Recently there has been a growing wave of local initiatives in support of their public schools. Teachers and communities together have been playing an active role in the innovative efforts towards new educational methods aimed at helping schools. These grass root experiments, though very effective, tend to go unnoticed in the wide scheme of the educational system. However, if the most useful and meaningful of these initiatives could be fostered and developed, they may have the possibility of transforming it.
Didactic Strategies and Technologies for Education: Incorporating Advancements aims to be a platform for the most significant educational achievements by teachers, school administrators, and local associations that have worked together in public institutions that range from primary school to the university level. This book aims to be useful for both scholars and the citizens that are involved in improving the educational system.
Pumilia-Gnarini, P.M., Favaronm, E., Pacetti, E., Bishop, J., Gurra, L. (2012). Didactic Strategies and Technologies for Education: Incorporating Advancements. IGI Global.
What do you think the European Union is? Is it an entity that exists solely to pass laws regulating the shape and size of fruit, or burden employers with endless legislation? Or is it a collection of governments, working to find areas they have in common, and improve standards across the trading block?
One area where the last of these has happened is with regards to E-learning. E-learning can be defined as any educational activity that has an electronic dimension to it, encompassing a primary school class delivered using a PowerPoint presentation teaching learners how to use desktop computer applications, like what is done at Broadclyst Primary School, to a programme delivered completely online to update workers’ skills.
According to the International Data Corporation the corporate training segment of the e-learning industry is estimated to have to increased from 234 million euros in 2000 to 11.4 billion euros in 2003, although in the European Union only about 20 percent of e-learning products are produced within the common market. In 2000 the European educational multimedia industry was undercapitalised as links between education and training systems and the industry were not strong enough to generate viable services that cater for education and training requirements.
It has been argued by the European Commission that another reason for this undercapitalisation is because much of the development of e-learning systems comes from a high number of small firms within the industry. Critics would argue that this is only a problem because of how small businesses have been burdened with increased legislation originating from the European Union, which now legislates in an increasing number of areas affecting small to medium-sized undertakings. Indeed, some now estimate that European Union Law accounts for about half of the legislation in Member States, with countries wishing to join the European Union facing around 80,000 pages of EU law to incorporate into their national legislation.
Despite the legislative burden placed on small e-learning firms, the attitude of the European Commission towards e-learning is very positive. According to one estimate, in 2001 around 50 million euros from the budget for education and training was spent on projects which could be considered as promoting e-learning, but the largest amounts have been channelled to the Structural Funds and the framework research programme.
Developments in Internet and multimedia technologies are the basic enabler of e-learning, with content, technologies and services being the three key segments of the e-learning industry, although it could be argued that there are two additional sectors, which are the consulting and support sectors.
The e-learning industry can be seen to consist of companies that provide content and technology such as Microsoft, services, such as those offered by the University of Cambridge or Brighton University, as well as undertakings that support the industry, such as marketing firms like Magicomm. These undertakings include small to medium-sized e-learning firms that produce the content and software, large software companies that provide the platform on which to run the software, manufacturing firms and their supply-chain that provide the hardware and media, telecommunications companies that provide the network infrastructure, educational establishments and training firms that provide the services as well as content, self-employed consultants who contribute to the consulting sector and technical and administrative enterprises that contribute to the support sector. These companies may offer services such as direct-to-customer marketing communications solutions, personalisation and cross media implementation and document and communications workflow consulting, such web enabled information production automation.
It has been argued that the present e-learning industry of a high number of small to medium-sized undertakings is slowing the growth of the industry and that as few e-learning companies can truly do it all they will form strategic alliances to diversify and strengthen offerings, with form such alliances will take are limited by competition law, in particular Articles 81 and 82 of the European Union treaties, soon to be Articles 101 and 102 respectively. These firms may consist of technical media specialists, digital artists, content developers and in some cases social networking analysts. The concept of free competition is a fundamental element in the EU treaties, which embraces the premise that any restriction on free competition is intrinsically reprehensible.
