eLearning in Developing Countries: October 2-22, 2007

Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Number of replies: 54
What are some of the barriers encountered in developing countries?

The following information from the Commonwealth of Learning should provide some insight into the situation: The Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

Yes there are some barriers,

1.       Lack of resources-Computers to experts

2.       Problem with the infrastructure..(now I am using my dial-up connection at home…if I want to attach some thing then I will take minutes, some times suddenly it will goes down…mean time I have to pay “per minute basis”

3.       No proper direction-

4.       Low awareness level of eLearning

5.       Political factors-some time might be number one in the priority list)

 

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Derek Chirnside -
Nalin, You are quite right of course.  I do not have much first hand experience.
And:
Your point 1.  OK.
Your point 2.  OK.  Sometimes a problem where I work, but decreasingly so.  We code for 56K modems still. black eye We have another problem with electric fences. 

Your points 3-5: direction, awareness and politics - all are endemic where I come from as well.  I think in my contact with the so called developing countries I see sadly some repetition of mistakes made elsewhere.  On the other hand I see some scenarios where there is a whole different attitude to education: a sense of gratefulness, engagement and value.  (Sometimes missing on my own back door)

I wonder what is UNIQUE to the developing countries scenarios?
I wonder what an Appreciative Inquiry approach to these settings could yield?
In reply to Derek Chirnside

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

Derek,I also agree with you. In Sri Lanka literacy rate is 90%.but because of the problem of the resources (only 14 universities operating throughout the island) only 14% of the advanced level students will go to the University. Remaining 86% do have problems. some select professional courses while affluent will go for foreign universities. Once foreign universities try to establish under Sri Lankan university system then politics comes in to play. they argue that this will affect to the free education(in which  our country up to advance level students can have total free education).but these people don’t know (or know) that well to do people will go to foreign education and this will affect to so called “middle income category”. I think this scenario unique to the developing countries (but I wonder about our higher literacy rate-it is exceptional!).<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

I always think human factor affect lot. Though there is an argument of lack of resources and infrastructure we should concern about utilization of resources. For that I think there is a need of good leadership. In our countries ADB and some donators always help for the development of e-Learning. But once they did their job we have to discuss about the sustainability of that project too. thats why  I am thinking at least two three years they should work with locals and should understand the best outfit too..

In reply to Derek Chirnside

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Emma Duke-Williams -
Your points 3-5: direction, awareness and politics - all are endemic where I come from as well.  I think in my contact with the so called developing countries I see sadly some repetition of mistakes made elsewhere.  On the other hand I see some scenarios where there is a whole different attitude to education: a sense of gratefulness, engagement and value.  (Sometimes missing on my own back door)

I'd agree with Derek that those points aren't unique to the Majority world! I'd also agree with his point that we can see both the repetition of mistakes - and a whole different attitude.

I know that the One Laptop Per Child Initiative has attracted a lot of attention - from those that think it's a wonderful idea, to those that view it with some scepticism (mostly that the money spent on it might well be spent in other areas of Education in those countries), to those that are convinced that it's just going to bring in more porn/scammers/whatever. I'm personally wavering between the "wonderful idea" (I really like the constructivist educational approach, and the way that they've worked with the hardware is great), and the "somewhat sceptical" (I've been in too many classrooms that have had fewer desks than children, that have leaked in the rain, that haven't had enough books to go round... and seen the numbers of children not in school).

Derek's mentioned a "whole different attitude to education" I hope that the OLPC project does that :) 
In reply to Derek Chirnside

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by violeta cautin -
HI!
I hope it's not too late to join the discussion.  I guess that in order to know what's specifically different here I have to compare it to what you have.  I am imagining that you don not have problems with connectivity, I imagine that in all Europe you enjoy free super fast wireless bandwidth, but maybe you don't.  I imagine that bandwidth is a major issue because for example you debate a lot about Second Life and its educational use, but I can't get it to work in my pc due to 1. bandwidth and 2. my AMD 1.1 pc with 256 RAM (so probably the cost of accessing new hardware technology is another, too)
Language is another barrier, too.  There's not access to many resources or even to these discussions if you don't speak English. For example, I have studied English all my life, but I'm still very unconfident to write in academic settings.  I can predict that whatever happens with Spain will happen with Chile (in terms of use of internet for educational purposes)  because we are always copying things and policies from the only developed Spanish speaking country we have as role model.

