t technially an authoring system).
Band width
The measure of amount of information that can flow through an information channel. Commonly
measured in bits per second. Modem connection to an internet server is a typical example of a lowbandwidth connection; an Ethernet connection within a LAN is an example of a high-bandwidth connection.
A measure of the quantity of information transmitted on a communication line; largely replaced by
the use of bits-per-second.
See Bulletin Board System.
An action or set of actions performed by a person under specified circumstances that reveal some
skill, knowledge or attitude. Training seeks to increase desirable behaviors or introduce new behaviors and/or eliminate undesirable ones.
Follows the traditions of Pavlov, Watson, Thorndike, and Skinner by viewing behavior as a result of
stimulus-response. (See Moore & Kearsley (1996) p. 204, for implications to distance education)
A standard of reference used for comparison. The performance of a learner is measured against a
benchmark such as the performance of an expert. The performance of a technology-based training
product is measured against a benchmark such as the training procedures it replaces.
Beta Test
An important function of quality control and one of the last steps before release of a software product. Beta testing involves the use of a product by selected users to create a formal documentation of
content errors, software bugs, usability, level of engagement, and other factors. Also the term used
by your vendor when you call them to report errors in your review copy (“What, you found 10
errors? Uh, well, that was just the beta copy, we know it has errors.”)
Best practices
“The adoption of work practices which, when effectively linked together, can be expected to lead to
sustainable world-class outcomes in quality, customer satisfaction, flexibility, timeliness, innovation
and cost-competitiveness.” (See Inglis, Ling, & Joosten (1999) pp. 157-173, 196)
Binary code
A computer language developed with only two letters in its alphabet.
The elementary constituent of digital information, the value of which can take only the forms 0 or 1.
Bits are often measured by adding prefixes to signify a value. One kilobit contains approximately
1,000 bits; one megabit contains approximately a million bits; one gigabit contains approximately
one billion bits.
Bits-per-second (bps)
A measure of the speed of the information transmission over a communication line; often confused
with baud.
Blended Learning
A training curriculum that combines multiple types of media. Typically, blended learning refers to a
combination of classroom-based training with self-paced e-learning. The defacto buzzword of 2001
and 2002 — will this jargon creep ever stop?! Why didn’t we call it “blended” learning when workbooks came with audio tapes?
“Blog” is short for “Web Log” and refers to short messages that are posted onto a web site by an
author. Blogs are typically informal and personal messages, almost like daily diary entries. Blogging
has caught on as a cheap form of knowledge sharing and expert communication. See for more information.
Bloom’s Taxonomy
A hierarchical ordering of affective and cognitive learning outcomes developed by Benjamin Bloom.
Hello, out there, anyone ever hear of Bloom?
A tutorial structure that progresses through material in a path that depends on the learner’s response
to questions.
Digital signals delivered (along with analog signals) over copper medium to businesses and households. Typically refers to an internet connection via a cable modem or DSL line with speeds 1 Mb/s
to 10 Mb/s.
Software that allows you to find and see information on the Internet. Also called a Web Browser. A
program used to access the text, graphic, audio, video and animation elements of the Internet and
Intranets. Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer are the most commonly used
browsers. If your student audience uses both IE and Netscape, and your e-learning program uses
Javascript code, look out; subtle differences in browsers will bite you in the butt.
Bulletin Board System
Also known as BBS. The computer equivalent of a public note board, messages can be posted to a
BBS for viewing by other users and other computers. A BBS is often called a threaded discussion.
A word made up of eight bits of information. One byte is the amount of information required to represent one character.
Cable Modem
A device that connects a computer to the Internet through a Cable TV coaxial cable. Cable modems
are considered to be a high bandwidth, or high speed connection.
See Computer-based Education. Ignore this term, nobody uses it anymore.
See Computer-based Learning. Ignore this term, nobody uses it anymore.
See Computer-based Training.
Compact Disc Read Only Memory. An optical disc, recorded on and read by a laser, used to store
large quantities of information. One CD-ROM has 650 Mb of storage capacity. Due to our current
state of “bandwidth blues” CD-ROM delivery as a subset of e-learning will be around for long time.
A formal evaluation process conducted by a neutral third party on a fee-basis, typically using a rigorous, accurate, reliable, validated software test suite and evaluation methodology. Certification is for
a specific version only of the product being tested. Certification may lapse after a specific duration.
Certification can be lost or revoked. Certifying body stands behind its evaluation of the product or
Central Processing Unit (CPU)
The component of a computer in which data processing takes place.
Chat or Chat Room
Text-based group communication on the Internet. Multiple users can type their questions and
answers for everyone to see. This form of group communication occurs in real-time. Sounds great
but fairly messy for e-learning. Synchronous web-casts or threaded discussions better.
The process of separating learning materials into brief sections in order to improve learner comprehension and retention.
Classroom Training
Any training conducted where the students and facilitator interact in a real, physical classroom. Unlike
“Instructor-led Training (ILT)” which, although there is an instructor, could still take place over an
Internet connection. Also, known as the preferred method of learning by many students because of
the perks (e.g., day out of the office, meet new friends, and most importantly, free donuts).
Clip Media
Pre-existing pictures, audio files, videos clips that can be “clipped” out and pasted directly into a
computer program. Also known as “stock media”.
See Computer Managed Instruction.
