Monday, May 23, 2011

From E-Learning To U-Learning

New technologies are so diversified that they open up new spaces for the emergence of an array of approaches that imply a deeper comprehension of what 21st century education actually needs. In this sense, the mainstream developments and applications of new technologies have put pressure on education to provide with a wide range of tools that may shed light on what lifelong learning requires. Emanating as starting point, the path to achieving self-directed learning emerges as central issue in this approach.

Under this framework, learners can be provided with education in different locations at a distance (Distance Education), using technology to enhance the learning experience separated by time or place (Distributed Learning); within the boundaries of different methods – classroom instructions with online instructions (Blended Learning) – and sustained through different media, as computer aided learning or E-Learning (UNITAR, 2004).

At this stage, it is important to consider whether E-Learning is the final step to reach holistic skills. Of course, it is not. Many other approaches have cropped up, for instance, T-Learning or TV based interactive learning which relies on the benefits of interactive digital television for a more engaged learning (Jokipelto, 2005). M-Learning (Mobile Learning) “in which different tools or mobile technologies are used” (Harman and Koohang, 2007, p.191). And U-Learning or Ubiquitous Learning, based on constructing “a ubiquitous learning environment which enables anyone to learn at anyplace at anytime” (Arniza, 2010, p.1).

It is obvious the advancement of technology in education, and the multiple answers to overcome that, but what seems to be more important is how learners can assume leadership for their online studies in a holistic manner for promoting lifelong learning. That is definitely the keyword.

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