Transforming learning systems through e-Learning
E-Learning was adopted almost seamlessly as Internet use became ubiquitous in the home, school and the workplace. E-Learning offers almost boundless possibilities, allowing students to easily draw upon a broad base of resources and overcome a variety of physical and social barriers.
However, the innovative possibilities of this medium sometimes blind us to the real and potential shortcomings associated with its rapid, even abrupt adoption. The wide and speedy adoption of e-Learning modalities was almost inevitable as the population as a whole grew more and more comfortable with computer use.
At this juncture in the development of e-learning modalities in Saudi Arabia, it is beneficial to pause and assess its uses, strengths and shortcomings. By doing so, Saudi educators and institutions have a better chance of fulfilling their potential as world leaders in the use of e-Learning technology.
In Saudi Arabia, e-Learning modalities are used at all levels of education. In primary and secondary schooling, e-learning enhances students’ experiential learning and research and increases accessibility to education for students whose geographical location or health conditions might otherwise limit their accessibility. Educators and program designers are beginning to realize how greatly the potential of e-learning surpasses that of the older correspondence course.
However, because of young students’ need for guidance and direction, a blended learning approach (comprising e-learning and traditional methods) is often a better fit.
It is in the area of adult education that e-Learning may meet its greatest transformative potential. The flexibility that e-learning offers is only part of the picture. Through e-Learning, students enjoy far greater autonomy, customized programs and the possibility of building interactive, participatory learning communities. Maximizing the potential of e-Learning will drive forward the development of learning modalities in general, which may in turn positively influence the use of e-Learning at all levels of education.
Dr. Alaa Alghamdi Assistant Professor Taibah University - Madinah
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