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This paper reviews the use of E-Learning in the spatial information science programmes of the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).
The spatial information science programmes are placed within the context of the use of E-Learning across the Institute and this paper draws on the experiences of the DIT Learning Technology Team (LTT). The LTT has just completed the initial brief given to it by the DIT strategic planning group charged with ensuring the implementation of E-Learning as a resource in support of the change from a teacher-centred to a learner-centred paradigm.
E-Learning was first introduced in the Department of Spatial Information Sciences (formerly Geomatics) for the design and delivery of short modules for the continuing professional development (CPD) of staff in mapping organizations. Participants were generally very positive about their experience of E-Learning for CPD and identified a number of clear strengths. However, most participants reported difficulties completing assignments associated with completion of the courses. The courses were based on the principle of ‘learning by doing’ and, as such, required a considerable amount of assignments to be completed by participants, many of whom felt excessively challenged by their degree of difficulty.
Finally, the paper evaluates the performance of E-Learning tools in the undergraduate programmes of the Department. The cultural and pedagogical changes necessary to use E-Learning as a learning resource are happening much more slowly than the implementation of the technology might suggest. DIT students and teachers are growing more comfortable in an online environment, but are some years away from fulfilling the vision of independent online learners operating in a constructivist manner facilitated by e-moderators.
Martin, A., McGovern, E., Mooney, K. (2006) The Experience of E-Learning: Progress towards a New Learning Paradigm. ISPRS Technical Commission VI Symposium – E-Learning and the Next Steps for Education. TS 1-3: New Tools for Education, 27th – 30th June Toyko, Japan.