Hope and hype in education
Distance education comes from far: the first correspondence course started at the end of the 19
century. Today, thanks to the digital media and the network, distance education took off: there are5000 companies offering e-training technology, services and contents: their revenues is about $2 billion for this year and are expected to increase to $11 billion in 2003.Different survey shows that E-learning courses have reduced the overall cost of employee training, but the number of companies that measure the return of investment of training budgets is very little:so we don’t have today figure about real impact of these new methodology of teaching and learning.The crowded e-learning industry are asking in which direction the market will turn and who willsurvive. Challenges for this companies regarding branding, content adapting to the changingtechnology and achieving profitability for themselves and their clients, but the key factors will be based on “blended solution” because e-learning will not cope all learning needs. The distancelearning experience will have to be much more engaging: put content online is not an adequatesolution.The next generation of Learning Management System will see more integration of streaming media,interactive technologies and classroom reinforcement.The market offer today many learning package but the real challenge, at the time of one to onemarketing is “customisation”, that is adapt content and graphics that take account of the processesof individual companies and their “corporate look and feel”.Education Service Providers offer this kind of solution including services like education design,community design, marketing, technical support and contents as reusable learning object, tutoringand so on.
Distance, Open or Collaborative?
As we have seen e-learning potentially includes everything is related to electronic network andeducation, or better, training. E-learning appears as the newest term for online education:
E-learning is training that takes place through a network, usually over the Internet or a companyintranet.
eLearning : "Training that is delivered over the Internet, Corporate Intranets or Extranets,either Synchronously or Asynchronously".
(IDC Definition)About e-learning, there is much confusion about terms: distance education, open learning,collaborative learning, online learning…. Let’s make some clarity.
In the paper
From Distance Education to Open and Distance Learning
(Tella, 97), Tella collectssome definitions and difference between Distance learning and Open Learning.
"Open learning is defined as a student-centered approach to education that removes all barriers toaccess while providing a high degree of learner autonomy. Distance education refers to a mode of delivering a course of study in which the majority of communication between teachers and studentsoccurs noncontiguously, and the two-way communication between teacher and student necessary