Cognitive Loading
The process of placing elements into a person’s short-term memory. Great term for impressing colleagues and prospecive clients (e.g., “Although this looks like a boring, passive text screen, we are
actually cognitively loading the word items into the learners STM. STM? Oh yes, short-term memory...”)
Cognitive theories
Follows the interest in the internal processes of the brain. Interested in learner’s prior knowledge and
learner style.
Collaborative Learning
Learning through the exchange and sharing of information and opinions among a peer group. Computers excel in mediating collaborative learning for geographically dispersed groups.
Competencies/Competency Model
A structured list of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are required for job performance. Competencies are used as the foundation to guide needs analyses and evaluations. Unfortunately most competencies end up in a filing cabinet to be referenced only when updating job descriptions. Used properly, they are powerful drivers of assessment and training.
A ‘self-test’ software test suite is available to both implementer and user. Software test suite usually
designed to rigorously test inputs, processes, and outputs of a guideline, recommendation, specification, or standard: Know the source. Provider of test suite may or may not allow users of test suite to
claim more than conformance (no formal Endorsement).
A technique used to encode information so that it fits in a smaller package for easy storage or transmission. In other words, “we have to compress this audio or video file so it will download faster on
a low bandwidth connection. Yes, the quality will be terrible but we have no choice.”
Computer Based Education
A generic term for a computer program used by a learner to acquire knowledge or skills. See e-learning.
Computer Based Learning
A generic term for a computer program used by a learner to acquire knowledge or skills. See e-learning.
Computer Based Training
A generic term for a computer program used by a learner to acquire knowledge or skills. See e-learning.
Computer Managed Instruction
The components of e-learning that provide assessment, student tracking and personalized lesson
Computer Supported Learning Resources (CSLR)
The parts of a e-learning product other than those that instruct, test, or track progress. These include
glossaries, bulletin boards and chats, bibliographies, databases, etc. Nobody really uses terms like
these, ignore it!
One of the three required parts of a properly composed learning objective, as defined by Robert
Mager. Circumstances under which the performance will be tested and materials that will be provided to the student are described in the condition statement. This is one of the parts of Mager’s learning objective guidelines that is always ignored, and with good reason.
The implementer asserts adherence to guidelines, recommendation, specification or standard. User
tests assertion by inspecting results. No form of testing is used other than evaluating actual results
against expected results.
Approach that views knowledge as an active process of subjectively building a system of meanings.
Based on “autonomous individuals constructing their own knowledge based on their own experiences.” (See Moore & Kearsley (1996) p. 204)
A small file placed on a user’s computer by a visited web page. Many e-learning programs will store
the student’s name, history, and score information in a cookie file. Also, the sweet bakery items given
to classroom students right before they complete their workshop evaluations so they won’t bash the
Cost Avoidance
Component of analyzing competing business alternatives based on reducing or eliminating costs,
such as student travel and instructor fees. Return-on-investment studies take account of cost avoidance in calculating final returns. Also, the term to describe corporations refusal to spend any real
money on e-learning (and then wondering why they have a bunch of boring page turners).
Cost-benefit Analysis
Method of analyzing competing business alternatives based on comparing total costs to total benefits. A proper cost-benefit analysis takes into account all benefits, including productivity, savings, and
motivation, and weighs them against all costs, including expenditures, overheads, and lost opportunities.
Cost effectiveness
Measure of resources to produce acceptable results at the lowest cost; often enhanced by utilizing
economies of scale. (See Moore & Kearsley (1996) pp. 71-73, and Inglis, Ling, & Joosten, Chapter
4, for implications to distance education)
Term used to describe the collection of elements that make up training on a given subject. Usually a
course is broken up into lessons, sections, or modules but course is sometimes used interchangeably
with these terms.
Course Map
Usually a flow-chart or other illustration, a course map details all of the component elements of a
course. Course maps often illustrate the recommended order that students should complete the training.
Software designed specifically for use in a classroom or other educational setting, containing instructional material, educational software, or audiovisual materials. “Courseware” is a term used to
describe software resources which are used for Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL). to (To) mediate
or support a course or module.
One of the three required parts of a properly composed learning objective. The performance level
that must be achieved by the student along with a concrete measurement for the performance level
are described in the criterion statement.
Criterion Referenced Instruction
A system of instruction developed by Bob Mager. Synonym for performance based instruction;
instruction whose value is measured by the ability of the end-user to meet specified criterion after
completion. Another classic and effective system that seems to be forgotten or ignored too often in
the world of e-learning.
A series of related courses.
The nebulous “place” where humans interact over computer networks. Jargon referring to the Internet, or the World Wide Web.
Delivery Method
Term describing the way in which training is distributed to learners. Print-based workbooks, classroom, video, audio tapes, CD-ROM, and Internet are all sample delivery methods. See also the term
“blended solution” which is the in vogue jargon describing using a mix of media elements to deliver
a course or curriculum.
The second step in the classic A-D-D-I-E model of Instructional System Design. The design phase
builds on the analysis information and includes the formulation of a detailed plan for the instruction,
known as the Design Document. Sometimes Design is broken into “high level design” for the design
doc and “low level design” which culuminates in a script or storyboard.
Used to describe any member of a training project team, usually referring to creators such as writers,
graphic artists, and programmers. Technically, this term should refer only to instructional designers,
but it is often used synonomously with the term developer.
Desktop videoconferencing
Videoconferencing on a personal computer.