One thing that I found interesting is the fact that in some places (in developed countries) educators have problems accessing sites like youtube from their university or other places, but here you can access whatever site you want. I guess that's an advantage we have because people is so not worried about internet or censoring sites if they haven't started reflecting about them he he he :)  The reflection is so poor that our previous President started a program called "Mi primer PC" with was intended to provide computers for all families in Chile.  They sold those computers through some department stores in installments - HUGE interest rates - And the supposedly cheap computers had old Pentium processors (Why not AMD which is much cheaper?) and came with WINDOWS!!! So when those families -that still think the brand of the monitor is the brand of the computer- bought those old pcs ended up paying almost 40% of the cost just for the Windows.
Now our current President signed a contract that forces all public institutions to use Microsoft software.  Imagine the consequences for public educational intitutions.  Ah, and the contract says that as soon as any chilean is born, he/she will be given a free hotmail (mns) account -- what?  so as soon as any Chilean is born Microsoft will know it and add it to its records.... isn't that strange?  
Well I am not into politics at all, but I cannot not criticize these political decisions that affect mostly the ones that have no idea about computers.

I think another point that haven't been covered in this discussion is copyright.  Here in Chile copying, burning, distributing, etc etc is normal and
you'll find a cracked windows or software in almost any computer.  If you plan to "educate" about that I imagine you'll encounter a lot of resistance. People do not see the real value of open software if they have free commercial software anyway.
In reply to violeta cautin

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Emma Duke-Williams -
I am imagining that you don not have problems with connectivity, I imagine that in all Europe you enjoy free super fast wireless bandwidth, but maybe you don't.

I can't talk about the rest of Europe, but where I am in the UK, we do have Wireless broadband round the university. However, it's not that "superfast" - especially when there are several users all trying to access it at the same time.
In the home setting, I believe that about 95% of households have access to broadband (wired), but, it's not free, and clearly not all households have it. As with many things, those that could benefit the most (e.g. living in remote areas) are the least likely to have it. (I was talking to a friend at the weekend  whose mother still doesn't have mains electricity ...)

The other thing, that i always try to do, is to link to things like video files - rather than embedding them; so that those students that do have slow connections don't get bored waiting for the page to load. Yes, it can mean that you don't have quite the multimedia page that people suggest you should have - but it does mean that you don't lose those with poor connections.
It's hard though - a video embedded can look nice, it's balancing up the appearance with the practicality.

For example, I have studied English all my life, but I'm still very unconfident to write in academic settings.  I can predict that whatever happens with Spain will happen with Chile (in terms of use of internet for educational purposes)  because we are always copying things and policies from the only developed Spanish speaking country we have as role model.

Your English looks pretty good to me! I, like many other UK citizens,  struggle to do more than ask for a pint of beer and to say "Hello" in Spanish/ French/ German. I always have a lot of admiration for those who enrol on courses in the UK - or who, like you, take part in online discussions.

Now our current President signed a contract that forces all public institutions to use Microsoft software.  Imagine the consequences for public educational intitutions.  Ah, and the contract says that as soon as any chilean is born, he/she will be given a free hotmail (mns) account -- what?  so as soon as any Chilean is born Microsoft will know it and add it to its records.... isn't that strange?  
That sounds a very strange contract. It makes me start to wonder what's in it for him/ his advisors ... But, giving babies Hotmail accounts - are Chilean Babies much better than UK babies at typing. I'm just having a little laugh at the thought of babies sitting on their mothers' laps typing emails...

I think another point that haven't been covered in this discussion is copyright.  Here in Chile copying, burning, distributing, etc etc is normal and you'll find a cracked windows or software in almost any computer.
When I lived in Papua New Guinea it was exactly the same ... much of the software was cracked. According to various people that I spoke to, Bill Gates liked coming to PNG for the diving - with his very expensive boat. Rumour had it that Microsoft didn't bother chasing local software copiers, because he knew that most fishermen are pretty handy with dynamite for fishing ... and having a boat in the same water ...
Well, I don't know how true that bit was, but he certainly visited a lot, and there was a *lot* of pirated software.

To get to a more serious point, I've also come across the view, within the UK and elsewhere, that if you're paying for it, by definition it *must* be better than something you get for free. Almost like a prestige type thing.
In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by violeta cautin -

Well, little by little it's Europe demystified for me.  :/ big grin Bye bye dreams of moving to a country with superfast free wireless internet.  Connection is similar to what you describe, but I suspect it's more expensive here.  For example I was paying half a minimun wage a month for regular internet connection (broadband).  Is it the same proportion there?

