Building in e-learning

What is important to the successful adoption of e-learning is understanding how practice involving the use of learning technologies can enhance the development of learning activities and how e-learning can be effectively integrated alongside established practice, to ensure that, whatever the approach and the intended learning outcomes, the learning potential of all learners is maximised.

As a starting point, judgements about effective practice with e-learning can be based on the same criteria as judgements about effective practice in learning generally – that the practice should:

  • engage learners in the learning process
  • encourage independent learning skills
  • develop learners’ skills and knowledge
  • motivate further learning

And in the broadest sense, effective learning is likely to occur when opportunities to learn involve:

  • the right resources
  • the right mode (or blend of modes) of delivery
  • the right context
  • the right learners
  • the right level of support

Bringing about effective learning, however, is a complex and creative process which involves identifying objectives, recognising the needs of the learners, selecting the most suitable approach, and then striking an appropriate balance between e-learning and other modes of delivery when working within a technology-rich context (one in which practitioners can choose between e-learning and traditional options).

Furthermore, learning takes place in a social and curricular as well as physical context. The individual’s relationship with the group or groups that surround the learning activities will also partly define the learning outcomes. The curricular context may also influence the process by suggesting a particular pedagogical approach which in turn must be matched to learners, the resources available in the learning environment and the intended outcomes. In this guide, this complex process on which the art of the practitioner depends has been termed 'designing for learning'.


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