Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Teachers' Expectations of the Impact of E-Learning on Kuwait's Public Education System

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Teachers' Expectations of the Impact of E-Learning on Kuwait's Public Education System

Article excerpt

E-learning has emerged as a necessity to meet the challenges posed by the development of information technology and its potential for greater access to knowledge. E-learning technology is becoming more visible in schools in many parts of the world. Kuwait, like many other countries, has started to study the adoption of an E-learning system in K-12. E-learning in schools must meet certain standards that make students competent in a number of areas. The purpose of this study is to investigate teachers' opinions of the impact of E-learning on the public education system in Kuwait. Based on responses by 519 teachers, to a questionnaire survey consisting of 36 items, the study identifies the following six educational improvement areas: 1) basic operations and computer concepts; 2) ethical and human issues; 3) productivity tools; 4) research tools; 5) problem-solving and decision-making tools; and 6) communication tools.

Keywords: E-learning, Kuwait public education, standards, competencies, computer-based learning.

The significant impact of communication and information technology on learning is still being explored. Educators are constantly seeking new approaches to capture the attention of students, and create active, yet customized, learning environments, where students are motivated and have the desire for continuous learning using different tools of information technology (Bottino, 2004). The momentum of the E-learning revolution creates rapid and disruptive changes in the way in which people live, work, and play (Stevens, 2000). As the pace of E-learning advancement shows no sign of deceleration, the challenge is to adapt to ongoing changes with minimum physical and mental stress. To make this possible, E-learning systems must prepare students to work competently and confidently with new technologies. They need to expect and embrace constant change to skill requirements and work patterns.

E-learning is the future of learning. It can be thought of as a revolutionary system for continuous education (Barker, 2001 a). It is changing the way by which people learn, as it focuses on the needs of the learners more than on those of the instructors or the learning institutions (Cross, 2001). Within E-learning, one can think of the learners as customers who should receive quality service (Rossett, 2002). In short, E-learning changes the focus of the learning process to a learnercentered approach (Grimson, 2002). Moreover, it focuses on both the needs of the individual learner, and the learning content (Collier & Robson, 2002). It is the result of continuous research, experiments, and practice of educators, trainers, and concerned individuals in the learning community who realized that learning could somehow be influenced by Internet technology (Rosenberg, 2001).

As a response to this growing interest, several countries in the world are now starting ambitious E-learning projects, such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Singapore, and Malaysia. They are allocating budgets to be spent on the development of E-learning systems (Chew, 2003). Similarly, governments, academia, and industry in the less developed countries are attempting to use the web and other technology to deliver learning (Pons, 2004). Currently, E-learning emerges as the fastest growing learning tool in the Middle East. According to recent research conducted by Dubai Madar Research Group, the market is expected to grow at a compound growth rate of 32%. The growth in the E-learning market in the Middle East is estimated to increase from 14 million US dollars in 2004 to 56 million US dollars in 2006 (Andersen, 2004). This growth will cover content providers, and technology service providers to public education sectors of the Middle East countries. Today, Internet-related technology initiatives are spread in the region, mainly Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, and UAE (Anderson, 2002). Networked classrooms, online learning content, virtual classrooms and synchronous learning are presented in many parts of the Middle East countries. …

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