Well, thanks for your comments about my English.  I must add that I've been studying it for at least 5 hours a week since I was 11 (17 years ago) .  Now, it takes me 3 or 4 times longer to write a post in English that it would take me to write it in Spanish- I would be more that happy to help you with your Spanish if needed :)

Well, I have to admit that I'm an advocate of free "por la razon o la fuerza" as our national moto says.  thoughtful

 

In reply to violeta cautin

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Emma Duke-Williams -
From Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries by viovio on 05 October 2007 16:34:00:
For example I was paying half a minimun wage a month for regular internet connection (broadband).  Is it the same proportion there?

Gosh .... no. Here, you could get a broadband connection (possibly not the fastest, and with a limit on the downloads) for less than two hours of the minimum wage (currently £5.52/hour). [For comparison, I've just checked the website of Tesco - a supermarket that has online ordering & a loaf of bread would be anything between 30p for a very basic loaf, to over £1 for a premium one - and petrol is close to £1.00 a litre]. So, in comparison, broadband, while not free, isn't that expensive.

Obviously I can't talk about the rest of Europe, but certainly the cost of broadband is something that has to be taken into account for many learners - and while it's not the same proportion of take home pay in Europe as it is in the majority world, it's still something we have to remember to consider when students look at studying from home.
In reply to violeta cautin

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Colby Stuart -
Violeta, our group is researching - around the world - how to set up a training and learning program for children and parents to learn the role that values play in their lives. It is called Kids 2020: their Visions & Strategies for a Preferred Future. We have learned so much about these issues and contradictions.

You have illustrated very clearly a strong dynamic between political decisions, quality and affordability of access to broadband and hardware, and levels of experience and performance with all of these issues. In so many corrupted political systems, the people who want to learn - and could have access to online learning opportunities - face so many barriers that they feel exhausted and frustrated just trying to get around these barriers. Financial and legal contradictions also have many fuzzy edges. Open Source is not only about copyright. It's about contribution, building on knowledge and sharing that in wider communities to help reduce limitations.

Language is one of the greatest barriers. People who speak a mother language other than English can feel handicapped. Funny because so many in the English speaking world - including academics - write English so poorly that they rarely would criticize someone else's efforts.

Westernized countries do not appreciate that most of the world has limited access to what is available. We also do not understand the implications of political decisions outside of our own cultures. We make assumptions and generalize development standards. This is why sharing like this opens our minds and broadens our understanding.

The real point here is to try and connect and communicate with one another so that we can all learn.

I am curious about another medium in Chile. Do you use radio for sharing learning?

Hablo español fluido porque mi familia es de New México. Si es más fácil que usted explique esto en su propio lenguaje, comparta por favor sus preguntas e historias con nosotros.

In reply to Colby Stuart

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by violeta cautin -
Bueno, entiendo la idea de free as in libre.  Lo que quiero decir es que el comun de la gente no lo entiende porque para ellos usar software es siempre gratis, por lo que no ven el punto de usar algo "libre".  Bueno, claro, el punto de la web social es la colaboracion y la sinergia que se produce al compartir el conocimiento.  Esta es una de las razones por las que siempre participo en estos debates, me gusta aprender de los que saben mas que yo  smile  Una profesora me dijo no hace mucho que cuando tus pares te explican aprendes aun mas ya que ellos al entender un asunto le agregan sus propias significaciones, y uno al recoger estas explicaciones está "robando" las significaciones del otro y agregandole las nuestras por lo que te apropias del contenido en mejor forma.
Acerca de la radio mmmmm no lo había pensado, pero creo que es un excelente medio para transmitir ideas al comun de la gente.  Muchos taxistas, dueñas de casa, cuidadores, trabajadores de oficina usan como único medio de compañia la radio por lo que creo que programas educativos cortos tendrán un alto impacto.

Now for the English speaking friends, I understand the concept of free as in libre (more than gratis) what I meant with the copyright issue was that when common, regular people use cracked software all the time, they do not appreciate the value of open software.  Why would they use Linux, ehic can be more complicated, if they have Windows for free also.  Why they would use wikieducator or wikipedia if they have Encarta for free.  I installed the Open Office at my mother's pc and she keeps complaining about not having poer point in order to see the attachments she receives from friends.  If she had to pay for an Office suit she would be worshiping  open software.
Of course, I understand the point of libre and collaborative, etc., and the synergy that we produce when we share the knowledge.  That's one of the reasons I love to join is these discussions, because I learn from everybody and I hope they learn from me.  A teacher once told me that when you learn form your peers you learn more because they give you the personal meaning that they have attached to that knowledge.  That way you can make the knowledge your own with your meaning and the meaning that  your peers  attached to it.

