Sunday, May 13, 2007 Convenient? Motivating?

Most of the definitions I have come across on eLearning dwell on the use of technology to teach and learn. To many of us, the use of technology for teaching and learning would imply just our learning material and the technology, without really questioning how we can best use the technology or modify our learning materials or experiences to optimise the learning process. In our learning designs we should consider among other things our learners motivation (both to learn and use technology), their prior knowledge, and their learning preferences. In addition we need to do an evaluation of the current technologies to ensure that we are using the best and the easiest for our learners. Moreover, we need to adapt our learning materials and process to suit the our students and technology features that we have considered.

Although I have come across comments like “students are now finding eLearning convenient and fun” and lecturers are “more confidence in using technology for teaching and learning” I disagree, at least I have not seen that in the part of Africa I am in. For convenience yes, the fun bit might be coming but not here with us. Similarly, the confidence levels of the use of technology especially by the lecturers is in most cases wanting. For it to be convenient and fun for the learners, a thorough consideration should be taking on how it is employed. For the the lecturer, a complete mindset shift is required so that first, they can understand the importance, benefits and potential of eLearning, and then use it for teaching and learning. Until then, convenience, fun, and confidence will be alien terms in the use of technology for teaching and learning in Africa.

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