TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.0 Background to the study
1.1 E learning in South Africa
1.2 Definition of terms
1.3 Technical and Vocational Education and Training
1.4 Development of TIVET in Kenya
1.5 Challenges and priorities in e- learning
1.6 Research Problem
1.7 Research Questions
1.8 Objectives of the Study
1.9 Rationalization and Justification of the Study
1.10 Significance of the study
1.11 Scope and Limitations of the Study
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 What is e-Learning
2.2 The E Learning Platform
2.3 HistoricalDevelopment of elearning
2.4 Goals and Benefits of E Learning
2.5 E Learning 2.0
2.6 Approaches to E Learning Services
2.6.2 Computer based Training
2.6.3 Computer based Collaborative Learning (CSCL)
2.7.4 Technology enhanced Learning (TEL)
2.7 Communication technologies used in E Learning
2.7.1 Learning Management Systems (LMS)
2.7.2 Computer Aided Assessment
2.7.3 Electronic Performance Support Systems
2.9 Pedagogical Perspectives
2.10Reusability, Standards and Learning Objects
2.11Technical Training Institutes in Nairobi
2.12 Theoretical Framework
2.12.1 The Diffusion of Innovation
2.12.2 Major facets of the diffusion theory
2.12.4 Relevance of diffusion theory
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.3 Ethical Consideration
CHAPTER FOUR: ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA
4.1 Questionnaire Return Rate
4.2 Discussion of the Findings
CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
CHAPTER ONE Introduction
1.0 Background to the study
As new technologies become less expensive and various forms of multimedia increasingly accessible, online learning environments become widely used for teaching and learning purposes. In particular, online education (e-learning), as experienced through computer-mediated communication (CMC), is being heralded as meeting the needs of course participants’ lifestyles by allowing them to juggle personal commitments, to manage time conflicts, and to access course materials from a variety oflocations (Zuochen, & Richard, 2010).
E-learning is essentially the computer and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. Elearning applications and processes include Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classroom opportunities and digital collaboration (Streng & Broll, 2008). Content is delivered via the Internet, intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV, and CD-ROM. It can be self-paced or instructor-led and includes media in the form of text, image, animation, streaming video and audio. This type of learning would be very appropriate to the TVET institutions (Streng & Broll, 2008).
Abbreviations like CBT (Computer-Based Training), IBT (Internet-Based Training) or WBT (Web-Based Training) have been used as synonyms to e-learning. Today one can still find these terms being used, along with variations of e-learning such as e learning, Elearning, and eleaming. These terms will be utilized throughout this thesis to indicate their validity under the broader terminology of e-learning.
The worldwide e-learning industry is estimated to be worth over $48 billion US according to conservative estimates (European Commission, 2000). Developments in internet and multimedia technologies are the basic enabler of e-learning, with consulting, content, technologies, services and support being identified as the five key sectors of the e-learning industry.
As the world adopts new technologies at a fast rate, e learning is expanding at an unprecedented rate in all parts of the world. In the US, online enrollments have continued to grow at rates far in excess of the total higher education student population. According to a study by Babson Survey Research Group, over 4.6 million students were taking at least one online course during the fall 2008 term (Allen, & Seaman, 2009). Allen and Seaman (2009), claim that almost a quarter of all students in post-secondary education were taking fully online courses in 2008, and a report by Ambient Insight Research suggests that in 2009, 44 per cent of post-secondary students in the USA were taking some or all of their courses online, and projected that this figure would rise to 81 percent by 2014. Thus it can be seen that e-learning is moving rapidly from the margins to being a predominant form of post-secondary education, at least in the USA.
The Sloan survey of Online Learning (Allen, & Seaman, 2009) reveals that enrollment has increased whereby almost one million students from a year earlier. The survey of more than 2,500 colleges and universities nationwide finds approximately 5.6 million students were enrolled in at least one online course in the Fall of 2009, the most recent term for which figures are available. In the US, many higher education, for-profit institutions, now offer on-line classes.