Used to describe a member of a training project team involved in development activities or the project team as a whole. Could refer to an instructional designer, graphic designer, writer, etc.
The third step in the classic A-D-D-I-E model of Instructional System Design. The development
phase follows the plans created in the design phase to create materials ready for several iterations of
testing and refinement.
Dial-up teleconference
Using public telephone lines for communications links among various locations.
Opposite of analog. Computer signals, the information manipulated by a computer and transferred
on the Internet, are digital. A digital signal varies by discrete values only; that is any point defined
within a digital signal will have the value of either 1 or 0.
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
Refers to high speed Internet connections obtained through a special service of the phone company,
using their standard telephone line.
Distance education (DE)
Teaching and learning in which learning normally occurs in a different place from teaching. The
process of providing instruction when students and instructors are separated by physical distance and
technology, often in tandem with face-to-face communication, is used to bridge the gap.
Distance learning
Term often used as synonymous with distance education, not strictly correct since distance education
includes teaching as well as learning.
Domains of Learning
Three divisions used to classify types of learning: psychomotor (physical), cognitive (mental), and
affective (emotional).
Using the network to transfer files from one computer to another.
Drill and Practice
An interactive exercise used to develop basic skills like keyboard operation. Involves the repetition
of short sequences of practice, chained together to make up more complex processes. Although
extremely effective, this method is usually now avoided as an instructional technique because it is
considered boring, simple, and unglamorous. Is not it amazing how so many care about style over
See Digital Subscriber Line.
Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)
Digital Versatile Disc Read Only Memory. Like a CD-ROM, an optical disc recorded on and read by
a laser, but used to store even larger quantities of information, specifically 8.5 gigabytes
See Digital Versatile Disc.
Measure of achieving a specific goal: Typical effectiveness measures in distance education include
cost, course design, instruction, media, teaching strategies, technology. Relates to quality assurance.
(See Moore & Kearsley (1996) pp. 65-71, 182-184 and Inglis, Ling, & Joosten (1999) p. 198).
Broad definition of the field of using technology to deliver learning and training programs. Typically
used to describe media such as CD-ROM, Internet, Intranet, wireless and mobile learning. Some
include Knowledge Management as a form of e-learning. Took awhile for the right term to come
about, circa 1995 it was all called “Internet based Training”, then “Web-based Training” (to clarify that
delivery could be on the Inter- or Intra-net), then “Online Learning” and finally e-learning, adopting
the in vogue use of “e-” during the dot com boom. The “e-” breakthrough enabled the industry to
reaise hundreds of millions from venture capitalists who would invest in any industry that started with
this magic letter.
Electronic Performance Support System
A program that provides on demand assistance on a discrete task. Considered to be a support tool
or job aid. A good example of an EPSS is the built in help functions of many software programs.
Term coined by Gloria Gery one of the greats in the business.
Short for electronic mail. The process of one user employing a computer to send a text message to
an electronic mailbox to be retrieved and viewed by another user. Also, the message itself. Also, the
most popular form of Knowledge Management. Many will blast an entire distribution group with a
question, and receive a dozen excellent e-mails offering answers or help. While helpful, this unstructured form of KM does not leverage or store experts and their answers.
End-to-end Solution
Term used by e-Learning companies to describe a complete set of products and services, typically
including learning management systems, off-the-shelf content, and custom services. Don’t believe
the hype. Most companies that off everything, do not excel at anything.
Entry Behavior
The prior knowledge, skill or attitude that is a pre-requisite to a given course, or that is assumed to
be present by course designers.
See Electronic Performance Support System.
A means of connecting computers in a local area network with high-bandwidth coaxial or optical cable
connections. Sometimes called 10baseT. This is most common network in your corporate office — considered to be high bandwidth and capable of great e-learning experiences (rich video and audio, etc.).
The final step in the classic A-D-D-I-E model of Instructional System Design. The evaluation phase
involves formative evaluations, evaluations of the product during development, and a summative
evaluation, the final evaluation of the effectiveness of the training in solving the instructional problem.
Events of Instruction
The nine steps outlined by Robert Gagne that correlate to and address the conditions for effective
adult learning. In brief, each lesson should (1) capture attention, (2) inform the learner of the objective, (3) stimulate recall of prior learning, (4) present material, (5) provide guidance, (6) elicit performance, (7) provide feedback, (8) assess performance, (9) enhance retention and transfer. A great
model for instruction, again often ignored in the world of e-learning. Also, we should be wondering
what happens when we create reusable content objects launched independently from a LCMS — will
students still learn from isolated chunks, or do we need a 9-step “lesson” to be the smallest chunk for
best learning results? Time will tell.
Expert System
An artificial intelligence program in which a decision tree is created based on an experts decision criteria. Huge potential for KM and e-learning but unfortunately provider companies are pooring all
their money into sales and marketing instead of R&D.
Explicit knowledge
Knowledge acquired in educational venues, i.e. through language; through reading. Can be contrasted with “tacit knowledge.”
An internal, private website that has restricted access to certain outside users as well. For example, an
organization may create a parts Inventory web site to support their internal manufacturing efforts, while
giving read-only access to their outside vendors who need to know when to re-supply their parts.
Face-to-Face. Example: We’re going to do some initial training F2F and then distribute CD-ROMs
for post-work.
Assisting/guiding approach (“guide-on-the-side”) to a learning situation; can be contrasted to the
directive teacher-instructor (“sage-on-the-stage”) approach. (See Inglis, Ling, & Joosten (1999) pp.
