Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

A Model of Introducing E-Learning System at Vocational College for Business Secretaries

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

A Model of Introducing E-Learning System at Vocational College for Business Secretaries

Article excerpt

Introduction

After Slovenia became an independent state in 1991 the transition process started. The consequence of deep economic and social changes is the adaptation in all fields including education. There were many formal changes in educational system including emergence of new freestanding vocational and higher educational institutions as well as new educational programs. Improvements in quality of education and the concept promoting lifelong learning are included in the government's guideline for development of Slovenia in the periods: 2001-2006 (Ammerman, 2004) and 2006-2013 as high priority factors for achieving the main goals.

At present (2006) there are 51 vocational colleges in Slovenia. 19 of them are offering educational program for business secretaries. Many students are interested in this program. According to the preliminary data in the academic year 2006/07 there are 14% of students attending this program (see Table 1).

The growing competition among these 19 schools claims modernization, updating and upgrading of current ways of teaching and learning. These changes must take into consideration specific demands and characteristics of adult population. At the same time it is an opportunity and a challenge to introduce new ways and improve existing educational system. Schools have to provide modern way of learning, quicker on- and off-line communication between students and their teacher as well as among students, and simplify the process of disseminating students work and experience. The way of learning should be such that every student has the ability to adjust to the place, time, and the way of learning according to his/her needs.

This new approach to education makes room for a more flexible time frame which, without stating the fact, clearly makes it possible for learners with different abilities to steer their path of intellectual growth in such a way that they stay within the borders of the flow channel (Steyn 2001).

Therefore within vocational colleges the interest for e-learning has constantly been increasing. Despite the great interest in introducing e-learning these efforts are still in the beginning phase and are too often one-man research projects of individuals who believe that e-learning will soon be accepted as a rule and a minimal standard at numerous colleges.

In the academic year 2004/05 the vocational college Leila started with e-learning as an experimental project with a small group of 17 students. The goal of the research project was to find out whether and how the students accept changes in the ways of learning and communicating. The second goal was to find out whether students have the basic infrastructure for using e-learning systems.

In the academic year 2005/06 the college offered full support in e-learning for one subject for first-year students and partial support for 3 other subjects.

In the following year (2006/07) e-learning support was extended to 6 new subjects. The existent support was supplemented with some new features.

E-learning

In the academic and business world the term e-learning is used as a new term for distance learning through internet or web based training.

In fact there is a misuse of the word 'e-learning' because most of e-learning systems provide services for both parties of the educational process: students and teachers. The appropriate term would therefore be 'e-education'. E-education can be defined by a simple equation: e-education = e-learning + e-teaching. E-education should be supported by appropriate system.

According to Thomas Dietinger (2003) the basic components of an e-education system are:

* students--people, who are using e-learning system part of e-education system to achieve learning goal,

* teachers--people, who are using e-teaching part of system that monitor, guide, help and assist students when trying to achieve learning goal,

* e-content--e-content presents learning goal and should describe the way, how that goal can be achieved. …

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