Last updated: 13.09.12

E-learning technologies 'positive' for students

Online learning can have a positive effect on the educational outcomes of youngsters.This is according to Don Krug, professor in University of British Columbia's faculty of education and faculty associate in the Centre for Digital Media's Institute for Computing, Information & Cognitive Systems, Media and Graphics Interdisciplinary, who suggested in an article for the Vancouver Sun that the success of e-learning technologies could be dependent on their utility."If used appropriately, I believe that technology can expand creativity and empower learning," he explained.Young people are growing up in a "rapidly changing world", with the number of digital devices expanding continually, the professor pointed out.He noted interactive whiteboards, cameras, mobile devices, e-books, music players and a range of other devices that could support e-learning have become less expensive and increasingly prevalent and popular.Parents could be concerned about the rising scope of digital learning tools that are in the modern classroom, as they could enter a school and see students using tablets and other computers to assist in their education.Professor Krug asked: "How can they tell if this technology is being used appropriately?"He argued that while critics could claim technology has a negative impact on the learning processes of youngsters, "it is the educational content that matters".Appropriate use of virtual learning environments and other innovations should not be an isolated activity but ought to bolster education, the specialist claimed, adding that educators are becoming more accepting of this fact.While it should not replace outdoor activities, conversations, physical activity, creative play and social events, it can expand children's understanding of these activities, enabling them to access a wider pool of information, he said.E-learning technology can "empower" education if it enables students to solve problems, create, listen, think, view critically, observe, research, make decisions, investigate or collaborate, Professor Krug noted.He describes his research as determining "how best to develop, design, and use digital media in face-to-face, hybrid, and online learning environments".