The fact, that e-learning achieves constable results is known in general. The question, why is it so, we haven´t had significant answer so far. Individuals differ in their access to teaching and study style and university as the creators and providers’ online programmers face big risk if these significant differences don´t take to account or take only in minimum way. Accessible, intuitive and interactive technologies like social internet, searching means, multimedia services were adopted by important part of population much earlier than the whole sector of education could react to it. A new generation is currently coming which considers technologies and social media as a part of long-term style and also natural to use these technologies in education.
E-learning, digital competences, educational styles, information and communications technologies
JEL classification: I21, I23
Before ten years it seemed that the development of informational society, intensive using of internet and informational technologies among spreading community will significantly show also spreading using of these technologies in education. A problem of lower technological quick way of education, difficulty in reflection of needs the practice in a combination with the whole contain, value and structural crises as itself is also shown in current way of e-learning. The causes of critical view on e-learning have different background, whether it is technological pessimism of more conservative part of technical community often caused by lack of knowledge of technologies through problems of digital knowledge in aimed groups etc. Objectively, it can be critically viewed the practical application whether implementation of e-learning. The needs of the practice, in context to advantages of e-learning, however, in nowadays create the pressure for the realization of these activities in educational institutions which often underestimate requirements for the preparedness and realization of education in the form. The result are difficulties and problems of learning people with low-quality courses and unpracticed full potential of technologies for effective education.
The next significant problem is a stagnation or satisfaction with the basic version of e-learning, lack of implementation of new technologies, especially social internet and unwillingness to experiment with new theoretical concept and technologies. In this way e-learning rejoinders known problems and mistakes from active form of education and often is highlighted by technical complication of using and managing. The choice of e-learning brings also necessary reduction of contain of education what leads to instant way of information and knowledge, the absence of deeper context and connection of the parts of educational contain, what is not for quality of the final knowledge.
The real problem is not understanding the necessity of different access to creation, organization and managing of e-learning what often leads to mistakes . Creators of e-learning courses also often prefer only one of the way of this education at the expense of the quality of the next aspects for example course has good technical or graphical design but didactically problematic designed educational content, it has repeated mistakes by transferring the documents from the active educational activities into not good distance way, not using of the potential of the multimedia, not to cooperate with other participants etc. On the side of learning people, e-learning prepared in a bad quality supports the way to mindless and comfortable consuming information and knowledge (only preparation for a test without deep understanding content and context) against active and critical self-managed education, Account on all low quality of course simply deters interested persons in this form of education in future. Basic changes of the concept e-learning which require deep implementation of technologies in education some bright name actual theories reflected current situation and also are able to react to expecting development of technologies.
1. THEORETICAL CONCEPTS AND FUTURE OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES
Constructivism and connectivism are considered for influential theories in pedagogic and in other scientific disciplines. With development of technologies in education the attention was payed to connectivism because although that there is a fact that these theories were developing in the time before large development of educational technologies they are still able and inspirations necessary in creation of electronic educational area. Constructivism is used for theoretical output for transfer from active forms of e-learning. Cognitive constructivism tries to realize didactical progresses based on the assumption that knowing is realized constructing so that learning subject connects fragments of information from outside into logic structures and is able to work with them later . Just these constructivist expectations can in education fulfil informational and communicational technologies used in e-learning. Imagine of new educational technologies is able to show in two horizons. The first horizon is the near future of intensive connection of technology with personal and working life . Borders among education, private life and work by the influence of technologies will not only bright and online educational will become natural and everyday need. The further offers the imagine of artificial intelligent systems directly connected with a man what brings radical improvement cognitive and other skills of people. Currently we can in naming trends of e-learning and online education come from the current technologies especially in social internet (social media).
1.1 ELECTRONIC LEARNING AS A WAY TO LEARN
With the letter e we meet in connection with many words from e-business, e-banking, e-mail to e-learning. At the first sight it looks very simply. If the letter e with connection with post, banking and enterprising is the abbreviation for a word electronic also e-learning can´t be anything else than electronic learning. In spite of it in many discussions and dialogues about e-learning we focus that although we use the same word, the content of this word is for users of discussion often different. In other words, using the same word we speak about different things. Tapscott says that different interested groups in the field of education use the same words in naming of really different things and also presents the following chart where it is seen what different is using of words in two basic interested groups. Many authors say the same opinion and moreover they say that e-learning is the under distance education, online education is under e-learning and education supported by computer is under online education , , . As we can see, there are many definitions and no one is significant and exact in that e-learning is developing so fast that probably nobody is currently able to offer final definition. In closer view on offered e-learning programs however we can distinguish three basic, really different paradigms .