31-33). Heavily influenced by Humanistic psychology.
The politcally correct term for “instructor”, “trainer”, “teacher” or “class leader”. Assuming adult
learners actually obtain knowledge from their peers, in a classroom the instructor “facilitates” the
learning experience.
See Frequently Asked Questions.
Key element in any form of communication: the response of the receiver to the sender. (See Moore
& Kearsley (1996) pp. 119, 149 for implications in distance education. Can be positive or negative,
is used to shape behaviors, and should closely follow an action for maximum result.
File Transfer Protocol (FTP)
Generally called FTP. One method of transferring files over intranets or the Internet.
An application that isolates part of a network, like a company’s private intranet, from access to or by
other parts of the network, like the public Internet.
Formative Evaluation
An evaluation performed at a late development stage, used to revise and improve an training program before launch. Single most important step to insuring effectiveness and bug-free programs —
seldom done.
Frequently Asked Questions
Also known as FAQ. A web document made up of questions commonly asked about a particular subject or in a particular forum and the associated answers.
Full motion video
Signal which allows transmission of complete action taking place at the origination site.
Fully interactive video
(Two way interactive video) Two sites interact with audio and video as if they were co-located.
Generic (off-the-shelf) Courseware
E-Learning products developed for a broad audience, not for a specific organization. Most generic
courseware is complete junk. But hey, it’s a lot cheaper than building quality stuff that really works,
and I get to cross off another course off my quarterly to do list! That will help my performance review!
The medium of delivering static images to be interpreted by the learner visually. Compare to audio,
video, text, and animation.
A file format, and filename extension, for graphics files for display on web pages. Popular format as
it provides the best picture quality to file size tradeoff.
Graphical User Interface
A way of representing the functions, features and contents of a program to a user by way of visual
elements, such as icons, as opposed to textual elements, such as words and character strings. The
Microsoft Windows operating system is the classic example of a program with a GUI.
Pronounced “gooey”. See Graphical User Interface.
Hard Skills
As opposed to “soft skills”, this term relates to technical or IT related skills.
Physical equipment like computers, printers, and scanners. Compare to software.
HCI (Human-Computer Interaction) is the study of how people interact with computers and to what
extent computers are or are not developed for successful interaction with human beings. A significant number of major corporations and academic institutions now study HCI.
Help Desk
A team that can be contacted by end-users for assistance with hardware and software problems.
Launching any e-learning initiative should give some thought to end user support. Even well
designed programs will get 1 - 2% of the target audience needing help (e.g., “Do I really need to complete this training?”)
A high-bandwidth connection, like a cable modem, will allow transmission rates in the range of Gigabits per second and allow the use of data intensive information like video, audio and complex animation. e-learning will always be somewhat limited in quality until we all have high-bandwidth access
everywhere — see Cable Modems!
Home page
A document with an address (URL) on the world wide web maintained by a person or organization
which contains pointers to other pieces of information.
The verb describing the physical storage of a Web page or other Internet content. As in, “we are hosting our program on our in-house computers.
See Hypertext Markup Language.
Hypermedia links text, graphics, video, audio, and animation and leaves the control of navigation
through its elements in the hands of the user.
Text elements within multimedia documents, classically underlined and in colored font, that can be
clicked on by the user to follow a path to a new location in a document, supplemental material like a
graphic or another page on the net. Many so-called e-learning programs are just former word documents that have been converted into HTML with some cross links put in. Hypertext is a nice feature, but is a poor substitute for task analysis, instructional design, practice and feedback.
Hypertext Markup Language
More commonly referred to as HTML. The standard programming language for web documents
meant to be accessed by browsers.
Hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP)
The protocol used to signify an Internet site is a WWW site, i.e. HTTP is a WWW address.
A simple symbol representing a complex object, process, or function. Icon-based user interfaces
have the user click on onscreen buttons instead of typing commands.
The fourth step in the classic A-D-D-I-E model of Instructional System Design. The implementation
phase involves the delivery of the training to the intended audience and the use by that audience.
Information Architecture
The organization and categorization of online content. The rules and structure of where and how to
store content. Especially relevant for knowledge management programs and corporate intranets
where users must be able to quickly find desired information.
Instructional Designer
The person who applies instructional learning theory to the organization and design of learning programs. Many graduate programs produce these in droves, but some of the best are routinely selftaught (not to be confused with SME’s though!).
Instructional Systems Design (ISD)
Term describing the systematic use of principles of instruction to ensure that learners acquire the skills
and knowledge essential for successful completion of overtly specified performance goals.
Instructor Led Training (ILT)
Training mediated by a live instructor, such as classroom training or live classes delivered over an
web-based conference system.
Instructional television fixed service (ITFS)
Microwave-based, high-frequency television used in educational program delivery.
Integrated services digital network (ISDN)
A telecommunications standard allowing communications channels to carry voice, video, and data
Exchange of information, ideas, opinions between and among learners and teachers, usually occurring through technology with the aim of facilitating learning. A widely cited concept of interaction discriminates between learner-teacher interaction, learner-learner interaction and learner-content interaction. (See Moore and Keasley (1996) pp. 128-132)
An program feature that requires the learner to do something. Should help to maintain learner interest, provide a means of practice and reinforcement. Poor quality interactivity = clicking the right
arrow to continue and challenging true/false questions. Good interactivity = open questions, simulations, instructional games, tools and calculators. Remember, engage the mind not the mouse finger!