About the radio... mmmmm grat way to get to the masses here in Chile.  Excellent idea. 
In reply to violeta cautin

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Violeta mentioned a very important aspect of why pay if you can get it for free and you won't be caught. Most people in my country do not a moral issue with illegal downloading just as they don't see a problem with plagiarism or committing traffic violations because no one is watching. Copyright issues are important, but I think they won't make sense to those who ignore them, unless ministries of education implement character education moral values into the school curriculum.  
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Emma Duke-Williams -
From Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries by nelliemuller on 05 October 2007 13:22:00:
Most people in my country do not a moral issue with illegal downloading just as they don't see a problem with plagiarism or committing traffic violations because no one is watching.

I'm not sure where you're based, Nellie (in your profile you mention "Canadian" & "Hebrew", so am I right in thinking that you're teaching in Israel?) - however, I think that your point about people not having a moral issue with illegal downloads and traffic offences is also very true in the UK. For many students they conceptually know that they shouldn't plagiarise, but they don't quite know what plagiarism is.
In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Emma,
I am currently based in Israel. I make a point of teaching my high school students about plagiarism. However, I find that when explained people appear to understand plagiarism and are willing to give credit where it's due more readily than they are willing to stop at a red light.  
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Inge Ignatia de Waard -
hello Nellie

I am completely with you on the plagiarism awareness point.
The students here come from all around the world and sometimes they do not fully understand plagiarism, but once it is explained they fully go for it.

Everything will evolve to payable downloads probably, but it would be nice if software licenses would become affordable or for instance linked a the average income of a citizen. That way the cost would be much more democratic.
In reply to Inge Ignatia de Waard

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Hi Ignatia,
I wonder whether the issue is really money. I think some people take what doesn't belong to them because no one provides them with reasons not to. approve
In reply to violeta cautin

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Inge Ignatia de Waard -
hi Violetta

Waw, I had no idea the government made a deal with MS on that level. The Microsoft way of working is attacked in a lot of law suits and it is definetely a global issue.

Just adding the Unesco free and open source library, although common users are not always fond of free open software, the fact that unesco supports it is a beautiful thing.

Hopefully the future will find ways to work around this monopoly.
In reply to Inge Ignatia de Waard

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Yes, I agree. Free sharing is a wonderful way to connect everyone. 
In reply to Derek Chirnside

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by violeta cautin -

On the other hand I see some scenarios where there is a whole different attitude to education: a sense of gratefulness, engagement and value.  (Sometimes missing on my own back door)

Hi Derek! Could you please elaborate on this point?  I understand that you've found those traits in developing countries?

Appreciative Inquiry approach

What's that? I guess I'll google it also.

:)

In reply to violeta cautin

Appreciative Inquiry (Side comment)

by Derek Chirnside -
Violeta, From wikiepdia, on Appreciative Inquiry:  cool

Appreciative Inquiry was developed by David Cooperrider of Case Western Reserve University. It is now a commonly accepted practice in the evaluation of organizational development strategy and implementation of organizational effectiveness tactics.

Appreciative Inquiry is a particular way of asking questions and envisioning the future that fosters positive relationships and builds on the basic goodness in a person, a situation, or an organization. In so doing, it enhances a system's capacity for collaboration and change. Appreciative Inquiry utilizes a 4-stage process focusing on:

  1. DISCOVER: The identification of organizational processes that work well.
  2. DREAM: The envisioning of processes that would work well in the future.
  3. DESIGN: Planning and prioritizing processes that would work well.
  4. DESTINY (or DELIVER): The implementation (execution) of the proposed design.

The basic idea is to build organizations around what works, rather than trying to fix what doesn't. The approach acknowledges the contribution of individuals, in order to increase trust and organizational alignment. The method aims to create meaning by drawing from stories of concrete successes and lends itself to cross-industrial social activities. It can be enjoyable and natural to many managers, who are often sociable people.

Simplistically, this is starting from the good things that exist, rather than some sort of deficit model on what is wrong, missing or lacking.

At to my other comment:
On the other hand I see some scenarios where there is a whole different attitude to education: a sense of gratefulness, engagement and value.  (Sometimes missing on my own back door)
I have several close friends who have worked overseas over the last 25 or so years.  Some of the stories are fascinating.  Very poor and deprived settings by the standards of kids down the road from where I live - yet, overseas, the kids can be happy, vibrant, optimistic.  Some of the kids down the road here - with tons of opportunities - basically lead spoiled, selfish and self destructive lives.

