Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

An Enhanced Learning Environment for Institutions: Implementing I-Converge's Pedagogical Model

Academic journal article Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology

An Enhanced Learning Environment for Institutions: Implementing I-Converge's Pedagogical Model

Article excerpt

Introduction

We have in our recent work (Awodele, Idowu, Anjorin, Adedire, & Apkore, 2009) discussed the use of social tools, particularly in e-learning systems. In that work we suggested and discussed a model that provides the basis for the development of an enhancement system. We also analysed the trend of e-learning systems in developing countries, and also discussed the social approach to learning. While e-learning is widely used in learning institutions, its use has been profound in the business environment.

Presently, we focus on adapting our model and implementing it for a university environment. According to Awodele et al. (2009), we suggested that to effectively impact the learning pattern of higher institutions, especially in Nigeria and other developing countries, the application of ICT should not be focused only on administrative issues like online registration, payment etc but the primary objective of the institution, which is learning should be made more effective and efficient by adopting relevant ICT tools. Furthermore, we emphasized that to further maximize the potential of e-learning systems in higher institutions, it is important not to adopt e-learning systems that concentrates only on the students and their lecturers (the academic community), but also the nonacademic or administrative community within the institution should be considered and integrated into the system. We therefore advocated for a system where several learning barriers can be eliminated by opening the learning environment to include non-academic staffs (who can contribute immensely to the entire learning experience), and integrating the key departments/sections (academic and administrative) into the learning system with a view to improving the information flow. This would provide students with relevant information alongside large academic resources and also aid the workers in performing their activities effectively.

Like recent e-learning solutions built on Web 2.0 tools, tagged e-learning 2.0. The system discussed in this paper adopts the use of social tools to develop an e-learning system that breaks the teacher-student-classroom pedagogy and implements a social constructivist approach. This pedagogy is particularly well afforded by the use of discussion forums, blogs, wiki and on-line collaborative activities. It is a collaborative approach that opens educational content creation to a wider group including the students themselves. Since Web 2.0 involves a high degree of user involvement and social networking, it has influenced e-learning systems in terms of pedagogy and delivery. Anderson (2007) describes six big ideas behind Web 2.0 as follows:

* Individual production and User Generated Content

* Harness the power of the crowd

* Data on an epic scale

* Architecture of participation

* Network Effects

* Openness

According to Anderson (2007), Brown & Adler (2008), and O'Reilly (2005), Web 2.0 could facilitate a change of paradigm in learning; from a top-down system focused in teachers and established knowledge, to a networked approach where teachers should change their roles to become coaches and facilitators of the learning process. This therefore suggests that the strength of emerging e-learning solutions lies in the use of Web 2.0 tools; also the necessity to enhance academic (learning) activities in institutions by adopting e-learning has been stated by Aviram, Aviram, Ronen, Somekh, Winer, and Sarid (2008). According to these authors, it is obvious that the traditional pedagogical approach is no longer meeting the needs to prepare young learners to function effectively and satisfactorily in today's challenging labour market.

Research has shown that most newly proposed/developed learning and administrative systems for higher institutions are built on a new (different) pedagogical model, which argues a personalized and social approach while leveraging and incorporating Web 2. …

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