Interactive media
Frequency assignment that allows for a two-way interaction or exchange of information.
The modern network of tens of thousands of interlinked computers, evolved from the US government’s ARPANET project of the 1960’s. The public Internet encompasses the world wide web, the
popular multimedia portion, as well as the e-mail, FTP, gopher, and other services.
Internet-based Training
The term most commonly used in the mid 1990’s to describe web-based learning programs. Unless
you’re being intentionally retro as a fashion statement, “e-learning” is the hip term today.
Internet Explorer (IE)
The Internet Web browser developed by Microsoft, which is also the most commonly used browser
today. Typically called just “IE”. For example, “Do your students use IE or Netscape to access the
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
A company that providers Internet access and hosting services.
A network owned by an organization that functions like the public Internet but is secure from outsider access and regulated by representatives of the organization often called system administrators.
A programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that is intended to be operational on any
hardware/software system. Also, the stimulating beverage consumed in large quantities by the development team that is working late at night before the final deliverable.
Java Applet
A small program (i.e., application) written in Java. Java applets are sent from the host computer to
the end user’s computer (known as the client) and is then run (or “executed”). Warning: many organizations have a network security system known as a “firewall” that blocks Java Applets from running.
Job Aid
A tool which can exist in paper form or on the computer which provides on-the-job instruction for
a specific task.
A popular file format for photographs intended for display on web pages. The file extension is JPG.
Just In Time
Popular term to described the benefit of e-learning’s accessibility. As in, “Our sales force can access
our online, just-in-time training whenever they have a question about a product; no longer do they
have to enroll in, and wait for, a classroom training program.
Just In Time learning
“An approach to educational delivery in which small segments of learning are delivered when and
where the need arises. Not based on fully understanding, but on specific problem-solving implementations. Response to need education and training needs in a rapidly changing environment. (See
Inglis, Ling, & Joosten (1999) p. 195).
Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model refers to the four step training evaluation methodology developed by
Donald Kirkpatrick in 1975. Level 1 refers to the students to reaction to the training (derisively called
“smile sheets”). Level 2 refers to the measurement of actual learning (ie, knowledge transfer). Level
3 measures behavior change. Level four measures business results.
Knowledge transfer
Describes a view of education in which knowledge is packaged and transmitted to learners. In distance education this is manifested in very precise and careful organization of content with relatively
little emphasis on interaction except for remedial purposes, since it is assumed all that is needed is
contained in the package. (See Inglis, Ling, & Joosten (1999) p. 32).
A process that “builds on or modifies understanding, capacities, abilities, attitudes and propensities in
the individual. (See Inglis, Ling, & Joosten (1999) pp. 104-105) There are different theories about
learning, the most important being Humanistic, Behavioristic, Cognitive and Social Learning theory
and each supports a different approach to teaching and therefore to distance education.
Learning Content Management System (LCMS)
A web-based administration program that facilitates the creation, storage and delivery of unique learning objects, as well the management of students, rosters, and assessments. Hey, everybody finally figured out what LMS’ are for so we had to come up with something else complicated for the marketplace.
Learning Management System (LMS)
A program that manages the administration of training. Typically includes functionality for course
catalogs, launching courses, registering students, tracking student progress and assessments.
Learning Objective
The clear and measurable statement of the behavior that must be observed after training is concluded in order to consider the training a success. According to Robert Mager’s work, a learning objective contains a condition statement, a performance statement, and a criterion statement.
Learning Service Provider (LSP)
A third party company that hosts e-learning programs/content on it’s own servers. Clients pay to
access, or to “lease”, these programs.
Learning Style
An individual’s unique approach to learning based on strengths, weaknesses, and preferences.
Though experts do not agree how to categorize learning styles, an example of a categorization system is one that separates learners into auditory learners, visual learners, and kinesthetic learners.
Though spoken as gospel, where’s the current research that this isn’ t all bunk? Relatively stable and
developed ways in which a person perceives, behaves, and interacts in a learning environment.
A unit of learning concerned with a specific skill. This term is sometimes interchanged with the terms
section or module.
Lifelong learning
Learning throughout the lifetime with emphasis on independent study determined by contextual personal needs. (See Moore & Kearsley (1996) pp. 238-239).
A generic term that has been given to useful software programs that enable e-mail-based dissemination of topical information to subscribers. When e-mail is addressed to a listserv, it is automatically
broadcast to everyone on the list. The result is similar to a newsgroup or forum, except that the messages aretransmitted as e-mail.” (See Moore & Kearsley (1996) p. 117 and
Local Area Network (LAN)
A network of computers in a confined area, such as a room or a building. A LAN accessed with internet technologies can be considered an intranet. Typically LAN’s operate at what is considered to be
a high bandwidth speed.
The process in which a program is converted for delivery in a different country. Unlike “translation”
which connotes a simple re-writing of words, localization includes re-writing for cultural and social
differences as well. Can we say McTraining?
Procedure performed by a user to declare that a specific system or application is going to be used.
Log-in information is used by the computer to mark and track information specific to the user. It can
also be used to declare to other users that an individual is presently active on a network.
A low-bandwidth connection, like a telephone line, will allow transmission rates in the range of kilobits per second and restrict the use of data intensive information like video and photo quality graphics. If you’ve got a low bandwidth connection, don’t even try to do audio and video — the marketing
hype outpaces the R&D reality for now.