I also hear stories about schools quite low on resources in the classrooms, yet showing  creativity with stuff, ideas and approaches.  elearning can help here . .  [Provided we don't merely import the words pedagogically unsound practices sometimes used in elearning . . .]

Sometimes the problems (social, cultural, resources, history) just seem so big as to be insurmountable.  But in the same set of circumstances people respond quite differently.

In reply to Derek Chirnside

Re: Appreciative Inquiry (Side comment)

by violeta cautin -
I think you're right.  And I like that approach to see the good things first and start from there.  I think people just want to improve their quality of life.  If you have nothing to lose then you just try.
Now if we say deprived homes, etc, they do not have internet at home for sure, so the opportunity to reach for them is at school.  To educate parents and children about the benefits of life long learning and that it can be done through internet.  And maybe open school labs to function as centers of knowledge and connectivity from schools and students/families to the world.  (Political decisions)  But I guess it's our responsibility (from us people who have internet at home and know how to use it) to start pushing our politicians and authorities to pass on laws or policies regarding that.

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Getting people to feel comfortable about learning online is crucial to the success of an e-learning program. Blending face-to-face with online learning may be an excellent way to get people comfortable about e-learning.  However, it may be necessary to understand how learners feel in order to remove them from their comfort zones. I would be interested in answers to the following questions:
  1. How do we get people out of their comfort zone?
  2. How do cultural factors determine the use of e-learning?
  3. How can trust be incorporated into the online environment?
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Monica Macaulay -

Thank you for leading this seminar I am really looking forward to it.  My name is Monica Macaulay and I am the Online Learning Facilitator at Nicola Valley Institute of Technology in Merritt, British Columbia, Canada.  We are an Aboriginal Institution and many of the barriers developing countries face with respect to e-learning are the same barrieres many of our First Nations experience who live on remote reservations.  I look forward to putting our ideas together on how we can improve the situation.

Many thanks.

In reply to Monica Macaulay

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Hi Monica,
Great to have you with us. Nalin mentioned the human element and Derek mentioned culture. I wonder if Marc Prensky would agree to consider the term digital immigrant vs. digital natives when referring to developing countries.
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Emma Duke-Williams -
From Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries by nelliemuller on 03 October 2007 16:13:00:
I wonder if Marc Prensky would agree to consider the term digital immigrant vs. digital natives when referring to developing countries.

I always feel somewhat uncomfortable with the terms "digital native" & "digital immigrant" generally, as often people tend to assume that the "natives" are all totally at home with technology; and the "immigrants" aren't really that happy. Yet, we have older people ("silver surfers") who are often way more confident and can cope with a wider range of digital tools than other younger ones. Just the same as with speaking, say, English, many overseas students, who have English as their second language, understand it and all the complex grammar rules in a way that those with English as their mother tongue don't.

When it comes to the Majority world, clearly the numbers of people who have grown up with digital technology all their lives is more limited if you've not got electricity at home, it's hard to have a iPod/mobile phone/ whatever [though the first mobile phone I ever saw was a massive satellite one in the middle of the Borneo jungle!] HOwever, that's not to say that users won't adjust to using new technology (and possibly be much more creative in the way that it's being used - as they mayn't be bound by what you're *meant* to do with a particular gadget).

In reply to Emma Duke-Williams

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Emma, I agree with you; using natives and immigrants does sound judgmental. However, there is one good thing about using the word native; it gave the term a positive connotation. 
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by violeta cautin -

3.

I think trust should be develop in the same way we develop it in f2f classrooms.  Setting clear rules at the beginning and using our teacher's sense. 

Maybe with online students feedback is even more important because they do not have the classroom interaction, so another thing would be giving appropriate and "fast" feedback.

I haven't been involved in real e-teaching, all my experience has been as a complement to f2f classes, so I am going to guess that students in an e-learning environment will be more anxious so teachers should be even more present for them answering their mails, responding to their posts, etc.

wide eyes

In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Jim Flood -
Hello
I've only just found out about this conference and I'm enjoying catching up.

