Thursday, September 27, 2007

Web 2.0 to increase online learning

Web 2.0 to increase online learning

By Brenda Zulu
Online learning is here to stay and the increasingly availability of Web 2.0 tools will making e-learning experience more rewarding though some challenges exist.

Making a case for online training of Journalists in Africa, Kwami Ahiabenu II from the International Institute for ICT Journalism (PenPlusBytes) observed that online training was going to become dominant means of training and that there was need to invest time and energy to ensure that it becomes part of a capacity building projects and programmes application.

He noted that though there are costs associated with online training in the long run online training was relatively cheaper and cost effective. An achievement was that online learning provided an opportunity for Journalists to learn about new tools and use them in the process of learning

In overcoming the challenges, Ahiabenu II explained that the course used a group e-mail list as their primary course delivery tool in order to ensure low bandwidth participants are not left out of the course.

Meanwhile, to over come issues of time and commitment, they encouraged the participants to devote more time to the online learning experience in order to derive maximum benefits. They had also developed strategies about coping with change and developing "online" mindset by adapting the course to the learner's environment via flexibility.

"For example when participants could not participate in a session because his or her internet was down, we modify our time table to take this problem into consideration," said Ahiabenu.

He explained that the tools of the online course were skype, blogging, yahoo groups, google groups, wiki's, flicker, like,, flicker, youtube and myspace to allow for participants to comment on content of the web.

In order to facilitate group communication in real time he explained that they asked participants to create a skype account the unfortunate part was that this was not successful because skype was banned in some of the participants' countries.

He said the three months online training organised with the help of partners' course involved research, Web2.0 tools and Knowledge Management for newsrooms.

Some of the online topics included chat forums, reporting ICTs and Content Management System for Journalists.

"Our lecture notes designed for a quick read, straight to the point and written in a narrative format. At the end of each lecture notes reference are provided as well as mandatory further online reading. Links to additional relevant online resources are also provided," he said.

In additional to online content, the trainers encourage participants to buy relevant books as well by providing them with a list of books. They also pointed out to participants relevant articles in magazines and newspapers as they are publish during the course.

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