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E-learning 'will transform education'

schedule 6 years, 1 month, 1 week by Virtual College in Virtual College

Online learning technology will permanently change the practice of education, according to one expert.

Former education minister Lord Jim Knight told BBC News that e-learning tools like iTunes U and social networking will give students a greater variety of options, but questioned whether campus-based higher education institutions are prepared for such a change.

"That development of choice and access to quality, and people being digital natives, will, I think, transform things. Whether universities are yet ready to make those changes is another question," he said.

Lord Knight suggested students would prefer to listen to a lecture given by professors who are the best in their fields over the internet rather than settling for second-best at their campus university.

The future could see the arrival of blended learning - courses that combine virtual and actual classes, he added.

Earlier this month, Anglia Ruskin University announced a new course in charity and social enterprise management, on which students study part-time in a combination of one-day workshops and online learning.

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