Users' poor understanding holds back e-learning

The take up of e-learning has been stunted by businesses' lack of understanding about how the technology should be used, an...

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The take up of e-learning has been stunted by businesses' lack of understanding about how the technology should be used, an Oxford University computer specialist has claimed.

Most organisations think of e-learning as a technology to enable one person to learn from a screen, but it should be about collaboration among a group, said Howard Noble, learning technologist at Oxford University.

"Learning normally happens when groups of individuals collaborate to complete well-designed learning activities. Technology helps us do this in two ways: it helps us form and facilitate new types of collaboration between learners and experts, and it helps us represent knowledge in new ways," he said.

The growth and development of e-learning will only increase if public perceptions are changed, Noble said.

"We need to remove the 'e' from e-learning so that use of technology is seen as part of normal learning experience. We need to understand the optimal relationship between the human brain and computer while we are learning," he said.

One reason why e-learning is often misunderstood is because its benefits are not always immediately tangible, said Noble.

"The goal of an e-learning strategy should be seen as developing the technological environment and business processes that help employees share and generate knowledge that contributes to the success of the business strategy," he said.

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