It could be argued that the restrictions placed on undertakings in the e-learning industry by Article (101) is forcing small to medium-sized enterprises to enter into more substantial agreements to form what are known as concentrations, through either taking over or merging with other undertakings. Some might argue that this is a good thing, as in a time of increased globalisation undertakings within the European Union need not just compete with enterprises within the union, but also compete on a global scale with undertakings in the USA, and the emerging markets in India and China for example. It could also be argued that small to medium-sized undertakings allow for a flexible and dynamic market, and that mergers impede innovation and creativity. Whichever position is right, it is certain that the e-learning industry will have to deal with mergers more often as the market develops if undertakings are to overcome the restrictions placed on them by Article (101).
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
If I was to say to you ‘E-Learning’, ‘Computer-Based Training’, or ‘Computer-Assisted Learning’, what would you think of? Maybe you’d think about people in a classroom, learning about computers. Perhaps you’d think of people in front of a computer learning using computer software. Or maybe it conjures up something completely different.
At Glamorgan Blended Learning Ltd, we see e-learning as any form of learning or instruction, enhanced by technology. So, yes, the examples I just mentioned are e-learning, as is something as simple as a lecture supported by a Powerpoint presentation for instance.
The basic enabler of e-learning is therefore, Internet and multimedia technologies. My research has found that the e-learning industry has five key sectors; consulting, content, technology, services and support.
If I was to mention the 1930s to you, you’d probably think of troubled times. Does the rise of fascism come to mind? Perhaps the Great Depression? Well, despite the negative occurrences around this time, the 1930s signalled the start of the post-industrial era. It was the dawn of technological changes that would form the post-modern learning movement leading to the eventual realisation of the e-learning industry in the twenty first century.
This post-industrial era has also encompassed the birth and realisation of three distinct global generations. These are the Baby Boom Generation, born between 1946 and 1964, Generation X, born between 1965 and 1976 and The ‘Net’ Generation, born between 1977 and 1997.
These generations’ existence globally could be put down to the impact of the Second World War, which began in 1939 and ended in 1945, the year previous to the one in which the first Baby Boomers were born. It was in 1945 that science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clark, predicted the future of satellites into space and with the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and Telstar in 1962 the first revolution in the e-learning industry occurred.
The television began to be seen as the technology that would transform learning. I remember when I was at school taking VHSs in to watch with the other pupils, and at secondary level watching the schools programmes on BBC2. Some of you may have been at school when all the politicians and academics were talking about how television was going to replace teachers and how learners would become happy absorbing all manner of
knowledge through a television set.
While it didn’t happen, this independence from authority was a key value of Generation X, which grew up with television. The television saw a surge in its usage in the United Kingdom after the creation of the Open University, which was first proposed by the British Labour Party in 1963, as a ‘University of the Air’. Coupled with the view that this form of e-learning could lead to greater social justice, the Open University meant lower income groups could access higher education through television and radio, and came into being through Harold Wilson’s Government establishing a committee after winning the election in 1964. This led to a manifesto commitment at the 1966 election to create it.
Years later, after the 1997 UK General Election, the new Labour Government, perhaps hoping to build on the success of the Open University, proposed decades earlier, commissioned a mass computer-based learning programme called, UKeU – the United Kingdom e-University. This programme used up millions of pounds of resources to produce university-level programmes, for which there ended up being only a handful of subscribers. This difficulty is common for e-learning system developers, where the amount of resources that can be used to produce the content for these information systems may be more than is feasible.
This State-imposed learning programme was conceived by the Baby Boom generation of politicians, who were unprepared for the market and consumer-led Web-based revolution. This was not so much about the delivery of e-learning, as they envisaged, but the collaborative and social aspects of learning that was advocated by Soviet educationalist Lev Vygostky, in the 1930s as it happens. The Web has however been the key component for distributing e-learning materials, taking over from the CD-ROM. While the Web has revolutionised the e-learning industry, in that content is now delivered online more so than on CD, there is further change ahead with the drive for better provision of e-learning services.