By contrast, only about half of private, non-profit schools offer them. The Sloan Report, based on a poll of academic leaders, indicated that students generally appear to be at least as satisfied with their on-line classes as they are with traditional ones. Private institutions may become more involved with on-line presentations as the cost of instituting such a system decreases. Properly trained staff must also be hired to work with students on-line. These staff members need to understand the content area, and also be highly trained in the use of the computer and Internet. Online education is rapidly increasing, and online doctoral programs have even developed at leading research universities (Allen, & Seaman, 2010).
In Europe, e-learning was assigned a key role in the pursuit of the European Union (EU) policy objective, announced at the Lisbon Summit in March 2000, of making the EU ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-driven economy in the world. E - Learning has created new markets for teaching and learning material and equipment, attracting the attention of academic institutions as well as companies supplying them in different sectors - computer manufacturers, software producers, publishing houses and special training providers. It has also led to the reorientation of government policy, in the European Union (EU) in particular, towards encouraging the spread of e-learning techniques and developing the skills and know- how required for their use. Despite its central importance in government policy and significant interest in the scale of the actual and potential market, there is an acute shortage of quantitative information on the extent of e-learning in providing initial and continuing vocational education and training and on the rate at which it is growing.
1.1 E-learning in South Africa
The government of South Africa has a strong commitment to ICT development and integration into the education system. Consequently the South African government has adopted a comprehensive approach of widening access and deepening the quality of the education system through the introduction of a new curriculum and secondly the implementation of a White Paper on e-Education to support the roll-out of the curriculum. The new curriculum aims to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and values necessary for self-fulfillment and meaningful participation in the society, irrespective of their socio-economic background, culture, race, gender, physical ability or intellectual ability. The government is piloting a dedicated education network called the EduNet that will connect all schools and make connectivity affordable to teachers and learners. The aim is to achieve the practical benefits of digital technology at the secondary school and tertiary levels (Naledi Pandor, 2007)
On the other hand, E Learning is well developed in South African Universities such as UNISA (University of South Africa), University of Pretoria and the University of Johannesburg. UNISA recently switched from the Learning Management System to a free open source platform called Sakai. With this they are able to meet their needs with the help of the open source development community (Moller, 2009). It also uses mobile phones for communication with students (Kinuthia & Dagada, 2008). The University of Pretoria has a department called Telematic Learning and Education Innovation which assists academic staff in learning design activities. The same system is used by University of Johannesburg although it has some big classes which are given extra support through the provision of online materials and questions. According to Kinuthia and Dagada (2008), all courses in the University of Pretoria, have some component delivered online through WebCT Learning Management System.
1.2 Definition of Terms
a) E-learning: This is essentially the computer and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. E-learning applications and processes include Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classroom opportunities and digital collaboration. Content is delivered via the Internet, intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV, and CD-ROM. It can be self-paced or instructor-led and includes media in the form of text, image, animation, streaming video and audio (Barajas, & Owen, 2000).
b) CBL (Computer - Based Learning): Computer-based learning, sometimes abbreviated to CBL, refers to the use of computers as a key component of the educational environment. While this can refer to the use of computers in a classroom, the term more broadly refers to a structured environment in which computers are used for teaching purposes (Bolyard, 1989).
c) CBT (Computer-Based Training), IBT (Internet-Based Training) or WBT (Web- Based Training): Computer-Based Trainings (CBTs) are self-paced learning activities accessible via a computer or handheld device. CBTs typically present content in a linear fashion, much like reading an online book or manual. For this reason, they are often used to teach static processes, such as using software or completing mathematical equations. The term Computer-Based Training is often used interchangeably with Web-based training (WBT) with the primary difference being the delivery method. Where CBTs are typically delivered via CD-ROM, WBTs are delivered via the Internet using a web browser (Bolyard, 1989).
d) Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL): Computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL) is one of the most promising innovations to improve teaching and learning with the help of modern information and communication technology. Most recent developments in CSCL have been called E-Learning 2.0, but the concept of collaborative or group learning whereby instructional methods are designed to encourage or require students to work together on learning tasks has existed much longer. It is widely agreed to distinguish collaborative learning from the traditional ’direct transfer’ model in which the instructor is assumed to be the distributor of knowledge and skills, which is often given the neologism E-Learning 1.0, even though this direct transfer method most accurately reflects Computer-Based Learning systems (CBL) (Bolyard, 1989).
e) Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL): Technology enhanced learning (TEL) has the goal to provide socio-technical innovations (also improving efficiency and cost effectiveness) for e-learning practices, regarding individuals and organizations, independent of time, place and pace. The field of TEL therefore applies to the support of any learning activity through technology (Bolyard, 1989).
f) Learning Management System (LMS) & Learning Content Management System (LCMS). A learning management system (LMS) is software used for delivering, tracking and managing training/education. LMSs range from systems for managing training/educational records to software for distributing courses over the Internet and offering features for online collaboration.
A content Learning Management System (LCMS) is software for authoring, editing and indexing e-learning content (courses, reusable content objects). An LCMS may be solely dedicated to producing and publishing content that is hosted on an LMS, or it can host the content itself. A LMS allows for teachers and administrators to track attendance, time on task, and student progress. LMS also allows for not only teachers and administrators to track these variables but parents and students as well. Parents can log on to the LMS to track grades. Students log on to the LMS to submit homework and to access the course syllabus and lessons (Bolyard, 1989).
g) CD-ROM: This term refers to "Compact Disc Read-only Memory". It is a pre-pressed compact disc that contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback. This is the most appropriate for technical institutions in Kenya as it’s easy to use, flexible and cheap (Bates, & Poole, 2003).
h) Satellite TV: Satellite television is television delivered by the means of communications satellite and received by an outdoor antenna, usually a parabolic mirror generally referred to as a satellite dish, and as far as household usage is concerned, a satellite receiver either in the form of an external set-top box or a satellite tuner module built into a TV set. Satellite TV tuners are also available as a card or a USB stick to be attached to a personal computer. In many areas of the world satellite television provides a wide range of channels and services, often to areas that are not serviced by terrestrial or cable providers.
i) Video Conferencing: A videoconference or video conference (also known as a video teleconference) is a set of interactive telecommunication technologies which allow two or more locations to interact via two-way video and audio transmissions simultaneously. It has also been called ’visual collaboration’ and is a type of groupware (Bates, and Poole, 2003).
j) Computer Based Assessment: Computer-aided Assessment (also but less commonly referred to as E-assessment), ranging from automated multiple-choice tests to more sophisticated systems is becoming increasingly common. With some systems, feedback can be geared towards a student’s specific mistakes or the computer can navigate the student through a series of questions adapting to what the student appears to have learned or not learned (Bates, A. and Poole, G. 2003).
1.3 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TIVET)
Technical and Vocational Education and Training involves, general education and the study of technologies and related sciences and the acquisition of practice, skills and knowledge relating to an occupation in various sectors of economic and social life (UNESCO, 1984 p. 30). This is in line with Kenya development plans since independence which emphasized producing a properly and effectively trained, disciplined and patriotic youth that can in turn make a positive contribution to the development of the nation. Developments in the last three decades have made the role of TVET more decisive; the globalization process, technological change, and increased competition due to trade liberalization necessitates requirements of higher skills and productivity among workers in both modern sector firms and Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE). Skills development encompasses a broad range of core skills (entrepreneurial, communication, financial and leadership) so that individuals are equipped for productive activities and employment opportunities (wage employment, self-employment and income generation activities).
