More universities are integrating e-learning and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) tools with their curriculum. Despite the lasting association of traditional teaching methods with colleges and universities, the change switch e-learning and ICT based teaching has been rapid. E-learning and ICT based teaching has experienced tremendous growth in the education industry.
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Even though e-learning and ICT based teaching approaches will offer a more flexible and apparently convenient method of teaching, the speed at which the trend has been embraced across the education industry calls for a deeper investigation of the benefits of integrating e-learning and ICT based teaching with academic curricula.
This research is influenced by the need to understand the influence of other contributing factors on the acceptance of e-learning and ICT based teaching methods.
The aim of this research is to identify the factors influencing the increasing acceptance of e-learning and ICT based teaching. The proposed study will try to respond find out why more universities are switching to e-learning. A response to this question will be developed by integrating data from primary and secondary sources. The secondary data will be derived through a literature review.
The literature review will focus on previous studies that focus on the rationale behind the integration of ICT tools in the education industry. The primary data will be derived from interview sessions with members of academic institutions (school administrators) to identify their perception of the rationality of including ICT tools in education. The conclusion section of this study presents the expected contribution of this research.
Various studies have analysed the advantages of e-learning. One important advantage of e-learning is that it helps students to access digital information successfully and efficiently.
E-learning has served as a tool for learners to identify learning subjects, resolve problems, and proffer answers to problems in the learning procedure (Glazewski & Hew, 2008). E-Learning increases the ease with which knowledge is acquired, while involving learners in the use of ICT.
Research has shown that self-learning has a positive impact on students’ academic and professional performance (Wells, 2007). E-learning supports self-directed and student-cantered learning because it increases students’ engagement in the practical application of computers (Castro Sanchez & Aleman, 2011).
Students are able to develop new knowledge by retrieving, choosing, establishing, and understanding data and information. E-learning increases students’ ability to obtain data from different sources and critically access the quality of the vast learning resources available.
Students’ productivity has also been associated with their learning environment (Harnish & Reeves, 2000). ICT tools contribute to creating a conducive and imaginative learning environment for students. The use of ICT enhances students’ creative understanding in the different aspects of learning (Chai, Koh, & Tsai, 2010). For instance, e-books are more common is reading classes.
Students can retrieve all forms of texts throughout their course program through laptops, tablets, computers, PDAs, etc. E-books also come with come with software that offer a reading-out system, applicable vocabulary-development exercises, games associated with reading skills and vocabulary gaining, etc. Thus, ICT comprises of developed software that offer creative ways to satisfy various ranges of students’ learning requirements.
Another important factor influencing the use of e-learning and ICT in education is the contribution of ICT to promote distance-learning. ICT allows students to interact, share, and collaborate from any location, at all times (Koc, 2005).
For example, a virtual teaching space may invite learners from all over the world to come together at the same time to analyse a topic. The students may be able to analyse issues and identify ideas and also develop theories. The students may also assess ICT learning results. Learners gain knowledge and share their individual learning experiences with each other.
Integrating e-learning and ICT tools with the learning environment also offers students the ability to think more critically. ICT learning systems are built through a constructive learning method and they help students to concentrate on higher-level ideas instead of less complex activities (Levin & Wadmany, 2006).
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A research study found a statistically significant relationship between e-learning and the acquisition of critical thinking abilities (McMahon, 2009). This implies that the length of students’ exposure to e-learning activities increases their critical thinking skills. Therefore, academic institutions are advised to include technology in every aspect of learning.
E-learning has a positive influence on learning and teaching. Students’ creativity, independence, and skill are three features that influence the quality of the e-learning and ICT based teaching (Lowther, Inan, Strahl, & Ross, 2008). Independence means that learners are in charge of their learning.
Through this, learners are more able to work alone and with their peers. Instructors may also allow students to perform some exercises in groups or with peers. The collaborative learning environment offered by e-learning increases learners’ confidence because it drives them to learn on their own.
ICT settings also enable autonomy by helping educators to compose teaching material, therefore offering more control over the module contents than in a conventional classroom environment (Serhan, 2009). In terms of capability, immediately learners gain more confidence in learning procedures, they are able to grow the ability to utilise and share knowledge while applying new skills with effectiveness and competence.
For instance, in a speaking and listening module, students can be instructed to learn their articulation through an internet-based audio wordlist. This exposes students to both oral and written skills. The students will submit a copy of their exercise session to their instructor. Before leaners complete the tasks, they will need to identify the best browser to use, and also choose an internet-based audio wordlist.
This will drive learners to browse through numerous online wordlists. The task will also improve students’ computer skills since they will need to search for appropriate audio recording software.
Thus, the entire learning procedure increases students’ learning abilities and widens their understanding beyond the knowledge they already have. Students can maximise their creativity through e-learning. To achieve this, students must be able to identify new multimedia systems and generate resources in the designs readily accessible through TV, CDs, and games (Gee, 2011).
Another reason for the growth of e-learning in education is that e-learning enhances teaching by enabling access to module contents. Teachers may catalyse the inclusion of e-learning in school curricula (Watts-Taffe, Gwinn, & Horn, 2003). If the facilities and required technological assistance are accessible to instructors, creating an e-learning environment becomes easy for them.
The major responsibility of these instructors will be modifying the lesson format, developing and defining the projects, and organising the computer laboratory through their e-learning experts or supporters. In summary, ICT provides learners more opportunity to explore outside the traditional scope of the module enabling them to better understand ideas (Reid, 2002). The application of e-learning also alters teacher-learner interaction.
Research indicates that the relationship between students and teachers in the e-learning environment may be reversed since learners may have a better knowledge of ICT than instructors (Reid, 2002).
This interaction has a positive effect on learners’ confidence because they may assist instructors during lectures. Thus, e-learning changes the conventional teacher centred teaching method, and requires instructors to be more imaginative in modifying and adjusting course content.
Although e-learning has a positive effect on the education industry, existing literature also indicates some obstacles to its success. While the aim of this research is to identify the reason for the growth of e-learning in education, it is important to acknowledge the presence of obstacles.
The obstacles mitigating the growth of e-learning in education are identified from the standpoint of learners, instructors, school managers, and ICT systems (Fu, 2013). The next section of this paper describes the method used to obtain primary data regarding the use of e-learning in the education industry.
This research applies a qualitative research approach. Qualitative data are non-statistical data that are analysed basically through content and textual analyses (Bordens & Abbott, 2004).
The primary data for this research will be gathered by directly interviewing school administrators, students, and ICT companies in the current locality. The interview questions will be open-ended and will be composed during the discussion sessions with the participants.
Data Collection Method
The interview session will be recorded using an audio recording device, which will be subsequently transcribed to textual data. All textual data will be analysed and keywords will be selected. The keywords will be coded and the frequency of these words will be analysed using SPSS. The questions will explore the participants’ perception of e-learning and the possible factors that encourage and/or prevent the growth of e-learning.
The aim of the proposed research is to investigate the role of e-learning in the education industry. The research will identify the factors responsible for the growth of e-learning in the education industry. From the literature review, it is obvious that the growth of e-learning is due to the advantages it offers.
The literature review does not fail to point out that some obstacles still hinder the growth of e-learning. The primary data will focus on identifying stakeholders’ perspective of the importance of e-learning in the education industry, and the factors encouraging and/or discouraging the growth of e-learning and ICT based teaching.
The results of this study will contribute to both academia and the ICT industry. School administrators can use the findings of the proposed research to identify the best rollout strategy for e-learning. Stakeholders in the ICT industry can also consider the results of this research in developing e-learning tools in the future.
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