The basics of E-Learning

Setting up an E-Learning course includes a lot of tasks. A major task is the planning before actually realising the project. Very often the planning part is kept to short or even worse completely forgotten. Before implementing an E-Learning course with certain software and hardware, it is essential to plan and pre-evaluate every detail. The didactic parts of such a course are more important than the technical ones. An E-Learning course is worth nothing, when it is just nice to look at and play with it but when there is nothing we can learn from it. Some questions can be answered as part of the planning, such as

  • What can the learner learn?
  • What does the learner need to know already

Learning Environments

Talking about LE (Learning Environment) in connection with technology, meaning software, it seem to be very difficult to find one application which can be used for all learning tasks. Besides this difficulty, I think it is wrong to try to take one application for all possible tasks. For example a web browser should be used for browsing and only for browsing. Stuffing it up with extensions to get the most out of this one application seems to be wrong. There used to be a guideline, unfortunately I don't really remember it. This guideline said that you should use a program just for its original purpose. According to this it is obviously wrong to try to make a browser to word processor.

I think it would be better to set up a LE with a collection of certain applications. So that one would have an application for web browsing (and maybe researching, int the sense of collecting information), one application for writing, one program for the bibliography and so on. In the best case those programs would be ale to communicate to each other or have some kind of common interface which would some how connect them making the work and learning process quite easy.

Learning objectives

Learning objectives are actually quite trivial things. Well, as the term already says, that objectives are goals. Goals of what the learner will learn or will be able of after a certain course. Although this is indeed something quite simple it is very helpful, for the learner and teacher.

If learning goals are set up well, in the beginning of a course, the learner will know what is coming. The learner has the chance to prepare for the next objective. On the other hand the teacher has a clear structure to hold onto. As well as what questions the final exam should include.

Learning objectives make clear what is important in a course or a lecture.

Example: "The student will learn to define learning objectives."

Some verbs useful for defining learning objectives are: list, identify, state, describe, define, solve, compare, operate

Constructionism + Behaviourism

Constructionism is a theory describing that learning is only effective when the learner is actually learning actively. It says, that all knowledge is already existent. The learner has to construct new knowledge, meaning subjectively new, with learning-by-doing. The goal is to master the new complex situation by cooperating, communicating and interacting. The teacher in constructionism is in a quite passive position and understood as a coach or trainer.

Behaviourism describes the process of learning by stimulating the learner. A stimulus can create certain behaviour with the learner. By repeating the stimulus the learner gets conditioned to react in a certain way. This reinforcement of behaviour can be used in different ways to manifest behaviour. For example: if one wants to strengthen a certain behaviour, a positive reinforcement (like a treat or so) will produce a pleasant consequence for the learner. In order to get a treat again, the learner will repeat the behaviour.