The Bonn Resolution of October 2004 noted that TIVET is the “Master Key” for alleviation of poverty, promotion of peace, and conservation of the environment, in order to improve the quality of human life and promote sustainable development. Kenya can reorient itself towards sustainable development, using TIVET as a vehicle for socio-economic and technological transformation. It is critical that Kenya, through TIVET meets the challenges of increased unemployment, poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation. The skills development is important for economic growth, poverty alleviation, youth and women’s empowerment and social inclusion. Nevertheless, the role of TIVET is absent to a large extent in most policy documents. This gap is particularly ‘puzzling’; Governments and donor countries consistently emphasize the need for concerted efforts to build the human assets of the poor. Yet TIVET is accorded limited importance in donor financing schemes and discussions since the late 80s’ (Bennell, 1999).
Several countries such as Italy, Brazil, China, Sweden and Japan have given more recognition to TIVET through adequate funding. As a result, students get exposed to vocational training and to a culture of scientific investigation and application at an early age. In Europe, at least 50 percent of the students in upper secondary education pursue some form of technical or vocational education. In China, India and South East Asia the figure is 35-40 percent, whereas in Africa it is less than 20 percent.
The foregoing explanation shows that technical training is crucial for the development of a country. In Kenya these institutions have been undergoing a lot of changes as the country gears towards production of manpower for the realization of Vision 2030. Among these changes has been the adoption of information communication technologies (ICT) in all modes of its operations and especially in enhancing the learning environment. The integration of ICTs in education is a global concern. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have a great impact in education especially in this era of knowledge economy and information society. The use of computers in education in particular promises better and improved methods of content delivery, as well as expanding the available teaching and learning resources. The ministry has put a lot of emphasis and support on ICTs as documented in the Kenya Education Sector Support Program (KESSP).
Currently there are 67 training institutes across the country both government and privately sponsored. Due to the importance of these institutes in national development, this study will focus on their developments especially when it comes to integrating e learning into the teaching environment. However due to constraints of time and resources, it will be possible to look at the government sponsored institutes within Nairobi.
1.4 Development of TVET in Kenya
TVET as an art and science began in Kenya long before the arrival of the Europeans. Kenyans knew how to build their own houses, make agricultural implements, spears, knives, hoes, axes, cooking utensils and pottery. Traditionally, these skills were passed on from parents to offspring within the family or clan through an apprenticeship system (Okaka, 2001). The coming of the Europeans and the decision to build the Kenya-Uganda railway attracted Indian traders and labourers who, beginning in 1924, were instrumental in the training of artisans and craftsmen at the Kabete Industrial Training Depot. Christian missionaries brought in technicians and made an effort to train Kenyans in different skills to assist in the maintenance of tools, equipment and services for the railway.
The Second World War brought a greater influx of people, more sophisticated equipment and machinery, and a greater need for training. The army corps was established and recruitment on a very large scale began among Kenyans. There was a need for drivers, motor mechanics, builders, electricians, welders, carpenters and clerks. The early 1950s saw industrial depots being upgraded to vocational schools and, by the early 1960s, they were further converted into secondary vocational schools. A major breakthrough for TVET in Kenya was the setting up of a Commission for Higher Education in 1954, whose main recommendation was the establishment of the Royal Technical College in Nairobi.
This institution later became the Nairobi University College and, subsequently, the University of Nairobi. The Mombasa Institute of Muslim Education was already in existence, having been established in 1948 to provide technical and vocational education to Muslim students in East Africa. It was converted into the Mombasa Technical Institute and later became the Mombasa Polytechnic in 1972. In 1961, the Kenya Polytechnic was established to provide basic craft courses, which were phased out after 1966 following the introduction of similar courses in technical and vocational schools. Currently, there are four national polytechnics. Since independence, there has been a tremendous growth and development of TVET as a result of direct government intervention and involvement, as well as through community participation.
1.5 Challenges and Priorities in e-Learning
Recent years have witnessed considerable enthusiasm and contestation regarding the role of ICT in addressing educational challenges in Africa (Keats 2007, Pye & Stephenson 2003, Leach 2005). Much debate surrounds the question of whether introducing technology into education and promoting e Learning has instigated positive change across the continent.
