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A Review of the Impact of ICT on Learning - page 11 / 26





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eLearning: 74% of people who participated in adult education and who also used the Internet could not imagine taking an eLearning course;

  • There was evidence that eLearning could extend the reach of training offers. Almost every second person taking an eLearning course stated they would not have done the training if it had not been available online;

  • Home-based computer learning was also not favoured by many people: 74% of those that had computer skills but were not Internet users were not interested;

  • This was probably related to the preference for the social aspects of learning. For more than two out of three of those that participate in adult education today, the chance to meet other people with similar interests is a major reason for participation;

  • Also, almost 60% of people prefer guided learning be it in a traditional classroom setting or in a group with others, or with a personal instructor, as against autodidactic learning, with no guidance or learning instructions.

The eUser data indicate that there is still a long way to go before eLearning becomes fully established. A positive note is the strong potential of eLearning since most of those who had already taken online eLearning courses were satisfied with them and could thus be interested in continuing. Also the full range of eLearning tools such as discussion boards, chat and video streams were welcomed.

However, dedicated efforts are needed to get those who have not yet used eLearning services on board. Different factors must be taken into account when elaborating such efforts: access (to ICT and to eLearning providers), competence (ICT skills) and motivation (for engaging in learning via ICT). Specific combinations of these factors could then be developed to target specific groups in order to overcome the barriers that prevent these people from benefiting from the potential of the Internet for lifelong learning (Gareis 2006).

Based on the eUSer survey data, it is possible to give an account of the early adopters for eLearning. These could make up about 37% of the adult population. These are people who have already participated in adult education and who are already using the Internet regularly. The remaining population is either not/only occasionally using the Internet (7%), or not participating in adult education (24%). A range of factors have to be overcome to make these people exploit the potential of the Internet for lifelong learning (eUser 2005: 73-74).

In addition to the measurement of these formalised eLearning activities, there is another less visible dimension of ICT-enabled learning that may need to taken into account, i.e. the domain of informal learning. The problem is not only that that these activities are more difficult to measure but also that they are becoming increasingly important. Informal and non- formal eLearning activities could indeed be dramatically increasing (according to HELIOS, 2006: 11-12) and it might be true that changes are taking place at a much faster pace in informal learning than in the evolution of formal learning systems. Hence a much closer look at these activities, and at their implications for learning, employment and for fostering innovation, is needed.

4. Different uses of ICT-enabled learning

Many different uses of ICT in education are possible. These range from using ICT as tools to support traditional ways of teaching to fully ICT-enabled courses that entail a completely different way of teaching. Below is some evidence of the impact of ICT on educational


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