Innovations in Learning and Development
The twenty-first century witnessed innovative practices in the advancement of learning in the developed world as a consequence of the technological revolution of the period and the increased demand for higher education (Bax, 2011; Barab, King and Gray, 2004; Roman, 2001). Education was perceived as the cornerstone for development, sustainability and modernisation (Fitzpatrick and Davies, 2003).
The booming of open, distance and e-learning changed the quality of lives for people as it offered additional venues to higher education that overcame problems of exclusivity and scarcity, specifically at times of shrinking public funding (Dhanarajan, 2011). The founding of the Open University in Britain in 1969 targeted limitless audience with innovative teaching and learning modes. Since it was founded, more than 1.5 million students have studied its courses. The Open University was rated “top university in England and Wales” for student satisfaction in 2005, 2006 and 2012.
The developing world sought to replicate the success afforded through innovative learning practices. The Arab region engaged in extensive reformation to allow for new systems of learning that would provide for accessible and diversified opportunities to learners at an acceptable cost. However, concerns were voiced along the axis of equality and social justice (Wilson, Liber, Johnson, Beauvoir, Sharples and Milligan, 2007; Dudeney, 2007). Arguments associated innovative learning modes with polarizing the developed and developing countries, the promotion of western thought, and furthering socioeconomic substrating. Debates emerged on the pedagogic fit of the new promoted approaches for the region, allegations of social isolation, drop rates, faculty strain, urban concentration, in addition to a number of scholastic uncertainties.
A survey was conducted on a random sample of learners studying through an innovative hybrid mode of learning to explore participants’ perception of the new system. Two thousand and five hundred students took the survey from all faculties at the Arab Open University in Lebanon. The survey was conducted for the periods of Fall and Spring 2012-2013. It ensured anonymity of participants for validity of results.
The findings are the following:
- Innovative learning systems have had an impact on the societies in the developing world
- Open learning has been a means for gaining academic qualifications and has provided a solution for mass education in the region
- It specifically helped develop learners from working backgrounds, underprivileged groups and females
Efforts need to focus on:
- Enhancing awareness campaigns on open education in the developing world
- Customizing material to suit the developmental needs of learners in the region as well as their cultural context
- Assuring quality of material used in nontraditional education in the region
Aldrich, C. (2003). Simulations and the Future of Learning: An Innovative (and perhaps revolutionary) Approach to E-Learning. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Al-Khatib, H. (2011). “Cross Border Education; a Quest for Social Justice or a Case for Cultural Imperialism?” Cambridge International Conference on Internationalisation and Social Justice. Cambridge University. Cambridge, United Kingdom 25-28 September.
Barab, S. and Duffy, T. (2004). From practice fields to communities of practice, Theoretical Foundations of Learning Environments. N.J: Laurence Erlbaum. pp. 25 – 56.
Barab, S. King, R. and Gray, J. (eds.) (2004) Designing for Virtual Communities in the Service of Learning. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.
Bax, S. (2011). Normalization revisited: the effective use of technology in language education, in International Journal of Computer-Assisted Language Learning and Teaching (I). CALLT, 1, 2: pp.1-15.
Carty, W. (1999). Distance education in the developing world. The Advising Quarterly. Summer issue.
Dhanarajan, G. (2001). Distance Education: Promise, Performance and Potential. Open Learning Vol. 16, No. 1.
Disessa, A. (2000). Changing Minds: Computers, Learning and Literacy. Cambridge, Massachusettes: MIT Press.
Dudeney, G. (2007). The Internet and the Language Classroom. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.
Egyptian Universities Network (2013) www.eun.eg
Fadlallah, A. (2011), Bridging the gap in digital divide. Cambridge International Conference on Open, Distance and E-learning. Cambridge. Conference Proceedings.
Fitzpatrick, A., and Davies, G. (eds.) (2003). The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on the Teaching of Foreign Languages and the Role of Teachers of Foreign Languages. EC Directorate General of Education and Culture.
Guy, R. (1999). Work related skills in primary and secondary schools. AVETRA conference proceedings.
Hubbard, P. (2009). Computer Assisted Language Learning, Vol. I-IV. Routledge. London. New York.
Kimber, K. (2003). Technoliteracy, Teacher Agency and Design: Shaping a Digital Learning Culture. Queensland University of Technology, Australia.
Libyan Open University. (2004). www.libopenuniv.edu.gov.
Majdalawi, A. (2005). Distance Higher Education in the Arab region. Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, Vol. VIII, No.1.
Mathews, D. (1999). “The origins of distance education”. T.H.E. Journal. September issue.
McCormick, J. (2000). The New School. Newsweek 24 April.
Muthui, W. and Gachiengo, P. (1999). “Should the internet be a development priority in Kenya?” Stanford Journal of international Relations, Vol.1, No. 2 spring/Summer issue.
Noble, D. (1999). First Monady, Vol.3, No.1, January issue.
Potashnik, M., and Capper, J. (1998). Distance education: growth and diversity. Finance and Development, vol.35, no. 1. March issue.
Resnick, D. (2000). “ The virtual university and college life”. First Monday, vol.5, No. 8. August issue.
Richards, C. (2003). ICT – Supported Learning Environments: The Challenge of Reconciling Technology and Pedagogy. Proceedings of international conference on computers in Education.
Roman, G. (2001). Online Learning Report. Branching Out, Vol.1, No.4. March issue.
Samoff, J. (2003). Institutionalizing International Influence. Comparative Education: The Dialectic of the Global and the Local. Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield, Second Edition.
UNESCO (2002a). Globalization and Higher Education, case study-Arab States, First Global Forum on International Quality Assurance, Accreditation and the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education, October 17-18, 2002, Paris: UNESCO.
UNESCO (2002b). Open and Distance Learning, Trends, Policy and Strategy Considerations. Paris: UNESCO.
UNDP Human Development Report (1999).
Wilson, S. Liber, O. Johnson, M. Beauvoir, P. Sharples, P. and Milligan, C. (2007). Personal Learning Environments: Challenging the Dominant Design of Educational Systems, in Journal of e-Learning and Knowledge Society.
Copyright (c) 2015 Journal of Learning for Development - JL4D
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).