A study by David Hollow and ICWE (2009), identified the challenges and priorities of practitioners within the arena of e Learning in Africa, A summary of the findings is as explained below.
The three most significant consequences of introducing e-Learning are perceived to be the possibility for higher student motivation, improved student attainment, and increased value of education amongst the community. Clear priorities for eLearning practitioners relate to effective training and increased bandwidth. Significant limitations are the associated start up and maintenance costs, combined with the risk of equipment theft.
Practitioners place clear emphasis on the importance of donor funding. However, questions remain surrounding the viability of funding initiatives which are unsustainable without long term donor support. Perhaps a more appropriate focus for donors is in creating an enabling environment, through provision of necessary electricity and bandwidth infrastructure, within which a broader array of eLearning activities may become independently viable. Effective monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment remain a priority for the development of eLearning in Africa. This should be viewed as an integral aspect of each programme and structured in such a way as to contribute to the capacity development of participants (Morgan 2004).
The promotion of collaboration and knowledge sharing through the development of transparent multi-stakeholder partnerships is central to overcoming the significant challenges currently faced by e-learning practitioners (Unwin 2009). The overall rationale for e-learning in Africa is still overly grounded in technology driven agendas. There are encouraging signs that pedagogy is being increasingly prioritized but sustained work is required to ensure that the potential of eLearning continues to progress beyond simply training for ICT and focuses instead on educational outcomes.
1.6 Research Problem
Current data on distance and e-learning efforts in Kenyan higher education institutions (HEIs) is limited and/or out-dated. Most of the literature does not address recent e-learning technologies. Hence “there is a dearth of information, research...and the educational use of ICTs in school education in general and particularly in Africa.” (Isaacs, 2002, p 2).
This research study sought to fill this gap by examining current distance and e-learning efforts especially on the challenges faced in rolling out these platforms in tertiary institutions in Nairobi. The study focused on TIVET institutions. Post primary education in Kenya has been expanding at an unprecended rate. This is partly explained by the rapid population explosion and the increase levels of access to education. All students are unable to get absorbed into secondary schools after completion the primary level. Hence TIVET institutions absorb a greater proportion of these students. For example out of the approximate 600,000 graduates of primary education in the year 2006, only 55% (350,000) of these proceeded to secondary schools. Also at the end of the secondary cycle only 20,000 proceeded to universities, the rest (200,000) were expected to be catered for by the middle level colleges and TIVET institutions whose existing capacity is inadequate (Kenya Education Report, 2006).
This shows that a majority of students end up getting their training in these institutions. The government should then develop platforms which are efficient in delivering content to a wide range of students. One of these platforms is the e-learning platform. As a developing country Kenya is keen on increasing access of information technology in all levels of education. Education is acknowledged as a means for transforming and empowering communities. The youth especially gain skills, knowledge and attitudes to enable them become productive members of the society (Simiyu, 2007). Education contributes to sustainable development, and is recognized in Kenya as a priority area of development intervention as is reflected in policy documents.
Institutions of higher learning are taking the lead in implementing programs that entail various components of information technology. This is in tandem with the developments going on in other parts of the world. The aim is to make students acquire skills through a platform that is efficient and interesting to learners. Several challenges are however encountered in the roll out and implementation of these platforms. This applies to both the government and the institutes. It is the aim of this study to research the challenges faced by these institutes as they embark integrating the e learning platform to the learning environment.
1.7 Research Questions
The following research questions have been put forward to be investigated:
(1) Have technical institutions in Nairobi adopted the use of ICT for learning?
(2) How are lecturers and students responding to the use of ICT for learning?
(3) Which challenges do the technical institutions face in the use of e-learning?
(4) Do faculty receive training to acquire competence for e-learning?
1.8 Objectives of the Study
(1) To assess the level of use of e-learning in technical institutions in Nairobi.
