E-Learning Challenges from ELT 7001 at NCU - Principles and Practices in E-Learning


The rapid emergence of e-learning changed the world of education. Online universities and educational opportunities now exist to serve learners yet there still remain educational institutions that hold true to the traditional classroom approach to learning. The world of education is changing and now more than ever it is essential for today’s workforce to be highly educated and be able to continually improve their skills by engaging in lifelong learning opportunities (Hrastinski, 2008). Adapting to a new learning paradigm is a major shift for educational institutions and change does not always come easy. To develop an e-learning program designed to better meet the needs of today’s learner takes time and careful planning given the significant changes which are inherent to an e-learning environment compared to traditional classroom learning (Hrastinski, 2008).

The ability to make major changes within any organization is a challenge even when the value that results from the change is clearly communicated and demonstrated to all stakeholders. “Everyone knows that not all change is good or even necessary. But in a world that is constantly changing, it is to our advantage to learn how to adapt and enjoy something better” (Johnson, 2002, pg. 18). A major challenge faced by educational institutions is to understand why some faculty and staff as well as other stakeholders are not ready to accept e-learning as a viable learning opportunity. An initial step to facilitate change at this level is to conduct an e-learning readiness assessment focused on the attitudes and willingness to try a new learning approach and begin to understand why people are resistant to e-learning (Rosenberg, 2000).

Change is not always welcome for fear of the unknown or lack of understanding. A comprehensive readiness assessment designed to determine the skills and knowledge of faculty and staff to successfully engage in e-learning is one strategy to meet challenges from faculty and staff who lack the necessary workplace technology skills. “Remember that you are radically changing the work environment as well as the learning environment” (Rosenberg, 2000, p. 201). Adequate and sustainable resources are also challenges faced by organizations as e-learning programs are developed. Integration of technology into the learning environment is essential at all levels and this requires adequate hardware and software to support current e-learning initiatives as well as future endeavors. Resources to properly train faculty and staff must be allocated to all areas of the organization along with ongoing training opportunities and adequate funding that will be needed to keep pace with the rapid change of technology used within e-learning programs.

It is up to the leaders of an organization to create an environment for change and to build a sustainable e-learning program through goals that enable an organization to maintain the program over the long haul (Rosenberg, 2000).

References:

Hrastinski, S. (2008, October - December). Asynchronous and synchronous e-learning: A study of asynchronous and synchronous e-learning methods discovered that each supports different purposes. Educause Quarterly, 31(4). Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/EDUCAUSEQuarterlyMagazineVolum/AsynchronousandSynchronousELea/163445

Johnson, S. (2002). Who moved my cheese? New York, NY: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Rosenberg, M. (2000). E-learning: Strategies for delivery knowledge in the digital age. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.