Much of the conventional development of a Web-based learning environments is the creation of an electronic form of the existing print-based materials. In this instance, Web-based courses tend to display limited evidence of the reason for a learning design and to a varying degrees there has been a limit in the use and opportunities the new technologies have to offer. Here, instructors will be able to understand the instructional design principles that can guide the creation of a Web-based learning materials that can help to support learner engagement and knowledge construction both online and in the classroom.
Steps In Creating Online Learning Environment
Learning resources choosing and developing of contents for flexible technology-based learning is seen by many teachers as the most important step in creating on-line learning environments. This is reflected in the materials they use because most of the learning materials are content focused which is not supposed to be. It is sometimes estimated that on-line teachers spend 90% of their planning and development creating content and on-line learning resources. However, researchers suggests that the content can, and should, assume a far lesser role in the design process. In constructivist learning environments, (Constructivism assumes that learning is made possible through the dual factors of social interaction and learner’s exposure to experiences) learners need to be exposed to content that provides them with perspectives from a multitude of sources and not just a specific source. Their learning materials need not all to be on-line, they can make use of conventional materials along with electronic sources this can help to provide the diversity often required in learning.
Previously, instructional designers created course materials where the content was rigidly organised and presented to the learners in a strict sequence. However, today it is recognized that learners need to be able to access resources in a variety of ways and the absolute strictness and rigidity of contents should be lessened.
DIGITAL EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES
The exponential growth of sophisticated communication technologies has prompted universities, companies and other educational institutions to experiment with alternatives to the traditional classroom teaching methods. Amongst the recent pressing issues relating to the phenomenon of globalization is an overwhelming call to address poverty and inequality in developing countries by facilitating the global diffusion of ICTs. The use of computers in the classroom has proven advantageous in more than one respect. It facilitates students not only in learning but also helps them in developing their ability to learn independently, manipulate information, think critically and address problems in his/her own style (Bataineh et al., 2006). E-Learning has progressed through a number of stages and transformations over the past thirty years. In the 1970s and 1980s, for example, it was referred to as Computer Assisted Learning, Computer Based Training or Technology Based Training. By the 1990s, this form of learning was beginning to be supplemented by the use of other media, particularly the introduction of e-mail, and discussion groups. Contemporary, VLEs comprise facilities for both the management of course materials and interaction with a long list of communication tools. It is growing exponentially and now includes millions of pages, sites archives, portals and databases (Gray et al., 2003).
In conclusion, despite the theoretical benefits of e-learning systems, difficulties can occur if systems are not designed in accordance with the learner attributes, for example, differences in terms of nationality, gender, and learning styles (Graff and McNorton, 2001). On the one hand, there have been huge investments by the educational sector on the establishment and maintenance of educational media for students. Psychological, social, cultural, and political dimensions of e-learning development and use must always be taken on priority and never ever ignored or skipped as irresolvable. Collaborative technologies like social software and blogging are very helpful in addressing human issues of resistance, lack of interest, etc because today not the user rather technologies can adapt according to the personal teaching and learning styles of the users in education.
Article by: Busayo Tomoh