Grant programs at the state level that utilize or create information systems such as the e-learning program in Massachusetts can have significant impacts on local school district policies and on instruction in the local school. This work will describe the possible positive and negative impacts of curriculum sharing and students learning. This work will further state why the impact, whether positive or negative are possible.
The work of Bedi and Lange (2007) state that e-learning “has created a paradigm shift in education and in particular in the way knowledge is created. Moreover, the education can be arranged to form learning communities of geographically dispersed learners throughout the world.” Bedi and Lange relate that one of the strongest advantages of online distance education is “…the opportunity of sharing information, discussions and insights.” (Alessi & Trollip, 2001; as cited in Bedi and Lange, 2007)
MORE TIME REQUIRED in ORGANIZATION
It is possible that teachers perceive negatively the requirement in online learning of learning a new tool and the requirement of spending: “…significantly more time on organization, preparation, and teaching and monitoring the class compared with traditional classes.” (Bedi and Lange, 2007) Positive impacts of e-learning include student satisfaction and students retention as Deden (2005) has reported a 7.76% improvement “in student retention after one year through a number of measures including the quality of instructor’s online interaction with students.” (Bedi and Lange, 2007)
The work of Abrami et al. entitled “A Review of e-Learning in Canada: A Rough Sketch of the Evidence, Gaps and Promising Directions” state that findings from case study evidence include the implications as follows for K-12 practitioners:
When implemented appropriate, technology tools are beneficial to students’ learning, and may facilitate the development of higher order thinking skills;
Student manipulation of technology in achieving the goals of education is preferable to teacher manipulation of technology;
Teachers need to be aware of differences between instructional design for e-learning as compared to traditional face-to-face situations; and Immediate, extensive, and sustained support should be offered to teachers in order to make the best of e-learning. (Abrami, et al., 2006)
Stated as implications for Post-Secondary educators are those as follows:
Some educators suggest that e-learning has the potential to transform learning, but there is limited empirical research to assess the benefits.
Post-secondary education would benefit from a Pan-Canadian plan to assess the impact of e-learning initiatives.
It is important that instructional design match the goals and potential of e-learning.
Research is needed to determine the feasibility and effectiveness of such things as learning objects and multimedia applications.
Properly implemented computer mediated communication can enrich the learning environment; help reduce low motivation and feelings of isolation in distance learners.
E-learning appears to be more effective in distance education, where technology use is required than in face-to-face instructional settings. (Abrami, et al., 2006)
Implications for policymakers include the “effective and efficient implementation of e-learning technologies represents new, and difficult challenges to practitioners, researchers, and policymakers.” (Abrami, et al., 2006) it will be further necessary that administrators of schools “balance the needs of all stakeholders, and the cost-benefit ratios of technology tools” not only in making decisions as to what technologies should be used but as well as to when and how the new technologies should be implemented. Moreover, the school administrator must make sure that teachers are “…equipped for optimal pedagogical use of new methods” through proper education, development and training.
SUMMARY and CONCLUSION
The positive impacts, or alternatively the negative impacts, realized through e-learning initiatives is greatly reliant upon the proper education, development and training of teachers as well as making sure that the right technologies are implemented in the right way and at the right time. Administrators, educators and policymakers must work in close collaboration toward this end to ensure that e-learning has a positive impact upon not only the pedagogy of teachers but also upon the learning of students.
Bedi, K and Lange L (2007) the Impact of Faculty Interaction on E-Learning at U21 Global – Some Preliminary Evidence. U21Global Graduate School for Global Leaders. March, 2007. Online available at http://www.u21global.com/PartnerAdmin/ViewContent?module=DOCUMENTLIBRARY&oid=157372
Abrami, Philip C. et al. (2006) a Review of e-Learning in Canada: A Rough Sketch of the Evidence, Gaps and Promising Directions. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology Vol. 32(3) Fall. 2006. Online available at http://www.cjlt.ca/content/vol32.3/abrami.html
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