I don't know the answers to Nellie's questions and I am aware of the some of the strategies to tackle them. Not only are we assuming that the technical and economic challenges can be met, we assume that the pyschological contract between teachers and learners can be easily changed. We assume that students, freed from the tyranny of being taught from the front as one body will become independent learners and that teachers will readily give up their control and command model to become learning facilitators. I think that e-learning/blending learning if it is to become more than a delivery system for educational resources (valuable as that is) requires a paradigm shift of massive proportions. My view is that teachers need support to 'warm up' for digitally supported learning by implementing some simple strategies to make their classroom management more participant focussed.
In reply to Jim Flood

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Jim,
I agree that teachers need encouragement and a great deal of support to change from frontal to online environments. Technofear is an issue that needs to be addressed not only in developing countries but in developed countries as well. The digital divide between the digital natives and the immigrants seems to be increasing faster than many educators and policy makers care to admit.
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

I think it is better to understand the contextual factors also. In sri lanka specially in higher education system mostly handled by the government sector.(University system).It means if you passed advance level (only 14% who passed the advance level goes to these universities)…you can go to government university. Only small number of private universities are approved by the university grant commission.(apex body in university system)….because of that there is a potential market for e-Learning in the education industry. But still awareness level is law…I think it is better to do small survey on awareness level of the people on that…this is better place to invest too…<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

Income distribution also I think one facet of problem in the developing countries like sri lanka. In our country 40% of the income consumed by the 10% of people while 10% of income consumed by 40% of the people. Once you are in the village taking about e-Learning some might laugh at you ….(25% of the people don’t have electricity) .But as  I mentioned earlier out literacy rate is 90% despite of some hardships. I think it is our responsibility that to create awareness of e-Learning specially towards  children. Because it will affects to the efficiency as well as effectiveness of them in future.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

 

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Nalin,
One way of educating the public to be aware can be done via hands on e-learning courses. However, what incentives can you offer those who live under poor economic situations to take the courses?


In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by violeta cautin -

I guess people under poor economic conditions have so many things to worry for that it would be difficult to get them to enter e-learning. If you do not have a computer at home, what's the point? People will care if they see a practical point to it. 

Now, middle class is different because they understand that there's a point in education. I think e-learning should be demystified because it's regarded as inferior in quality, at least here.

In reply to violeta cautin

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Public libraries and community centers can provide computers for the public. Any updates on how this is being done globally?
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

In Open University system students coming from that background can use PCs at our regional centers without paying. In Universities also they are providing facilities for underprivileged students because of the concept of free education. And now in Sri Lanka there is a trend to focus on poor students ….your contribution towards this is always welcome!!!<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Nalin,
I would like to contribute my know how and skills to teachers and students taking online courses.
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

Nellie,<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Thanks for your kind words. I will look for the possibilities and I think in the future you can contribute to the development of e-Learning in a constructive way.

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Nalin,
Just let me know how, where, and when and I will be there. wink
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -
here with i attached the persenation made by  Muhammad Asif Hossain Khan at Department of Computer Science & Engineering,University of Dhaka, Bangladesh on "Barriers in Promoting e-Learning in Developing Countries: A Case Study on Bangladesh"-As Reasons Behind Limited Use he mentioned Unawareness of the Benefits,Few Internet Users etc.More importantly he discusses Prospective Areas for e-Learning
Barriers Likely to be Faced etc.

,

Muhammad Asif Hossa

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
It may be challenging to resolve issues of diverse cultures, languages, and classes.
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -
once we are taking about the e-learning we should talk abour the distance learning and the context.herewith i attached onre pdf from The Rockefeller Foundation about
Distance education and e-learning for developing countries,which discussed Appropriate target groups,Greatest need,Appropriate technology,Conditions for success....




In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

e-Learning and the market in developing countries<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

There are some barriers in developing countries. But on the other hand if some one can convert this into opportunities then there is a good market for e-learning. According to the product life cycle (PLC) theory in sri lanka e-Learning (as a industry) in growth stage……..

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Reasons for that is so many players coming to the market, and following factors,

         Product pricing is aggressive

         Gaps in market coverage are filled

         Promotion expenditures moderate

         Production efficiencies lower costs

As I mentioned earlier only 14% of the Advanced level students has been absorbed by the university system ever year. More importantly there is a huge demand for local MBAs especially on e-Learning. So in developing countries this is one way to invest and make profit!!!!!!!!

 

 

In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

I think we have to focus on other elements of e-Learning too. e-Learning is not only computers we can discuss instructional radio, instructional television  plus m-learning .Specially in developing countries we should focus on alternative methods. Because as we discussed there are some barriers on law income, law rate of internet usage etc.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

Once we are considering instructional radio I think we have good examples from Africa. Effective Community Radio in Education by Gordon Naidoo discuses the community radio and educational transformation in south Africa (see the attachemtn)..I think we should look for the avenues like this too…..

