Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Design and Development of an E-Learning Environment for the Course of Electrical Circuit Analysis

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

Design and Development of an E-Learning Environment for the Course of Electrical Circuit Analysis

Article excerpt

Introduction

The e-learning method allows teachers and educators to provide educational materials and the related knowledge to a wide-range of learners by using more effective and efficient communication channels. In a typical e-learning scenario, learners are not required to attend classrooms to follow face-to-face lecture parts of the given courses. Rather, they are enabled to join special course sessions and to establish contact with other learners or teachers via some advanced tools. All of these activities are performed with the support of the conventional or modern telecommunication infrastructure (Kambourakis, Kontoni, Rouskas, & Gritza, 2007).

The use of computer and Internet technologies enables educators and learners to take advantage of e-learning systems from all over the world. So, enormous research efforts have been made to design and develop different types of e-learning systems, especially during the last few years (Takahama et al., 2005). As a result of rapid improvements in both computer and Internet technologies, features and functions of e-learning systems have been improved. It has also become easier to access online lesson content and interactive, electronic applications or tools from anywhere, at anytime. At this point, internet and the related technologies have an important role to play in all of these improvements and changes (Deperlioglu & Kose, 2010; Jou, 2005).

Nowadays, researchers place emphasis upon, not only developing improved and effective e-learning systems, but also providing more advanced and interactive e-learning environments and applications that enable teachers to make technical courses more attractive and effective for students. At this point, it is important to use more effective methods and techniques to present technical problems or complex course subjects as simply as possible. To this end, interactive animations are widely used in today's e-learning systems (Garrison & Kanuka, 2004). Apart from interactive animations, it is also possible to develop applications that enable students to combine the skills, knowledge, and competences required in the academic and laboratory environments (Cockbain, Blyth, Bovill, & Morss, 2009). These might be described as virtual laboratories and simulation programs that are developed for specific course subjects. Virtual laboratories and simulation programs are widely used, especially in higher education institutions, to provide the complex levels of interactivity needed by students (Pivic, 2007; Pulman, Scammell, & Martin, 2009; Yang & Liu, 2007). In addition to virtual laboratories and simulation programs, there are also many different e-learning applications and systems that were introduced in the literature and developed for specific course subjects by using well-known programming and development environments like Java[TM], Macromedia Shockwave[TM] and Macromedia Director[TM] (Drofenik, Kolar, van Duijsen, & Bauer; 2001; Gilbert, Wang, & Sim, 2005; Lazaridis, Paparrizos, Samaras, & Sifaleras, 2007; Mendez, Lorenzo, Acosta, Torres, & Gonzalez, 2006; Ong, 2006; Toral, Barrero, Martinez-Torres, & Gallardo, 2007).

In order to provide effective e-learning experiences for students, it is also important to consider two different aspects of e-learning systems and applications: firstly, the e-learning activity platform, which is a complex environment with a number of integrated tools for teaching, learning, communicating and managing lesson contents or materials, and secondly, the didactic module, which is the educational content provided through the related activity platform (Costabile, Lanzilotti, Plantamura, & Roselli, 2005). At this point, ensuring harmony between activity platform and the didactic module is an important aspect of system design.

This paper describes a web based e-learning system that was designed and developed to be used in the "Electrical Circuit Analysis" course of electrical engineering education given at Afyon Kocatepe University, Turkey. …

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