Accessibility of eLearning

Used elearning in developing countries

Used elearning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -
Number of replies: 2
what are the modifications we should used once moving to countries like sri lanka. though the litreacy rate is over 90%, still in IT sector concentrated on urban areas.and aslo awarness in IT secor still minimal.
In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Used elearning in developing countries

by Emma Duke-Williams -
I think it would be the same as anywhere else. Start at looking at awareness of what different users need. You'd have to add in the needs of ensuring that material is of low bandwidth requirement, if many users are on dialup internet connections rather than broadband, and also ensure that you don't use the latest video codecs etc., in case people have older computers.

It might be useful to look at how (accessible) material could be offered via CD, as well as online, so that more users could participate.

MOst of which, though is good practice. In the UK, not all students will have access to broadband internet connections at home, they may have to use Internet cafes etc.. Even if they have a computer at home, it could be several years old, thus using older technologies for creating materials means that they can access it. For the course that I teach online, we send the students a CD at the start of the year, with many of the videos etc., that they'll need. They are also streamed, but the students then have the choice.
In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Technical and social accesibility issues

by Alvaro Galvis -
I agree with Emma, a key point is to be aware of what is needed and the constrictions that may exist by the part of potential participants in eLearning processes. If you are dealing with science or math education, for instance, it would be good to promote local installation of simulation programs, instead of running them from the server. The same happens with multimedia curriculum materials. Local groups can explore them without an active Internet connection, provided that the materials are delivered using the appropriate channel, which in developing countries could be CD ROM, or local educational portals.

However, I think that the above only solves part of the accessibility problems. In my experience doing ICT-based teacher professional development in rural areas of Colombia and Peru, I have found that building local communities of learners really makes the difference. Having access to technology and digital information is not enough, it is a necessary condition. I have found that blended learning makes a difference, if it is more that just mixing online/onsite formats, since it requires both local and global learning communities.

I wonder if the above considerations only matter in developing countries. What is your experience?