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Nalin,
This article is a must read for everyone. Naidoo provides an excellent picture of the situation in most African countries where the old mass media is still inaccessible and why it may be wise to slow down with the new electronic communication media. Thank you for sharing. smile
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

Nellie,

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

I found another important pdf of cultural analysis for e-learning for  china by Tim Friesner and Mike Hart. It discusses e-Learning for China based upon the experiences of a free content website. Under cultural framework it discusses language, religion. Aesthetics, Law and Politics, Technology and Material Culture, Social Organization, Education, Values and Attitudes. And more importantly it identifies challenges for free e-Learning (page 86).I think cultural frame work is very much necessary to any country to understand their own challenges.

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Nalin,
Thank you for sharing the article by Freisner and Hart (2004). The authors provide an excellent summary of the challenges China - a country whose economy is soaring and where "education is a highly regarded commodity" (p. 86) - will face in implementing free e-learning.

Freisner, T. & Hart, M. (2004, December). A cultural analysis of e-learning for China. Electronic Journal of eLearning, 2(2), 81-88. Retrieved October 12, 2007, from
http://www.ejel.org/volume-2/vol2-issue1/issue1-art24-friesner-hart.pdf
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

In developing countries resources can be consider as one constrain. further expertise knowledge on the subject is a area to be improved…specially in Sri Lanka we have IT experts but still in the arena of e-Learning we need some experts….in the future this may be improved…but these type of subjects where you need experts with subject knowledge…

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Professionals for e-learning courses can be imported from other countries. Many online universities hire faculty from foreign countries. I envision a future where learning and instruction will be without borders.

Learning without borders:
  1. A School with a Worldview by Albright and Breidenstein
  2. Learning without Borders
  3. Teachers without Borders
  4. Learning without Barriers / Technology without Borders (MIT video series)
  5. Media and Technology for International Education
Please feel free to add more resources on the wiki for e-learning in developing countries.
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

….In sri lanka Open University with the help of donators try to establish centers throughout the country…Because there are more than 20,0000 students working with OUSL. So we can assume them as potential e-Learners….Other universities are also doing well with their undergraduate. More importantly DLC (Distance Learning Center) in Sri Lanka conducted series of seminars on on-line learning focusing school heads as well as teachers..It was a successful project….because our future will be the young people whch those teachers taught…..there I think the inspirational motivation of the people…(champions) at DLC  with mission and vision for the future…Now they are doing this for the private institutes too...And Distance education modernization project(DEMP) too helping private as well as other institutes to build-up some e-learning courses…I think every organizations will have their success stories…

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Nalin,
Now that's a success story! smile
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Carlos Ortiz -

Hi there everybody!

I've been following with great interest de development of this forum, trying to learn from you all as much as I can.

I live in Colombia and I can tell you that although there many people pushing hard the use of Technologies in education and our Ministery of education is giving support to many e-learning programs, the truth is that in a lot of places (specially away from the big cities), most people just don't have the culture towards e-learning and virtual education.

For long time people has been taught with a teacher centered methodology where the teacher is suppossed to manage to put his knowledge into the student`s heads. Not many people have develpoed autonomus learning skills and all of this e-learning thing is seen as something new and complex. Many people don't really have faith in it.

We are changing, but very slowly. New generations are more familiar with computers and hopefully things will get better, but at the moment, the basic problem is to change the people's mind about e-learning: The teachers' , the students' and the school administratives' minds.

Infrastructure is also very important, and the help from big companies as Emma says, is  "strange"  ( hopefully one day every schoold child will have not only a hotmail account but a pc too). That's what we need in Colombia, but then there's the bandwitdht too, because if it's got to do with paying then we would be in trouble.

I completely agree with Colby when she talks about the political, social and economical reasons which are a barrier for e-learning development. It's not easy at all.

Even so, things are being done. There are brave people working on e-learning quality and development, and many universities like mine, are opening up their minds and have already started trying to find a way, but it will take a few years before we really get into the exercise of e-learning for the benefit of the people.

One thing's for sure, everything we can learn from more advances countries and communities is welcome because that will prevent us from making same mistakes as others have done before and will surely help us move ahead faster.

