The time came when I have finally decided to take e-learning. At the beginning of the class I thought that I am keen on technology since I am in the Generation Y (GEN Y). However, we only got 3 classes in this semester and I already realised that there is still so much about educational technologies that I do not know. So here is my reflection about e-learning.
Engaging in e-learning allowed me to use Personalized Learning Environment (PLE). Using the PLE has essentially expanded my horizon, particularly on how I perceive the learning process. PLE has help me understand that learning is not just about listening to a teacher, taking down notes, and memorizing some of the major points in a traditional classroom. It is about applying them the moment we learn about them. Through my personal experience with PLE, I now understand better the idea raised in the article written by Roper (2007, p. 63) which says that students like me should be able to understand better the ideas studied in an online environment if the principle of “Use it or lose it” is applied. This principle states that students must apply what they learned on online learning or E-learning to their lives. For example, when I learned about blogging, then I made my own blogs. Any person can visit my blogs at http://chcoco64.blogspot.com.au/. In doing this blog I get the feel of what I learned in my online classes. I gained appreciation of the internet technology, and I also remember the important points of our many online class discussion, such as the how to use Flitbit Flex and Gamification. I remember them because I used them and I wrote about them in my blogs. Through PLE I also expanded my horizon about the essentiality of interaction with my fellow students. When I was still studying in the traditional school, most of the interaction with my fellow students happens during break times and we were not talking about lesson-related ideas – we were talking about things that are not school related like what games are good to play. But when I used PLE I got to talk with my fellow students many times about school related topics like how to use some applications in the internet or some homework. I came to realize that these interactions in the online environment were also essential in helping me grasp the topics presented in my online classes. I think this is what Davidson and Goldberg (2009, p. 12) “participatory learning.” So all in all, PLE has helped expand my horizon that there many methods that should be employed in e-learning to be able to become a successful student or learner.
As a learner I can say the education technologies used in e-learning really fit my lifestyle. The educational technologies like the internet and the computers, even mobile phones, helped me chose the subjects and the time that is best suited to my lifestyle. I can still remember what the article entitled, “7 things you should know about personal learning environment” published by the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (2009, p. 1), that one of the greatest advantages of e-learning is the flexibility in time that students can have. This is because education technologies like the internet makes learning resources available for students anytime of the day. It also allows students to select their own fields of studies which fit their time schedule for study.
Moreover, from a personal point of view, I realized that my understanding and knowledge of educational technologies advanced and I gained better appreciation of them. Accordingly, when I was not yet immersed in using them, like the internet, I thought that the internet particularly the blogs and social networks are just for making friends or for wasting time on entertainment. Then I realized that they can be used for much better purpose like learning. In a pedagogical point of view I think that being able to master and find the right educational technologies is essential in helping students like me become more efficient in e-learning. This point of view is related and consistent with the findings of the research conducted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (2014, p. 2) that says that both teachers and students agree that there are many technologies available today to facilitate e-learning, the real challenge is how teachers and student select which technologies are appropriate for their PLEs and chosen field of study. On an organisational perspective, I think that traditional school institutions – who are also the providers or teachers for e-learning must train their personnel well and to change their way of teaching from the traditional method. So in line with this change then is that educational organizations must acquire the different educational technologies and make their personnel familiar with them. This point of view is consistent with the point of view made by the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (2009, p. 2), when it said that one of the implications of e-learning on educationl institution is massive and fast change from the traditional to modern style of teaching (e-learning).
Nevertheless, I should also explain that while it is true that educational technologies are very useful in e-learning, students like me are not exempted from different challenges. During my first encounters with e-learning, I found it hard to navigate through the learning website – I cannot find the online course for the previous assessment or find a useful link in our UNI blackboard system. I also had a hard time understanding how to use Prezi for our presentation. But once I use Google and discuss my hardships with my group members, everything was easy. So, in my opinion, although there may be challenges which students like I will face in e-learning, these challenges can be solved by collaboration and serious research.
My whole experience in e-learning was wonderful, and I will certainly do it again in the future. My e-learning skills have been developed significantly due to my engagement in e-learning. I now understand how communication skills, time management skills, and skills in selecting and using educational technologies are important in education. I thank the makers of the many different technologies like the internet. To show my appreciation to these technologies I have decided that my portfolio should be written as a Blog, because blogs are available in the internet. Moreover, blogs are convenient format. Other people can view my blogs and give comments so I can improve them. So my portfolio is easy to review so I can improve my blogging style. Blogs also makes the information I put in them available in the internet anytime and anywhere. The internet is therefore like a brain, like a memory which I can access anytime I want to review what I learned which I wrote on my blogs.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 2014, ‘Teachers Know Best: What Educators Want from Digital Instructional Tools’ Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, US pp. 1 – 12. Available: www.gatesfoundation.org. [5 June 2014].
Davidson, Cathy N. and Goldberg, David Theo 2009, ‘The future of learning institutions in a digital age’ in The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning: Massachusettes, pp. 1 – 67.
EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 2009, ‘7 things you should know about Personal Learning Environments’ EDUCAUSE, pp. 1 – 2. Available: http://www.educause.edu/eli.
Roper, Alan R. 2007, ‘How students develop online learning skills,’ EDUCAUSE Quarterly, vol. 1 no. 1, pp. 63 – 65.