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|Perceptions of E-Learning Utility-Towards a Canadian Forces Strategy
|Jones, Tom (Centre for Distance Education, Athabasca University)
|Centre for Distance Education
|This qualitative research examines the perceptions of e-learning stakeholders within the Canadian Department of Defence and makes strategy recommendations that may support e-learning adoption. A review of the literature describes the diffusion of educational technology as a slow and evolutionary process that may take twenty-five years or more to be realized in educational settings. Adoption is more successful if the technologies are easily integrated, not too complex and offer obvious advantage over existing practices. A review of distance education systems suggests a return to the basics. Large distance education systems thrive using print as the media of choice to support learning. Leading theories of distance education inform the reader of the essential requirements to support learning at a distance including the requirement for interaction and communication. The Canadian Forces (CF) are aligned with the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) and the Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM). As one of only two ADL colabs located outside the United States, learning objects, contrary perspectives to the learning object paradigm, and notions about the SCORM standard are explored. Moreover, many complex notions embedded in the learning object concept have led some to ask where is the learning in learning objects and complex standards. Two related themes that have recently gained momentum are the convergence of knowledge management with e-learning and the rapid development of e-learning. These notions seem to support a shift from course-based learning to just-in-time and informal learning constructs. Elements of a strategic plan including the requirement for vision and leadership are examined as critical components to adoption. There is no shortage of educational technology. However, vision, leadership, and pedagogical practices have not kept pace with technological development. Hence, strategy and vision must be able to withstand the constant barrage and challenge of implementing new technologies. The Chapter Four, “findings,” provides a rich description of the challenges of implementing advanced technology applications, in the words of the candidates who were interviewed. The Chapter Five, “conclusion,” provides strategic recommendations that may be considered for implementation.
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