- Asynchronous (or in other words education supported by computer on web site)
- Synchronous (virtual classes)
- Combinational (external education with using the internet)
These three ways are really different and they are connected by one feature: using computers and nets for the support of learning and education. And here is the basis – core of the definition of e-learning: e-learning isn´t anything than a channel, way, by which we can be connected with students and provide them the way to learn. Our success is dependent on skills to use and combine in e-learning the most suitable and the easiest relevant methods and accesses so that we can address the wider group of students and not lose their skills, possibilities, options and requirements. When suggesting e-learning programme we must take to account three key factors.
- Mission and educational aims of programme,
- Our own opinions and values in the field of education,
- Skills, ways, preferences and requirements from students.
When the third factor usually is ignored and often not taken into account we will work with it very briefly in this article. Currently, we know a couple of educational styles of classification. The most common are the following three divisions :
- Activist, contemplator, theoretician and pragmatic,
- Left and right brain,
- Auditory, visual and kinesthetic.
1.2 LEARNING STYLES AND E-LEARNING
Activist, contemplator, theoretician and pragmatic: An activist, this type of students loves everything new and he wants to try it out immediately as well. If you give students-activists any task, they start to deal with it right away and they do it with very enthusiastically. They need to touch the things, they like to execute them, but they do not care about planning. They live for the presence and repetition is endlessly boring for them. They are convivial, social, liberal and vital.
Kolb’s learning theory sets out four distinct learning styles, which are based on a four-stage learning cycle. In this respect Kolb’s model is particularly elegant, since it offers both a way to understand individual people’s different learning styles, and also an explanation of a cycle of experiential learning that applies to us all.
Figure 1 Kolb’s learning styles and Gardner’s multiple intelligences in relation to learning Source .
The contemplator, student – contemplator likes to observe and thinks about what happened: he looks twice or even three times before he leaps. He likes to collect information first and then sort it out. These students are careful, conscientious and thorough people. They need to understand theory and logics of subjects and phenomenon that they are studying and they do not like subjectivity, ambiguity and those people, who act without the knowledge of the theoretical basis.
The pragmatics need to see how the ideas and notions could be applied, used and how they work in the everyday life. Their view on things is relatively simple: if something works in the real life, it is good, if something does not work, it is pointless to waste time thinking about the reason why it does not work. These students like to experiment, but they are not interested in the lengthy analyses of the results. They are fond of dealing with various problems. It is apparent that these four groups are boundary and majority of people have attributes of almost all of them.
The research from the last twenty years has showed that the cerebral hemispheres perform different functions. The left hemisphere of the brain specializes in academic aspects of the learning – language and mathematical processes, logical thoughts, processes and analysis. On the other hand, the right hemisphere provides creative thinking, music and visual sensations, colors and images and use of rhyme and rhythm. It is our metaphorical mind that is searching for analogies and patterns. The left brain, people with a dominant left hemisphere are often also called “linear students” . It is so because they prefer a slower, gradual collection of information. Right brain- people with a dominant right hemisphere, need to see the whole picture, get an overview of the case or issue at the very beginning. We call them also global students. According to experts in the field of neuro-linguistic programming Bandler and Grinder, we distinguish three different communication and learning styles. An auditory type, this type of student is learning with the biggest ease if he has a chance to listen to for example: audio tapes, lectures, debates, discussions, verbal instructions and tutorials. The visual type, visual type learns through visual notions. He prefers pictures, charts, reading, video materials and demonstrations. The kinesthetic prefers physical activities and a direct participation in the experiments, for instance. Even 70% of students are able to study regardless of the form of their study material, 10% are unable to study at all, but the remaining group – 20% is able to learn only when the study materials are presented in the form suited to their learning style. The learning styles and their influence upon the design of the study materials for e-learning. In the last section, we spoke about the most common learning styles , . It logically raises questions:
- Which of them is the most suitable for e-learning?
- What we have to take into consideration while designing the e-learning program that would be apt for everyone?
- Is it ever possible to design and create the e-learning program that would suit everyone?