Thanks

Carlos H. Ortiz

University of Ibague

Colombia

 

 

In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Nalin Abeysekera -

Action Plan to overcome Barriers in e-Learning in developing countries (special reference to Sri Lanka)<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

1.     Identification of problems-infrastructure, resources, utilization of resources, leadership-for this it can conduct research to take information-

A) primary data- Can do survey within the population to measure the awareness of e-learning, how to promote e-learning etc(can use clusters like school children, policy makers, general public etc)

B) Secondary resources-Can be used central bank reports(Apex body in Sri Lanka),other statistics to measure up the utilization of resources

2.     Design A Plan –

a) Short term-First year increase the awareness level of the students ,general public

b) Long term-10 years program with Mission of “To become a number one among developing countries in literacy of e-Learning”

3.     Implement a Plan

§  For that Government  can appoint a body(institution) to implement a Plan(this can be  formulated  under ministry of Education)

§  Can get  foreign experts

§  Can use some benchmarks(China, India as well as Canada as developed country using e-learning and how forums like scope networking people in different locations)

§  Leadership-can appoint the leader/leaders with inspirational qualities

§  Starting within school as well as university system

§  Take the expert view of those who already in the sector(DLC in Sri Lanka, DEMP etc)-can appoint member from these organization as members of steering committee)

§  Looking for possibilities of grants(expertise, resources) from donors

4.     Controlling

§  Financial controls-purview of utilization of resources(every quarter of the year)

§  Review meetings–every months

§  Government Audit

§  Performance Measurements-every year-can do small survey to review the performance in term of literacy rate, resource allocation for all regions of the country

I put forward this as action plan to overcome barriers in developing countries)-special reference has been given to Sri lanka. I focused on barriers like resource, resource allocation as well as human factors, success stories. I think your ideas important for the value addition to this. This is a framework and if we can put some ingredients then I hope we can come up a with a nice work.

 

In reply to Nalin Abeysekera

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by j. Tim Denny -
Nalin

I really like the ideas on creating policy.  Yes it can be said that policy means nothing unless it has proponents behind pushing to ensure the policy is enacted. Yet, I am still a big believer that we must have the policy infrastructure in place so that sector wide stakeholders can refer back to guiding principles.

A few suggestions:
  • each country needs a well written ICT-education policy - of which e-learning should be clearly understood
  • such policy must be followed up with clearly written action and implementation plans

assessment  -- in order for that to occur each country must have a clear view of what education projects are happening, where, when and all results...
  • for this a good open access project database needs to be supported
Inventory
  • a database of all ICT assets can be drawn up so that potential partners know what is available, thereby making their job of delivering programs easier
Feasibility
  • a proper understanding of e-learning feasibility which must include extensive observation of teaching situations, teacher capacities and other elements that lead to a positive or negative recommendation for e-learning should be carried out.
Some thoughts...
I often here the word government in such contexts...   I think government is great when it works, yet when it is ineffective in a developing world context how can we ensure ICT-education continues regardless of a lack of understanding or support of the government sector?  Are there ways to circumvent government and deemphasize their role? Luckily in the Cambodia context we have an ICT-education policy and a leadership that wants to see the changes, yet I know many countries do not have such support.

Major needs in the Cambodia perspective
  • electricity - most all electric generation is diesel generator derived - we need varied sources, alternative energy, rural energy schemes and of course much more affordable energy to persist on ICT initiatives
  • lack of hardware...  of the 253 upper secondary schools only some 10 have a computer lab... leaving a deficit of some 15,000 computers needed to complete administrative and student facilities at a ratio of 1:20
  • teacher training - lack of clear plan, initiatives and understanding of how, what and where to train
  • connectivity -  due to immensely expensive internet access internet is inaccessible in the foreseeable future outside of the big cities..

PEace
Tim
__________________________________
John "Tim"  Denny, Ph.D.  ICT and Education Specialist
Adviser to the Cambodia MoEYS on Science and Technology Education
Executive Director, PC4peace http://www.pc4peace.org
http://www.avuedigitalservices.com/VR/drjtdenny
Co-founder Open Schools Program - Cambodia
    "Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress."   Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948).

In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Barriers to e-learning in developing countries

by Barbara Fillip -

Hello all,

I am feeling a little guilty about dumping a couple of resources without responding directly to some of the messages allready posted but I intend to catch up with the messages and contribute to the discussions in a more "interactive" way.

Fillip, Barbara. Reality Check: Actors and Emerging Knowledge Networks in the South, in the Reader for the Crystal eLearning Symposium. (October 2002)

Fillip, Barbara. Technological Minimalism and Sustainability Strategies - Lessons Learned from Teaching Online, in the Reader for the Crystal eLearning Symposium. (October 2002)

Fillip, Barbara. "Gender and Global eLearning". Gender and the Digital Divide Seminar Series, 2002.

Barbara Fillip