E-learning will not completely replace the traditional learning

Interview with Prof. Vladimir Trajkovik, PhD, Vice-Dean for Science and Cooperation, Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering, University “Ss Cyril and Methodius”- Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

1. How would you predict the development of e-learning on global level in the next 10 years?

E-learning is a trend that exists for over a decade and is constantly developing. What is apparent through the examples of a large number of worldwide famous universities (Stanford, MIT, Berkley) and the globally popular educational services like Khan Academy, is the fact that it seems like in the last couple of years, the e-learning will change the global comprehension of the education. It makes sense to conclude that there will be new educational services, and that apparently some of them will have certain influence. This would particularly be noticed with the larger utilization of the tablets in the educational process.

Second interesting fact on this topic is the fact that larger number of the educational resources that are available on this manner, are open and free to be used. This means that a larger number of higher quality educational materials would be able to be used, shared and utilized for the purpose of developing new educational materials. I am of an opinion that this concept of ‘learning objects’ that can be consumed individually, but can also be integrated in various educational materials, enables various, individual paths of learning, which will be something common on middle term basis.

In addition to this, the actual approach towards the learning will be changed. If we have been discussing in the last century the transition from an industrial to constructivist learning, in the 21-st century, the main subjects would be how to provide learning ‘in-time’.

What the technology is providing at this moment, is the overcoming of the need of having traditional classroom. More and more, the learning is ongoing in various spaces (outdoor, while on-the-move, within the companies). Second important subject would be the credibility of the materials and the gained knowledge. The necessity to identify quality education materials and institutions that would guarantee the gained knowledge in this manner, would be more apparent

2. Are you of an opinion that the e-learning would replace the traditional learning completely, in a certain period of time, when all parameters for its realization would be achieved?

Definitely, not. The educational institutions would have to constantly verify the results (what has been learned). It is very unlikely that they will manage to exist in the form that they exist today. In this direction, we can speak about replacement of the traditional educational institutions, but I would personally prefer the term – evolution. The education is getting more and more collaborative process, where multiple participants are involved, including the consumers of the results from the education (for example, the companies in case of the high education). Having said this, the educational institutions have to be more flexible in order to be able to survive in the new educational system.

3. Are the new technologies in education completely replacing the education function of the learning and comprehending of the new content?

The learning as a process of surmounting new skills in order to improve the living, in its essence has not been changed with millennia. The things that are changing, are the skills that need to be gained. In the beginning of the learning processes, these were the skills needed for the development of the logical thought and the manner of communication, then the skills needed to work in large production companies, and further on.

Specific for the today’s learning is the following:

  1. Like never before there are a large number of learners (from an aspect of human population) and versatile education (in respect to individualized).
  2. Like never before, the need for the skills in order to have better life has not been changing with such speed (in the past, few generations were needed to record a change, now it takes years).

Because of all above said, I am of an opinion that the perception of the function of the new technologies in education is wrong. They are the tools that need to be learned how to be used, since this is a necessity in the modern world.

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