eLearning for a Developing Economy
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eLearning, although not entirely new, has taken on a renewed form and focus with the advent of new technologies like Web 2.0 which allow for easier collaboration and the growth of social media. As with any new technology being introduced into a very traditional formal sector like Education, there are a number of barriers to ICT in education and the progress is cautiously slow. In addition outcomes of eLearning are very different from traditional outcomes and are difficult to measure with the current techniques, which further complicates or distracts from implementation and the evaluation. Advocates of eLearning need to embrace that this is complimentary to current educational techniques and should be intended to enhance a learners experience and not completely replace it. Opponents need to appreciate that the new technology is able to assist in producing better equipped students with new 21st Century skills, at the same time opening a learner to a more global perspective. Developing Economies stand to gain significant benefits in advancing their education sector with the correct and careful implementation of eLearning structures. Although much of the focus for eLearning implementation is on access to technology, there are a number of other factors that have to be considered to effectively implement an eLearning program; 1. Shared Vision and Policies aligned to social and economic desired impacts 2. 21st Century Pedagogy requirements 3. Foundational ICT Skills 4. Curriculum Framework 5. Contingency Planning 6. Skilled Personnel and continued professional development 7. Suitable equipment 8. Technical Support 9. Assessment and Evaluation eLearning is essential for a developing country. The process requires a long term plan and commitment but the end result could allow us to not only leap-frog but surpass other countries in having adequately prepared graduates for the 21st Century.