27 Jun 2018

STUDENTS’ EXPECTATIONS AND EXPERIENCES IN E-LEARNING

The developments of e-learning have emerged from within this general interest in using ICT. E-learning can be defined as a model of learning and teaching through the internet, network or computer to meet the individual learning or institutional goals. The rapid development of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has had considerable influence on higher education. Commonly, policymakers and many researchers have advocated the use of ICT as a means of improving student learning and increasing their likelihood of employment in a world in which ICTs are embedded.

In recent times, there has been an increase in the use of ICT in higher education contexts, A range of factors including the need to develop and deliver cost-effective programs, students have varied expectations based on their individual experiences at school, Social media has changed the way that we communicate and stay informed, and mobile device technology has advanced considerably. While we cannot yet claim that every student has a Smartphone, the evidence indicates that the vast majority do. The advances in mobile technology and the new immediacy provided by social media means change for universities. To meet student expectations, however, a university needs to know first what those expectations are. One expectation seems quite basic; to have an institutional email address, and for that email to be the primary form of communication with their course and institution.

The use of online-provided learning features and tools with its 24/7 availability and the possibility to offer more features than textbooks is very popular among students. E-learning has become self-evident and it is also compulsory implemented into schools curricula. Some e-learning scenarios provide uni-directional information for online use or download (e.g. lecture notes presentations etc.). Nowadays, the provision of e-learning tools depends on an online platform where students and teachers can get access to them; A sufficient familiarity of teachers with electronic media has to be regarded as the basis of modern teaching. In order to ease the compliance of students to use digital teaching amendments, it is highly important that teachers know about potential pitfalls and students’ experiences, wishes or needs regarding the conception, design or provision of e-learning scenarios and tools.

Students appreciates the use of technology to support both formative and summative assessment, the online submission of assignments, and online grades and feedback, Using technology in this way allows learners to take control of their own learning. Online formative testing requires an initial investment from the tutor in terms of setting up the tests but once set up, students can use the tests as often as they like in order to enhance their learning with little ongoing support from their tutors. E-learning has a crucial part in students learning experience; students feel e-learning is important and beneficial. It helps them to develop the skills to enable them to work in the digital workplace, including IT skills and critical thinking skills), and how level of competence with IT can affect the overall experience: ‘It really affects your ability to participate on the course if your IT skills are limited.’ From a different angle, we acknowledged that those without basic ICT skills are increasingly disadvantaged in learning as in other areas of life. When pressed on this issue, most learners believe that the digitally disadvantaged should be supported to reach the required standard and not excluded from opportunities

The consideration of materials to be added to e-learning systems involves time and thinking similar to developing a teaching strategy to help learners understand; hence it is equally difficult for educators. In this respect, educators fail to realize how to make learners think and analyze subject matter critically, and helping them identify learning can be more than just understanding concepts. It is understandable that educators immersed in a learning culture based on traditional teaching methods may be strongly influenced to believe that the fundamental aim is for every student to learn concepts before they attempt to apply those concepts because students like their transactions with learning providers to be facilitated by digital technologies wherever possible, e.g. enrolment, registration, payment, course/module selection, access to course content and course information, day-to-day communications, access to support, submission of assignment, receiving feedback, monitoring personal progress. And students would like to carry out these transactions using (or in conjunction with) their own devices, networks and third-party services, and for the interface between personal and provider systems to be seamless. Students would also like provider systems to be easy to access, navigate and use and also like access to robust wifi and mobile networks wherever they are on provider sites and campuses.

Here is a list of top students’ expectation:

  • reliable and robust wifi
  • consistent use of Virtual Learning Environments (VLE)
  • teaching staff who are digitally-savvy
  • to easily connect devices to their school/e-learning network/platform
  • easy access to institutional devices, to use alongside their own
  • course-related information and personal updates to be available continuously via their device of choice
  • explicit instruction in using institutional systems (library catalogue, VLE, assessment system) and specialist technologies required for their course
  • to have technology incorporated into their teaching/learning in ways that are relevant to their academic success

 

 

Article by: Blessing Bassey

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