Microsoft’s commercial implementation of e-learning standards to identify, catalog, launch, and track
course objects. Based on the IMS standards. Even though Microsoft typically dominates anything
they get involved in, they’re currently asleep behind the wheel of this one. SCORM is where it’s at.
Stands for “mobile learning” and refers to the usage of training programs on wireless devices like cell
phones, PDAs, or other such devices. As if we’ve already figured out how to effectivelly use our normal computer devices for learning. m-learning will happen, but not for awhile.
Mastery Learning
Also known as criterion referenced instruction, in which students are evaluated as having “mastered”
or “not mastered” specific criteria or learning objectives.
Messages that are distributed through the technologies, principally text in books, study guides and
computer networks; sound in audio-tapes and broadcast: pictures in videotapes and broadcast; text,
sound and/or pictures in a teleconference.
Self-awareness of how you personally learn, leading to the ability to apply strategies to improve
Meta Data
Information that provides macro-level details about a course object, such as author, title, subject, date
created, etc. Typically meta data is recorded in XML files and are read by LMS and LCMS systems.
The combination of different delivery media like books, audiotapes, videotapes and computer programs in one curriculum. Not to be confused with multimedia, where different media are integrated
into one product. See blended learning.
A representation of an object, process, behavior or attitude used by a learner for comparison/contrast and duplication/avoidance. Both positive and negative examples can serve as models.
The activity of recreating the functions and aspects of a model. When a novice sales person watches
an expert make a sales call, and then mimics the expert’s tone and wording, he or she is exhibiting a
modeling process.
A piece of hardware used by computers to transfer and receive information. The term is taken from
the full title MOdulator-DEModulator.
Breaking ideas and information up into small “chunks” or distinct instructional components. (See
Moore & Kearsley, 1996, p. 80 for implications in distance education).
A file format digitized video. Largely being replaced “RealVideo” and the Microsoft Media Player.
The integration of different media, including text, graphics, audio, video and animation, in one program. Also referred to as new media.
Multi-point control unit (MCU)
Computerized switching system which allows point-to-multipoint videoconferencing.
Needs assessment
Process aimed at identifying priorities for the cost-effective allocation of resources. A needs assessment might precede the decision to establish a distance education organization; at another level it
would precede the decision of which courses to offer. Needs assessment is an on-going process, taking into account the results of formative and summative evaluation.
Negative Reinforcement
Encouraging a correct behavior by punishing any behaviors other than it. An example is putting a
child into “time out” after she throws a tantrum. According to most adult learning research negative
reinforcement is not recommended for most adult learning situations. Why not? A set of electrodes
pluged into the serial port of my computer would have me trying extra hard at test time!
Stands for “Internet etiquette”. Refers to the commonly accepted rules of behavior and communication in e-mails, chat rooms, bulletin boards, etc. For example, proper netiquette is to not use ALL
CAPITAL LETTERS in messages because this is the equivalent of shouting. GOT IT?!
A collection of computers that can exchange information and share resources.
An electronic bulletin board reserved for discussion of a specific topic.
A statement describing aims in specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timed ways. A good
learning objective contains one action, the conditions under which the action should be performed
and a criterion for its evaluation. While developed by Behavioristic psychologists, learning objectives
can be a valuable tool in distance teaching that follows other learning theories.
ODL (Open Distance learning)
Do not means that all distance - learning couses have to be open. To be open means that it is under
special and very flexible conditions for a students (fee entance to the each study program, free choice
of subjects, free choice for time of study, free choice fo study group etc.) To be open is to be under
the general umbrella which gives flexibility to the distance education, which we understand as a
methodology. So to be open depend on type of educational institution and on the type of the study
programme other wise could be anarchy.
Operation of a computer while not connected to a network.
Operation of a computer while connected to a network.
Open education
An imprecisely defined term often used synonymously with distance education and popular in countries that have traditionally had a very closed and elitist higher education system, to indicate relative
freedom of access and choice of routes to course completion. Education that is not place-bound;
occurring in student’s environment. (See Moore & Kearsley, 1996, p. 242).
Open learning
Used synonymously with “open education” to emphasize systems of education which allow entry
into the system without consideration of prior educational experiences. Also, describes a model of
distance education developed by Kember which considers the influences of social and academic factors on learning outcomes. (See Moore & Kearsley (1996) p. 209-210).
Operating System
A computer program that controls the components of a computer system and facilitates the operation of applications. Windows Me, Windows XP, Linux, and MacOS are common operating systems.
Paradigms of education
“A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for
the community that shares them.” See In
education, paradigms are coherent sets of views about the nature of knowledge, thus of learning, and
thus of the role of the teacher; distance education is different in a paradigm that assumes objectivity
of information controlled by the teacher that assumes the personal creation of knowledge and a facilitative role for the teacher. Paradigms, or systems, of education are influenced by current values and
responses to cultural circumstances. Within distance education, the paradigm has shifted away from
the traditional educational paradigm, which was institution-centered, rigidly scheduled, and traditional-aged student-centered. (See Inglis, Ling, & Joosten (1999) p. 18).
PDF (Portable Document Format)
Refers to the Adobe Acrobat file format for online documents.
Opposite of andragogy. The art and science of how children learn.
One of the three required parts of a properly composed learning objective. Observable and measurable actions that should be demonstrated by the learner after the completion of training are detailed
in the performance statement.
