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EDUCATION | The Role of e-Learning in Self-directed Learning

  • Written by Davia D. Ramgeet, Ed.D
  • Published in Opinion
MANDEVILLE,  Manchester, April 10, 2021 -  eLearning may be seen as a community of interdependent tools, mechanisms and space provided in a learning environment that would aid learners achieve their learning objectives. This self-sustaining mechanism has evolved over time and is now predominantly interactive with a multiplicity of variations. 
Dr. davia ramjeet 350
Dr. Davia Ramgeet is principal of Knox Community College

eLearning became a buzz in Jamaica almost a decade ago, and the government of Jamaica at that time, aggressively entered this platform by ensuring internet service availability to most schools.

Where possible, teachers were trained in the use of basic access and interactions of computers (desktops and laptops) and their soft wares.

Finally, the revision of the public school curriculum to emphasize a student-centered approach which involved not just using technology to present content but rather to use the technology to engage students in practice. This propelled the Tablets in Schools project in 2014 which is part of a larger picture of our 2030 Vision for the country.

In retrospect, we have made some strides but are way behind in the practical sense, primarily due to lack of resources. Some of these resources are as basic as consistent and stable electricity and internet (high speed fiber optics) in schools.

Further, our culture, similar to others in first world countries, depending on geographical location and vision of the government, tend to accept face to face delivery of content (knowledge and skills) as the “gold standard” of teaching and learning.

Whilst those of us lifelong learners are exposed and continue to engage actively in this global phenomenon, we are forced to live within our limitations based on our realities in the schools or institutions we lead and or teach. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, I began rethinking my original worldview of the theory that is responsible for initiating and bolstering the eLearning paradigm. 

Connectivism

I came across Connectivism a few years ago when I read an article that linked connectivism to Facebook (one of the most popular social networking sites in the world). Essentially, connectivism endorses complex thinking, promotes sharing, as well as connects learning with digital technology.

This caused me to dive deep into my imagination to purport my predictions for connectivism and its evolution. So, I have listed below some aspects of eLearning that I believe will remain constant five years from now and aspects that will change or be trending may be, but not limited to the following:

Constant (Higher Education predictions)

  1. Fast-paced evolution of electronic and mobile learning
  2. Improvements in access to devices that impacts learning
  3. Less human interaction and or socialization (physical contact)
  4. Increase dominance of artificial intelligence and virtual reality
  5. A blended approach in delivering content being the “traditional” means of teaching and learning in physical classrooms
  6. Steady increase in online learning platforms (MOOCs)
  7. Promotion of gamification for adult learners

Change (Higher Education predictions)

  1. Traditional credit system in higher education to Continuing Education (CE) using credit-hours in cryptocurrencies
  2. Value-based accreditation (deflation of the price of CE credit).

Essentially, from my personal Jamaican educator/leadership perspective, my imagination is always a preview of coming attractions, similar to Einstein’s quote. In the grand scheme of things, I see technology as the ideological hegemony of modern society.

Albeit higher education, business, or even the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, I am now reimagining how eLearning and or m-Learning (micro-learning) is shaping or can shape the very core of how we view the social paradigm with technology being the dominant paradigm. In the ecosystem, I am a catalyst. I evaluate economy versus effectiveness; virtual versus what is real; anonymity versus being personally committed in the eLearning space.

eLearning and Self-directed Learning

Our platform perspective may be rooted in a constructivism approach where people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. It can also be a perspective where learning and knowledge rest in diversity of opinion. 

To apply these theories, we must ask questions, explore ideas, and assess what we know and network or integrate them to shape our local realities and context. Technology can and should allow people to learn on demand as it has redefined the learning experience (in and out of the classroom) especially by using multiple learning resources. Further, educators or users can and should understand the benefits of technology to create greater support for all learners through the use of technology.

I am for disruptive technology or disruptive eLearning! This means having the mindset to do things differently. How do we radically shift our perspectives to shape the future of learning? How can we merge the self-directing concept with the e-learning and m-learning paradigms to assist the at risk and disenfranchised youths in Jamaica? Curriculum developers are poised to integrate the theories (andragogy, constructivism, and connectivism) with our local realities through a shared vision, serious investment, and the commitment of our government for a better Jamaica land we love!

Until next time....

Davia D. Ramgeet, Ed.D.

Last modified onSaturday, 10 April 2021 21:46
  • Countries: Jamaica