ICTs have become integrated into our consciousness so instantly, that we cannot fully absorb the full range of changes. Anyhow, for supporting the students who are facing the challenges of the twenty-first century, there is a need to transform current traditional models of education with a model that reflects the knowledge economy and the need for lifelong learning. Social, economic, and technological changes of the past decades are making education and training for all more crucial than ever but educational systems are still struggling to create educational opportunities for all by providing graduates with the necessary knowledge for working in dot.com organizations and prepare their citizens for lifelong learning.
ICTs encompass the effective use of equipment and programs to access, retrieve, convert, store, organize, manipulate and present data and information. ELearning is defined as the use of ICTs to enhance or support learning and teaching. It covers a continuum of educational technologies. At one end are the applications like MS-Word and PowerPoint with little impact on education and institution while at the other end are virtual learning environments (VLEs), which have significant impacts on learning and teaching strategies as well as the organization Broadly, educational technology refers to the supplemental use of technology in the classroom, through blended or hybrid uses comprising a mix of face-to-face and fully online instruction, to fully online synchronous and asynchronous distance learning environments delivered to remote learners.
During the past couple of decades, ICTs have been playing important roles in the innovation of education by providing more options and flexibility to the teachers and students. Furthermore, with the ‘Internet’ and related technologies available to most teachers, educational technologies become increasingly indispensable. E-Learning is the process supported by Internet, web applications, and end-user computing to connect people and information thereby creating an environment of social learning. Internet-based educational technology can contribute to substantial improvements in education. Digital content and networked applications will transform teaching and learning. The Internet is facilitating organizational learning by enabling improved forms of communication and sharing For life-long learners, the first generation Internet allowed easy access to a vast range of published materials. The second generation Internet allowed them to contribute to it.
The learning process achieved by using digitally delivered content or interaction is elearning. Mainly e-learning focuses on the use of computers whether in distance or in a classroom to deliver content to students. With the advancement in technology and the use of the World Wide Web the learning process is not only limited between a teacher and student. Learning can be achieved through reading blogs, participating in online forums, threaded email discussions, social media or through online training platforms such as the code academy. It is very common for people to use a search engine such as Google to look for information ranging from what to eat to what to wear in a particular day. People consult different blogs or online tutorials to learn about products or particular ways of doing tasks. These all are e-learning processes. Depending on the use of the source or the delivery medium, e-learning can be of different kinds:
- Purely online: no face-to-face meetings
- Blended learning: distance learning or a combination of online and face-to-face
- Synchronous: instructor led online courses
- Asynchronous: self-placed learning methods placed on the internet, network or storage devices
- Instructor-led group: distance learning where students may be from different geographical locations and learn from a single teacher
- Self-study: learning by visiting blogs, tutorials or informative websites
- Self-study with subject matter expert: learning by regularly visiting some experts blogs or up-to-date sites
- Web based: learning purely by looking up on the Internet with the use of search engines or social media groups such as Facebook
- Computer based: learning by accessing study materials from different storage devices like CD ROM or USB in the computer
- Video/audio tape: learning by accessing multimedia files through YouTube or any other video/audio sharing websites