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Diffusion of E-Learning as an Educational Innovation

Diffusion of E-Learning as an Educational Innovation
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Author(s): Petek Askar (Hacettepe University, Turkey) and Ugur Halici (Middle East Technical University, Turkey)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 4
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch174

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Abstract

Most of the discussions related to education are about technological innovations. Indeed as Rogers (1995) stated, we often use the word “innovation” and “technology” as synonyms. Technology is regarded as an agent of change in educational settings, and a quick analysis of the educational projects all over the world shows us that it is not possible to define a future vision of education without technology, especially e-learning, which brings two important concepts together: technology and learning. Therefore as a form of distance learning, e-learning has become a major instructional force in the world. Besides the technological developments, the last two decades have brought a tremendous increase in knowledge in education, particularly in learning. The emerging views of learning which should be taken into consideration for every learning environment could be stated as follows: personalized, flexible, and coherent (learning is connected to real-life issues); not bounded by physical, geographic, or temporal space; rich in information and learning experiences for all learners; committed to increasing different intelligences and learning styles; interconnected and collaborative; fostering interorganizational linkages; engaged in dialogue with community members; accountable to the learner to provide adaptive instructional environments (Marshall, 1997). WWW is an environment that fits the new paradigm of learning and facilitates “e-learning” which faces a challenge of diffusion. Diffusion is defined by Rogers (1995) as the process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time among the members of a social system. Therefore the adoption of WWW as a learning environment is influenced by the following set of factors: 1) the individuals’ perception of the attributes of e-learning, 2) the nature of the communication channels, 3) the nature of the social system, and 4) the extent of the change agents’ efforts in the e-learning. These are the variables that affect the diffusion of e-learning in the schools and countries.

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