The services sector of the e-learning industry, still reliant on broadcasted teaching, is growing significantly as the demand for blended learning increases. Blended learning, as the name suggests, involves blending e-learning with traditional methods of learning and development and it is argued that it is the most logical and natural evolution of the learning agenda.
According to the International Data Corporation the corporate training segment of the e-learning industry is estimated to have increased from about €234 million in the year 2000 to €11.4 billion in 2003. However, in the European Union only about 20% of e-learning products are produced within the common market. In keeping with tonight’s theme, you may wish to know that Ireland has over 60 firms dedicated to e-learning.
While the implementation of e-learning in organisations has required a shift in perspective for some staff, there has not been a significant change in training culture, as some organisations, such as the Army, still use e-learning in a way that mirrors the existing training culture. Some e-learning experts have argued that the various models for describing online courses show that some still essentially follow a transmission model, rather than constructionist models where the learner is able to construct their own version of truth of a subject.
Values have changed within each of the generations that have existed since the 1930, and with them the approaches to e-learning also have. Whether it is the technology changing the people, or the people changing the technology, e-learning seems to be growing in effectiveness with each generation that passes. The case for e-learning as a technology that enhances learning is clear, but the shape that it will take in the future is far from certain. Will compulsory education be delivered remotely to people’s homes, with only practical sessions such as sports and lab work happening in the community? Perhaps in the future we will all be able to access e-learning anywhere, on the bus, on the train, or on the plane. Whatever happens in the future, I’m sure e-learning will be with us, and I’m sure it will be different.
An investigation into how the European Union affects the development and provision of e-learning servicesJuly 19th, 2007 by Jonathan Bishop
This dissertation focuses on the main aspects of EU law affecting the e-learning industry and of particular interest to Jonathan were competition law and intellectual property law, including copyright and third-party intellectual property rights (TPIP) issues.
Download from: This Link.
Cite as: Bishop, J. (2007). An investigation into how the European Union affects the development and provision of e-learning services. LLM Thesis. Pontypridd, UK: University of Glamorgan.
Not content to let office debates on the role of the EU in producing mountains of legislation for his company, one Ogmore employee has risen to the challenged by completing a Masters in European Union Law to assist his managers.
Jonathan Bishop, 27, who has worked at Llanharry-based Four-Sure Construction Ltd since 2004 says his LLM course has been an eye-opener into how the EU functions as a legislative and enforcement body, “I went into this course knowing that the EU contributes much of the UK’s law, but I didn’t realise how much the UK Government has to take account of EU treaties when making law until I had studied the key primary and secondary legislation as part of the course and my dissertation into EU e-learning law.”
Local MP for Ogmore Huw Irranca-Davies congratulated Jonathan on achieving his second Masters and believes like Jonathan the Wales and Britain are best served by being in the EU, “Britain is clearly better off in Europe, and that is not only because of our ability to access to the world’s largest single market, with a population that is now more than 450 million, but because we benefit from receiving the lion’s share of foreign investment.”
“It is time to move on and discover the new vision – the dream that will engage the youth and others in the European project.”
Jonathan says he will now look at his options from further progression in his workplace to becoming an elected representative, “For a long time I have wanted to represent my community at the highest level and thanks to Four-Sure I now have the knowledge base for a position in European Affairs in the UK or on the continent”
A Treforest-based social entrepreneur is set to take community football to new levels as he gains the Football Association of Wales’ Football Leaders Award.
Jonathan Bishop, 27, of Fothergill Street recently competed an accredited FAW training programme for delivering football coaching programmes in the community.
Mr Bishop, who is a director of the social enterprise Glamorgan Blended Learning, says that he now plans to develop learning programmes for young people.
