How E-learning Can Help...when Done Appropriately
E-learning works if you work it well. In a community college tenure track interview in the northwestern part of the United States, Professor Jeffrey Westfall speaks to e-learning and technology, saying that what we need to keep in mind is that technology is fantastic if it is the "tail wagged by the dog and not the tail that wags the dog." In another part of the world, speaking to interviewers at elearningeuropa.info, Doctor Tony Bates, retired Professor from University of British Columbia says that "e-learning should be used strategically, and not just as a tool that everybody uses." The consensus of the distance learning, e-learning, and technology-enhanced education experts is clear, the rationale valid: e-learning is a superb academic enhancement tool, provided it is used as such--provided it is not used as a popular, trendy, money-making monster that feeds the wrong egos. Granted, even the education systems in most countries are considered businesses. Non-profit public institutions of learning and higher learning, supported by taxpaying dollars in many instances, still have to emphasize, track, maintain, and account for the numbers (which translate into dollars). The higher the numbers, the better the backing. But e-learning software, hardware, and worldwide web programs don't have to have a focus that answers first to the numbers...if the educators and the to-be-educated insist on a respect for the tools as vital enhancers rather than as lucrative money-makers that carry a certain amount of prestige and privilege just by their virtue of being implemented in the classroom, the learning center, or the off-site adjunct location. E-learning tools can be used for the sake of learning. They can be created with the learner (rather than the money-earner) in mind. They can be used to accelerate and supplement. And they can, in the most ideal of circumstances, be created not by entrepreneurial engineers with commercial interests...but by engaged educators with primary interests of involving learners, helping learners grow, and assisting learners in the e-learning successes they seek and deserve.
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