Performance Objective
The performance capability the learner should acquire by completing a given training course.
Synonymous with learning objective.
Performance-based Instruction
Learning activities centered on the acquisition of skills more fundamentally than knowledge. Performance-based instruction, also called criterion-referenced instruction, relies on learning objectives to
communicate what is expected to be achieved and evaluation of task completion to determine success.
Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
A small, handheld computer currently limited in functionality (e.g., calendar, rolodex, to do list).
PDA’s are expanding in their capabilities to include wireless e-mail and Internet access, thus opening
opportunities for mobile learning and support (m-learning).
Pilot Test
Also known as an Alpha test or formative evaluation. A version of the training program is delivered
to a sub-set of the target audience for an evaluation of its instructional effectiveness. Also known as
a very simple step to help avoid disaster, which is forgotten on the majority of projects.
Term created by joining the words picture and cell, a pixel is the basic unit of measurement for picture displays. Computer screen size is often measured in pixels, with 640x480 and 800x600 being
common measurements.
A small piece of software that works in conjunction with a web browsers to add additional functionality, like streaming audio or video.
Point of presence (POP)
Point of connection between an interexchange carrier and a local carrier to pass communications into
the network.
Positive Reinforcement
Encouraging a behavior by rewarding that behavior after it is exhibited. An example is buying a child
a toy after they do well on a test. An example in adult education is congratulating a learner after a
question is answered correctly, or providing a completion diploma upon course completion. As my
Dad used to say, “I ain’t going to give you a reward for doing something you should be doing anyway!”
A basic requirement or step in a process that must be fulfilled before moving on to an advanced step.
Being able to stand is a prerequisite to being able to walk. In computer training, using the mouse is a
prerequisite to using a graphical user interface.
The chip or chip set that performs the operations central to a computer’s functioning.
A detailed set of instructions that make a computer able to perform some function. A program can
be written by the user but the term is commonly used to refer to a specific pre-created software package, such as a word processor or spreadsheet.
Programmer Ready Materials (PRM)
The individual components that are ready for assembly by a programmer or multimedia developer.
Typically, PRMs include scripts, graphics, audio and video files. This is geek-speak, nobody uses this
term anymore.
A formal set of standards, rules, or formats for exchanging data that assures uniformity between
computers and applications.
A working model created to demonstrate crucial aspects of a program without creating a fully detailed
program. Adding details and content incrementally to advancing stages of prototypes is one process
for creating successful applications.
Instantaneous response to external events. A real time simulation, like a driving simulator, follows
the pace of events in reality.
Request for Proposal (RFP)
The official document produced by an organization that requests vendor bids for specific products
and services. Also, the tool that many power-wielding, sadistic training managers use to inflict needless pain on naive, desperate vendors.
To revise pre-existing training material for a different delivery format. For example, instructor guides
and student manuals are often repurposed into web-based training.
Reusable Learning Object (RLO)
A specific chunk of content and code that represents an assessment, exercise, instructional content,
etc. In theory, RLO’s can be used in many different courses. Like the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and the
famed jackalope, RLO’s are frequently discussed and seldom ever seen.
Acronym for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. SCORM is a series of e-learning standards
that specify ways to catalog, launch and track course objects. The latest standards fad, but this time it
might actually stick.
Search Engine
The two types of search engines, the catalog and the crawler, both locate requested information on
a web site or on the whole of the World Wide Web. A catalog engine compares the user request with
a collection of data that it contains concerning web sites. A crawler engine scours the contents of sites
themselves to find a match to a word or string of words.
A division of training concerned with one topic. Several sections commonly make up a lesson, but
the term is sometimes used interchangeably with the term lesson or module. Self-paced Instruction
Any instruction where the learner dictates the speed of progress through content.
Self-paced instruction
Training the enables learners to complete instructional segments on their own, without the guidance
of an instructor.
Serial line internet protocol (SLIP)
Allows a user to connect to the Internet directly over a high speed modem.
A networked computer that is shared by many other computers on the network. Intranets use servers
to hold, or “host”, web pages.
“An internal review by which an organization assesses its own processes and performance against given
criteria.” (See Inglis, Ling, & Joosten (1999) p. 201) Also a process within a distance learning course by
which learners are assisted in checking their own progress towards achieving course objectives.
Self-directed learning
The ability to exercise “learner autonomy.” No one is autonomous at all times or able to be fully selfdirected as a learner at all times, but the development of these capacities is the aim of many educational philosophies. The teacher aims to transfer to the learner the skills associated with teaching, i.e.,
to decide what ought to be learned, the most effective means of learning it, and to know realistically
and correctly when the learning has been achieved. (See Moore & Kearsley (1996) p. 119-120).
A mode of instruction that relies on a representation in realistic form of the relevant aspects of a
device, process, or situation.
Programs that allow a user to complete tasks with computers, such as word processing and graphics
programs. Compare to application.
Soft Skills
The informal term for non-IT related business skills. Examples include leadership, listening, negotiation, conflic management, etc.
A collection of frames created by a developer that detail the sequence of scenes that will be represented to the user; a visual script.
Subject Matter Expert (SME)
The member of a project team who is most knowledgeable about the content being instructed upon.
Frequently, the SME is an expert contracted or assigned by an organization to consult on the training being created.
Subordinate Objective
An task or objective that must first be mastered in order to complete a terminal objective.