(2) To determine the challenges that technical institutions face in the use of e learning
(3) To evaluate the response oflecturers and students to the e-learning platform.
(4) To determine the training that the lecturers need for implementation of e-learning.
1.9 Justification of the Study
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have a great impact in education especially in this era of knowledge economy and information society. The integration of ICTs in education is a global concern. The use of computers in education in particular promises better and improved methods of content delivery, as well as expanding the available teaching and learning resources. ICT captures all the latest technologies used for communication, data processing and data storage. Computer based learning and teaching makes learning more efficient and more interesting hence addressing the problem of quality of education (Boulton. 2008).
E-leaming introduces more interactive approaches to the traditional teaching and learning process. This broadens the available resources for teaching and learning hence taking care of a broader category of learners. This is the kind of objective envisaged by the technical training institutes as they cater for a large number of learners who are unable to proceed to higher education through the normal formal channels. The aim of technical and vocational education is to lead participants to acquire the practical skills, knowhow and understanding, necessary for employment in a particular occupation, trade or group of occupations (Atchoarena, & Delluc, 2001).
As the country gears up to achieving Vision 2030, it is imperative to study and strengthen the role of TIVET institutions. If strengthened, TIVET will be invaluable in furnishing skills required to improve productivity, raise income levels and improve access to employment opportunities (Bennell, 1999). Developments in the last three decades have made the role of TIVET more decisive; the globalization process, technological change, and increased competition due to trade liberalization necessitates requirements of higher skills and productivity among workers in both modern sector firms and Micro and Small Enterprises (MSE).
This study explored the challenges faced by TIVETs within the County of Nairobi as they roll out e-learning platforms and efforts being made to overcome them. This is meant to inform both the government through the Ministry of Higher Education on what needs to be done at policy level to avail the necessary infrastructure and funds to these institutes of technology. These are the institutes to be used to catalyze the innovation and entrepreneurship pillar of Vision 2030 (Ministry ofHigher Education, 2011).
1.10 Significance of the Study
Kenya is among the countries that are geared towards Education for All (EFA), a process that will lead to vastly increased numbers of young people completing primary and secondary education in the coming years. Correspondingly, technical institutions must determine ways of increasing enrolments in their programmes. Exploring alternative methods of making programmes attractive will allow TVET to reach out to many young people and adults by preparing them for the real possibilities of frequent career changes, including alternating periods of employment and unemployment. E-learning has the potential to change education and training radically, to open new ways of teaching and to increase the ability of people to acquire new skills. Its development is important for governments looking to widen access to education and training and to increase the qualifications of those entering the labour market and for companies seeking new business opportunities or to maintain or strengthen their competitiveness through continuously improving productivity. The study may yield findings that can be used as examples of good practice for improving the attractiveness ofTIVET institutions (Simiyu, J. W., 2005). E-learning is meant to create new markets for teaching and learning material or equipment and attracting the attention of academic institutions as well as companies supplying them in different sectors - computer manufacturers, software producers, publishing houses and special training providers. It has also led to the reorientation of government policy, towards encouraging the spread of e-learning techniques and developing the skills and know-how required for their use. The four TIVET institutions under study provided useful information that is crucial to the government and other institutions willing to implement e-learning. This study will enable other institutions come up with better ways of surmounting any challenges that they will encounter as they mount the e-learning platform.
1.11 Scope and Limitations of the study
This study covered all the public technical training institutes in Nairobi County, These are four in number: Kabete, PC Kinyanjui, Nairobi and Karen Technical Training Institutes. Due to constraints of resources and time a sample of two was selected from the four colleges for the collection of data. These institutes are under the Ministry of Education Science and Technology and are playing a crucial role in the developing the needed manpower. The study yielded detailed data which can be applied to the other technical training institutes in the country as they roll out e-learning platforms.
- Quote paper
- Ruth Muia (Author), 2011, Challenges of Adoption of ICT in Technical Training Institutions within Nairobi County, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/184127