“The Emotivate Project will introduce young people to sports and the arts through blending e-learning with practical activities” he said, “We aim to work with local football clubs to provide students on sports related courses at university the opportunity to gain practical experience in coaching youth football”
People interested in becoming part of the Emotivate Project can visit the website at http://www.emotivate.org.uk using any Internet Browser.
Social networking is fast becoming a mainstream technology for connecting people and now the person known for inventing one of the most popular methods is calling on the e-learning industry to embrace the technology.
Jonathan Bishop, a director of e-learning firm Glamorgan Blended Learning believes his technology, the Circle of Friends, can break through many of the barriers to learning faced by learners engaged in distance and blended learning.
“There is a difference between what a learner can achieve by themselves and what they can achieve with the support of their peers”, he said, “the Circle of Friends allows learners to build networks of people who can support them in their learning.”
Mr Bishop, who has been developing and researching e-learning communities since the 1990s, will be presenting research on what the e-learning industry can learn from traditional approaches to teaching at a conference in April.
The Faith, Spirituality and Social Change Conference (fsscconference.org.uk), held on 14-15 April 2007 at the University of Winchester will be receiving Mr Bishop for the second time and hear him give a speech on how e-learning systems like online communities can bring about social change, through contributing to the economic, social and cultural development of those that use them.
Mr Bishop’s Circle of Friends technology became popular with the launch of Friendster, a website backed by venture capital investors Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Benchmark Capital. Since the Circle of Friends was first implemented in 1999 to when it was popularised by Friendster, the number of social networking websites using it has grown significantly. According to the conservative estimates of Philip Kim, author of Social Capital and Entrepreneurship, as of early 2005 there were at least 30 online networking sites, and according to online encyclopaedia Wikipedia there are now over 200 sites dedicated to social networking.
Mr Bishop argues that as the demand for effective e-learning solutions increases, so will it become important to use social networking solutions in the learning process, “While I don’t like to use neologisms like Web 2.0 and E-Learning 2.0, as learning is a social process it seems natural to use social technologies to enhance learning, and creating e-learning systems that are persuasive, adaptable, sociable and sustainable seems to be in the interests of both learners and teachers.”
Bishop, J. (2004). The role of persuasive technology in educating heterogeneous user groups. MSc Thesis, University of Glamorgan.
The purpose of undertaking this project was so that the author could develop further the ideas that came out of doing his degree dissertation and joint project about developing virtual environments for enhancing real-world communities. The author’s degree dissertation and joint project led him to become interested in the role of technology in improving people lives through providing opportunities for them to change and adapt their behaviour to meet individual and collective goals and it is this desire to discover new ways of using technology to allow people to reach their potential that has directed his current research.
This Masters dissertation addresses two key issues; firstly, how technology can be used to encourage individuals to develop specific attitudes and behaviour, and secondly, how technology can be used to allow an increasingly heterogeneous population access education without their individual differences being prejudiced. To address the first issue the author decided to focus on the use of persuasive technologies, which rely on the cooperation of the user to achieve a particular goal or outcome. This builds on his degree work on recommendation systems and reputation systems and his published research into using suggestion technology, which all require the user to make individual choices, with the goal of the system being to provide users with choices and not make decisions on their behalf.
To address the second issue, the author decided to focus on two types of user groups, those that form part of the ‘Net Generation’ and those that come from bilingual communities. The Net Generation is the group of individuals born between 1977 and 1997 who are enthusiastic towards the principle of persuasion, as they have come to value technology that provides them with choices, meaning they are more likely to accept the technology. Whilst the majority of Internet users do not speak English as their first language, the majority of Websites are designed around the culture of the English language, limiting the persuasiveness of them to bilingual groups, which means that there is scope for improvement in the development of persuasive hypermedia systems that are used by bilingual users.
Download it here.
The SELIVCEL Project was started by Jonathan Bishop after completing his MSc in E-Learning in 2004 and commencing on a Masters of Laws in European Union Law degree, where he presented a dissertation investigation the effect of EU law on the e-learning industry.