Summative Evaluation
An evaluation performed after development used to measure the efficacy and return-on-investment
of a training program.
Communication in which interaction between participants is simultaneous.
Synchronous Training/Learning
A training program in which the student and instructor participate at the same time. For example, an
instructor-led chat session is a form of synchronous training. Common examples today include the
use of products from Centra, Interwise, or others that enable web-casts of live events.
Tacit knowledge
“Knowledge which we acquire through our experience of acting in the world. Not book knowledge
acquired through formal education.” Can be contrasted with “explicit knowledge.” (See Inglis, Ling,
& Joosten (1999) p. 29).
Target Population
The audience defined in age, background, ability, and preferences, among other things, for which a
given course of instruction is intended.
Task Analysis
A process of examining a given job to define the discrete steps (tasks) that insure effective and efficient performance of the job’s requirements.
Acronym for Technology-based Learning. Synonymous with TBT, or Technology-based Training.
Just say e-learning.
Transmission control protocol/ Internet protocol. The set of rules and formats used when transmitting data between servers and clients over the Internet.
Technology-based Training (TBT)
The term encompassing all uses of a computer in support of learning, including but not limited to
tutorials, simulations, collaborative learning environments, and performance support tools.
Synonyms include CBL (computer-based learning), TBL (technology-based learning), CBE (computer-based education), CBT (computer-based training), e-learning, and any number of other variations.
The science of information transport using wire, radio, optical, or electromagnetic channels to transmit receive signals for voice or data communications using electrical means.
Two way electronic communication between two or more groups in separate locations via audio,
video, and/or computer systems.
Terminal Objective
A learning objective the student should be able to master after completing a specific lesson or part of
a lesson.
The medium of delivering information via words to be read and interpreted by the learner. Compare
to audio, video, graphic, and animation.
“Way of understanding how the world works.” (See Inglis, Ling, & Joosten (1999) pp. 28-29) A summary of what is known, providing the basis for research into what is unknown.
A mode of instruction that presents content, checks understanding or performance, and continues on
to the next relevant selection of content. Tutorials may be linear or branched.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL)
More commonly referred to as URL. The standard address for a web page on the Internet or on an
An evaluation and measurement of a computer program’s overall ease-of-use.
User Interface
The components of a computer system employed by a user to communicate with the computer.
These include the equipment, such as a keyboard or mouse, and the software environment, such as
the desktop of Windows or the program lines of DOS.
Vertical Slice
A program prototype that includes the development of one section, usually a complete lesson, for
the course.
The medium of delivering information created from the recording of real events to be processed
simultaneously by a learner’s eyes and ears. Compare to audio, text, graphics, and animation.
Video teleconferencing
A teleconference including two way video.
Acronym for Web-based Training. Synonomous with e-learning.
Weblog /Blog
“Blog” is short for “Web Log” and refers to short messages that are posted onto a web site by an
author. Blogs are typically informal and personal messages, almost like daily diary entries. Blogging
has caught on as a cheap form of knowledge sharing and expert communication. See for more information.
Wireless Application Protocol (WAP)
The technical specifications required to communicate and display content on wireless devices, such
as WAP-enabled cell phones. Relevant for m-learning.
World Wide Web
A graphical hypertext-based Internet tool that provides access to homepages created by individuals,
businesses, and other organizations. The most popular component of the Internet which can be
accessed with browser software. Offers interconnected screens containing text, graphics and occasionally other types of media.
This guide was produced during an e-learning course which provided researcher at Technical university
in Zvolen during her stay in Athens.
Researcher Alena Ilavska
ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
CURRENT SITUATION ASSESSMENT AND OUTLINE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
CURRENT SITUATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
HYPOTHESIS FOR THE PROJECT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
METHODOLOGY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
MATURITY AS A FIRST STEP FOR SOCIAL INCLUSION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
The e-mature system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Social inclusion through the maturity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Disparities observed in access and use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
Social e-learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
Conclusion: social Inclusion in the European knowledge society . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Measures of Implementation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
E-ducation — Virtual University System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27
Description of the system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
Form of providing the system . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
E-ducation verzus MOODLE (ASP verzus Open Source) — comparison of the systems . . . . . . . . . .29
Principle of e-ducation system functioning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30
Conclusion and Recommendation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31
References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32
Sources: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32
INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Learning theories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Behaviourism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
Cognitivism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
Constructivism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
Didactical advantages and disadvantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Advantages of e-learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Benefits for the learner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
Benefits for the teacher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
Economic benefits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
Disadvantages of e-learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
Traditional vs. virtual interaction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
New demands on teachers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
The implications of new technology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
Materials and tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Text editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
HTML editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
Authoring application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Image editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Audio editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Animation/simulation editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
Video editor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
Screen capturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
Flowcharts tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Mindmap tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Communication tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51
Translation application . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
E-learning platforms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
e-learning features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54
Planning of an e-learning course (T. Horeva) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
1. Definition of target group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
2. Assessment of needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57
3. Definition of learning objectives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58
4. Selection of content . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58
5. Selection of didactical approaches and scenarios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
6. Selection of platform or features of given platform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59
7. Production of structure, material and timetable . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60
8. Course evaluation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
CRITERIA FOR EVALUATING E-LEARNING PRODUCTS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Content related aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Communication and Collaboration related aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Didactical aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Technical aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
Cost-effectiveness/value related aspects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63
GLOSSARY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .65