E-learning can be defined as the online delivery of information. It can also be defined as integrating learning with technology (Okah, 2009; Okah, 2010). It is instruction delivered through purely digital technologies such as CD ROM, the internet and private networks (Landon and Landon, 2010). E-learning can also be defined as the online delivery of information for the purpose of education, training or knowledge management (Turban et al, 2010) or performance management (Okah et al, 2011).
Governments all over the world play a key role in developing, funding and regulating ICT infrastructure as well as promoting internet connectivity. It can be deduced that ICTs are essential for contemporary educational development of any nation.
In recent time, nearly everyone in the industrialized nations has gained access to ICT, and is computer literate. Furthermore, the continuous advances in information technology have enabled the realization of a more distributed structure of knowledge transfer through the development of elearning. The developing countries have embraced ICT and consequently e-learning so as to keep pace with unimaginable speed in the area of technology. The use of ICTs in Nigeria and African countries generally is increasing and dramatically growing.
Since e-learning systems allow students to take courses at their own time and pace, it is more convenient than their in-person counterparts. Turban et al. (2010) connotes the flexibility of e-learning stating that students can even refer back to previous lectures without affecting the learning pace of other students. Forums and communities built around the massive online open courses (MOOC) add to the usability of these e-learning programs (UNESCO and COL, 2012).
The most common challenges of implementing e-learning with Nigerian universities are management’s attitude, erratic electricity supply in most part of the country and non-inclusion of ICT programs in teacher’s training curricula at the basic levels of education.
Poor technical infrastructure: The technical infrastructure in developing countries is not highly developed, which means that phone-lines and Internet connections are unreliable or slow due to narrow bandwidth.
Limited expertise: There are few technical staff in most Universities to maintain the current system. Lack of, or inadequate trained personnel are a challenge to the use of ICT in higher institutions.
Financial restrictions: In developing countries the cost of ICT equipment can be a limiting factor with regards to reaching a broad target audience and making sure that everyone can afford this service. Also misappropriation of funds has added to the ongoing problem.
Internet connectivity: the cost of accessing the internet in Nigeria is still on the high side. Hence, some students find it a challenge to afford. However, the government should make Internet connectivity a priority for higher education to be able to leverage on the promises and opportunities ICTs present.
Generally there is still a lack of awareness amongst the population, especially parents, of the effectiveness of e-learning. Many parents still feel that the traditional learning mode is better. Considering this, most e-learning facilities are functional at most Nigerian universities, but inadequate because of the high population of students in our federal and state universities but most of the private universities have managed to implement e-learning to an adequate level which is commendable with the Nigerian education management. According to the responses, poor power supply.
Article by: Busayo Tomoh