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e-Learning 2.0: A New Age of Learning  

August 03, 2010  

The Internet boom is far from over, although taking a slightly different slant in the past few years; hardly surprising since technologies advance and trends change

The World Wide Web (WWW) is the largest resource of information in the whole world and whatever your needs are and whenever you need them the Internet can provide. What started as a simmer has soon become an immense tidal wave.

Online education is one of the areas that are growing, perhaps more than ever before. e-Learning is sprouting with the WWW as a whole and changing to a degree significant enough to call for a new name; e-learning 2.0.

e-Learning has been around for over a decade. Throughout that time, e-Learning has emerged from being a radical idea that's effectiveness was yet to be proven to what is widely regarded today as a mainstream.

It's becoming the core to self-development and organizational development and a service offered by most academic institutions and organizations.

The Nature of the Internet is Changing

As we welcome a new decade of the new millennium, the nature of the Internet, and more importantly, the people using the Internet, has begun to change. These changes have revolutionized the educational process and the workplace equally.

Of these trends, one trend that has captured the attention of many experts is the changing nature of Internet users themselves. Sometimes called "digital natives", these new users approach work, learning and play in a different way.

They are absorbing information more quickly, in images and video as well as text, from numerous sources simultaneously. They function at a very fast speed, expecting instant responses and feedback.

It is undeniable that the changing demographics of learners in today's society provided a climate where the use of student-centered learning is booming.

Breaking down the barriers has led to many of the applications we see on the Internet everyday. For example, File-sharing evolves among today's youth due to their persistent belief that information is meant to be shared. Such trends have paved the way for what so called “Web 2,0” to emerge.

Web 2.0: Breaking the Barriers

Web 2.0 is the Web changing from being a medium, in which information was being transmitted and consumed, into being a platform, in which content is created, shared, recreated, repurposed and passed along.

Web 2.0 has had an immense impact on the daily activities of people around the globe. Research indicates that the interactivity between individuals on the internet has tripled due to Web 2.0.

Internet users from everyplace in the world can interact with each others; they can share their thoughts about important subjects, share photos, chat with each other and gain new social relations. There are lots of user generated content from blogs to facebook, twitter and other different social networking websites that help in connecting people all over the world.

One of the most powerful uses of web 2.0 technologies over the past couple of years has been e-learning. Teachers and students are all embracing web technologies such as blogging and podcasting in the learning process.

Although not designed specifically for use in education, these tools are helping in making e-learning far more personal, social and flexible.

e-Learning 2.0: The knowledge You need, You Find

e-Learning consists of all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching which are procedural in character and their main aim is to affect the construction of knowledge with reference to individual experience, practice and knowledge of the learner.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) serve as specific media to implement the learning process. e-Learning is moving into a new age of sharing content, collaborating and syndicating learning materials online.

In contrast to Learning 1.0 which places its emphasis on content that is usually delivered as text, other static media or talking heads; learning 2.0 places the learner at the center of the instructional process and in the context of interactive social environments.

Learning 2.0 approaches and principles facilitate technological, educational and organizational innovation in education and training and hence contribute to the modernization of educational institutions considered necessary to face the challenges of the 21st century.

The new learning 2.0 principles and technology capitalize on web 2.0 technologies to create and deliver personalized, social and lifelong learning through web platforms. Rather than being composed, organized and packaged, e-learning content is syndicated, much like a blog post or podcast.

Learning 2.0 is an advance not a new hypothesis, it is increasingly becoming efficient and effective since it uses time-tested learning principles that match our own instinctive learning approaches and enhance them with the access, tools and collaboration capabilities of the Web 2.0. The new learning approach guides learners' through its principles to boost motivation and produce higher level thinking that results in effective changed learner behaviors.

ELCC: Inspiring Excellence and Innovation in e-Learning

Established in September 2004 by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in collaboration with Cisco Systems, the E-Learning Competence Center (ELCC) puts in place the appropriate enabling environment and mechanisms for training and competency creation in Egypt through e-Learning and leveraging on the experience and content delivery applications and systems that Cisco has accumulated over the years.

The is continuing its policy of enhancing and empowering prospects of the future by helping Egypt’s youth acquire employability and job-based skills and introducing e-learning to facilitate the learning process and make learning easier for all.

The ELCC believes that e-learning is a very powerful tool to achieve accessibility and scalability in reaching prospects of the future especially that Egypt’s demographic structure is very promising with over 65% of the population under 25.

The ELCC have successfully integrated Web 2.0 technologies in its e-Learning programs. The center uses web 2.0 platforms like wikis and social networking sites in its courses to create online learning communities, generate student-shared content, boost collaborative learning and leverage the social aspect of learning.

"The ELCC recognizes that the emergence of the Web 2.0 is not just a technological revolution; rather it is a social revolution. A cornerstone of ELCC's e-Learning 2.0 strategy is to make the most of the emerging Web 2.0 applications to enrich what referred to as 'learning interactions' as well as face-to-face educational experiences" says ELCC Director Yasser Kazem.

“In its e-Learning 2.0, ELCC relies on e-learning platforms such as Learning Management System (LMS), content management tools and authoring tools where learning is created and not just delivered,” added Kazem. 

The Center's e-learning platform (LMS), therefore, looks very much like a blogging tool. It represents one node in a web of content, connected to other nodes and content creation services used by other students.

It becomes, not an institutional or corporate application, but a personal learning center, where content is reused and remixed according to students’ own needs and interests. It becomes not a single application, but a collection of interoperating applications—an environment rather than a system.

The e-Learning world is dynamic in its nature with many applications evolving and technologies advancing. Being part of this dynamic world, the ELCC is trying to be up to date with the latest Internet technologies to be able to catch up with the relatively fast technology adoption pace of today’s youth and thus, be able to “speak their own language” which will make them better able to use ICTs for their empowerment in the most attractive and appealing manner.




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