The rate at which the Information Technology (IT) is growing today is evident from the fact that it has invaded almost every part of our life. Technological progress can be harnessed for augmenting both expansion as well as quality of education. Innovative endeavors in this direction have been mainly towards providing the infrastructure and network to the institutions of higher learning. The digitization and utilizing the digital resource into quality certified programmes and courses need to be fully exploited by Institutions as well as learners.
The idea of Flexible learning traces its roots to mid-19th century America and Europe. The pioneers of this scheme of learning used the best available technology of their day, the postal system, to open immense educational opportunities to people who wanted to learn and update themselves, but were not able to attend conventional Educational Stream. The group most benefited from such correspondence education included those who are physically challenged, women who were denied enrollment in educational institutions open only to men, working professionals, and those who lived in remote regions.
Isaac Pitman is credited as an early pioneer in the idea of Open Schooling. He began teaching Shorthand by correspondence in England by 1840. The Distant learners were instructed to copy short passages of the Bible and return them for evaluation via the new penny post system. The American university level Flexible education began in 1874 at Illinois Wesleyan University where bachelor and graduate degrees could be obtained in absentia. The Chautauqua movement in about 1882 gave the popular push to correspondence education. The teaching of academic and vocational courses by correspondence became quite popular by 1900 and problems of quality and ethical practice came with the popularity.
The innovative steps of E- Learning started with invention of educational radio in the 1920s and the advent of television in the 1940s created important new forms of communication for use in distance education. Institutions used these new technologies to broadcast educational programs to millions of learners, thus extending learning opportunities beyond the walls of conventional teaching institutions. The development of reliable long-distance telephone systems in the early 1900s also increased the capacity of distance educators to reach new student populations. But telephone systems never played a prominent role in education until the introduction of new teleconferencing technologies in the 1980s and 1990s. Teleconferencing systems made it possible for teachers to talk with, hear, and see their students in real time – that is, with no delays in the transmissions – even if they were located across the country or around the world.
The 21 st Century made innovative steps in Open learning by maximizing the use of technology and minimizing the barriers with a dream of education for all sections of the society by Electronic Learning. E-learning is a broad term that includes methods of learning using Internet technology, multimedia and packaged software programs. This form of Flexible interactive learning provides many opportunities for students to study course material and earn degrees outside the traditional ground-based classroom. E-learning is expected to continue growing in popularity because of its convenience and flexibility.
The innovative term “e-learning” was coined in October of 1999 in a Global Perspective. The expression specifically referred to learning using the Internet or other interactive or electronic media sources for making the best result in continuing education. It was also termed “online learning,” according to the e-Learning Fundamentals’ website. E-learning is a type of distance learning because the student has the freedom to learn lessons and complete assignments outside the classroom with no bar of tine place or any other barriers.
Distance education is a powerful and growing force in education at university level, in a wide variety of subjects. In developing countries, distance education enables a very small number of instructors to reach the whole population, and can educate students at a lower per capita cost than in conventional institutions. Many of the largest distance education institutions are in developing countries. In India the significant step in this direction is the National Video Server of the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), which was launched at IIT Madras in February 2011 .The video server is connected to 1 Gbps link of the National Knowledge Network (NKN) and also to 155 Mbps link to the Colleges’ Virtual Private Network (VPN). Both the networks come under the National Mission on Education through Information & Communication Technology (NMEICT) and the video server would make the entire NPTEL content available to students across Universities, Colleges and online as well as distance leaners.
In 2010, the World Wide Learn website indicated that e-learning was used by corporations to provide professional development and improve communication within organisations. Institutes of higher learning increasingly provided access to online classes, which offered a variety of learning opportunities to rural and distance students. Governments also used e-learning to provide education to underserved populations.
Modern Technology Enabled Learning is an innovative platform for providing the best Internet enabled sect of learning. The significance has increased as the emergence of modern technology, made worldwide acceptance of Electronic Learning. Technology Enabled Learning uses Internet as a media for leveraging the pitfalls of our traditional educational system by providing an environment, which is more learners centric rather than being more instructors centric, powered by Internet Technology. The Technology Enabled Learning has laid a new chapter in education. Through Technology Enabled Learning, learners can now undergo training sitting at their home or any other place with Internet accessibility and continue their education.
Instructional Design for Technology Enabled Learning has been perfected and refined over many years using established teaching principles, with many benefits to students. As a result, colleges, universities, businesses, and organizations worldwide now offer their students fully accredited Online degrees vocational, and continuing education programs in abundance.
Some other terms frequently interchanged with Technology Enabled Learning include:
• Educational system based on Online learning
• Online education system
• Web-based training
• Computer-based training
• Media Resource enabled learning
Technology Enabled Learning is designed to help the flexible learning students study in a convenient computer based environment. The scope and idea of E- Learning introduced introducing the TEL for l its students to provide a means for “self – paced, self- styled learning”. Through this new initiatives e-Learning content is made interactive, enhanced and makes the learning experience pleasurable. Technology Enabled Learning sessions present scenarios, audio / video clips, case studies, quizzes and an online assignment at the end. Students can thus not only enhance their understanding of the subject matter but can also save on time and cost by submitting an online assignment through the Technology Enabled Learning session The learning experience become more in-depth, flexible, convenient, personalized and above all enjoyable. Technology Enabled Learning is rich and valuable; quite often more convenient than classroom learning.
Technology Enabled Learning Methodology
• e- Textbooks
• e- Lectures
• Seek Advice Online
• Virtual Library
• Discussion Forum
• Mock Tests
The neo innovations in the Flexible learning made e-Mentoring support to students. e-Mentoring involves giving academic support necessary for Technology Enabled Learning learners. Through the e-Mentoring programme, students will be able to address their specific academic queries, via e-mail, to the learning. These queries will be answered by our expert faculty and an in-depth reply will be sent to the students. This e-Mentoring support via e-mail is available throughout the academic tenure of each student.
E-learning and the related scheme of learning are growing rapidly, according to David Nagel ” The Future of E-Learning Is More Growth. Both elementary and higher learning institutions are expected to continue to invest heavily in e-learning software and technology over the next five years. The research firm Ambient Insight found that e-learning was a £17.6 billion industry in 2009. Their figures expect those numbers to double by 2014.”