The activists are attracted mostly by such e-learning program that would provide them with a number of different tasks, assignments and activities. Most probably they will try e-learning at least once, because it is new and they see it as a challenge to a certain degree. Therefore, it is very important that already their first experience would be as good as possible. The contemplator is almost a perfect student for the e-learning program if you give him enough opportunities for sorting out the information and repetition. From these students, you cannot expect to simply identify with the information that we gave them, if we do not give them adequate time and facilities for its “digestion” and classification. The theoreticians like well suited e-learning studying materials in any form as long as they are being built and presented logically and clearly. They are not interested in discovering of the things. They want to know the theoretical foundation and build on it step by step. The pragmatists will be satisfied with such a studying e-learning material that has a practical value for them. They do not want to build their own theories, they want to enjoy what works and can be used in the real life as soon as possible. Almost every e-learning studying material, which is built logically and linearly, suits students who are more using the left hemisphere. If we want to catch attention of students using mainly the right hemisphere, we have to present the e-learning studying materials holistically and with emphasis on the overall picture. The majority of the e-learning materials is too linear for this group, and therefore uninteresting. Students, who prefer auditory learning style, are too difficult to be addressed and attracted with the e-learning studying materials without sound. Consequently, the technical requirements are growing. Almost all e-learning materials are visual, so students who prefer this learning style might be considered as ideal e-students. The e-learning does not offer the kinesthetic type almost nothing from what they prefer and it is unlikely that this type of student would be successful in the e-learning program.
As far as strengthening of the specific role of ICT as a learning source, the significant progress is needed. The advantages of ICT have to be made use of. The goal is to exploit the potential of ICT mainly in terms of development of the creative and flexible processes, encouragement of the more active and responsible approaches to learning. There is a close relation between usage of the ICT during the classes and advantages, such as flexibility, interactivity, universal application in the education process. In order to achieve a strengthening of a specific task of the information and communication technologies as a source of learning, a significant progress in this field is needed. It is necessary to make use of the advantages of the information and communication technologies, which are highlighted by those involved in the educational systems’ activities. The goal is to exploit their potential mainly for development of the more independent and flexible processes and encouragement of the more active and responsible approaches to learning.
References Deming, W. E.: The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education. Cambridge, MA.1993. ISBN 978-0-262-54116-9.  Eger, L.: Efektivita e-learningu. Praha. ECON publishing. 2006. ISBN 80-86433-39-0.  Kalaš, I.: Recognizing the Potential of ICT in Early Childhood Education. Moskva. UNECO IITE. 2010. ISBN 978-5-90-517-5-03-9.  Kolb, A., D.: Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. New Jersey. Prentice Hall. 1983. ISBN 0132952610.  Mikulecká, J.: Pedagogika a nástroje e-learningu. Banská Bystrica. MPC. 2009. ISBN 978-80-8083-720-4.  Stager, G.: Constructionism and the Design of Productive Contexts for Learning. St. Barbara. Constructing modern knowledge press. 2005. ISBN 83-917700-8-7.  Tapscott, D.: Grown Up Digital. New York. McGraw. 2009. ISBN 978-0-07-150863-6.  Trilling, B., Fadel, CH.: 21st Century Skills. Learning for Life in our Times. Wiley. Jossey-Bass press. 2009. ISBN 978-0-470-47538-6.  Turčáni, M., Magdin, M.: Modelling the Student´s Transition Through the E-course. Nitra. UKF. 2012. ISBN 978-80-8094-691-3.  UNESCO ICT.: Competency Framework for Teachers. Paris. UNESCO. 2011.
PaedDr. Peter Polakovič, Ph.D.
Slovenská poľnohospodárska univerzita v Nitre
Tr. A. Hlinku 2,
949 76 Nitra
Slovak Republic (Europe)
Mgr. Ivana Slováková, PhD.
Inštitút cudzích jazykov
Technická univerzita Zvolen
T.G. Masaryka 24
960 53 Zvolen
Slovak Republic (Europe)
Doc. Dr. Peter Polakovič, PhD.
Katedra protipožiarnej ochrany
Technická univerzita Zvolen
T.G. Masaryka 24
960 53 Zvolen
Slovak Republic (Europe)
Ing. Jaroslav Vojtechovský, PhD.
Pracovisko: Fakulta managementu UK, Odbojárov 10, Bratislava
prof. RNDr. Michal Greguš, PhD.
Pracovisko: Fakulta managementu UK, Odbojárov 10, Bratislava
Digital Science Magazine, Číslo 1, Ročník VI., ISSN: 1339-3782