Seamless E-Learning In The Works



BY DR DAVID CL LIM (david@oum.edu.my)

Imagine yourself taking a pleasant stroll through a thoughtfully designed and well kept park. The paths are clear, the trees provide sheltering relief from the sun, the cool breeze is rejuvenating, and the birds are chirping happily to delight your senses. The stroll you take is in fact so pleasant that you lose yourself in the moment. You are lifted above the distracting mundane and you begin to see, appreciate and learn more about the nature before you that most take for granted.

Now imagine, as an analogy, the same transplanted to your experience of e-learning. Everything is so well-structured that, from the moment you land on OUM's main portal to the moment you log off, you are positively absorbed, 'lost' in your seamless experience of e-learning. Nothing lies in your path to trip you up. No annoyances like 'cookie error', missing e-tutor and the likes.

"Seamless e-learning experience is precisely what OUM is currently working on delivering. The university is working on enhancing its e-learning platform to ensure that e-learning becomes more or less like a metaphorical walk in the park."

Seamless e-learning experience is precisely what OUM is currently working on delivering. The university is working on enhancing its e-learning platform to ensure that e-learning becomes more or less like a metaphorical walk in the park.

OUM's investment in this area is especially crucial at a time when more and more OUM learners are choosing to minimise their face-to-face contact hours due to work and life commitments, preferring instead to follow their courses fully online on top of self-managed learning.

That increasing numbers of OUM learners are taking to supplementing self-managed learning with e-learning is certainly encouraging. Not only does it show that the university's decade-long effort in promoting e-learning is bearing fruit, it also shows how OUM learners are getting increasingly comfortable in embracing the global trend in learning that leverages on information technology in unprecedented ways.

It bears emphasising, though, that OUM's focus in the current exercise to enhance its e-learning platform is not simply about adding on to what is already there. In analogous terms, it is not about adding bushes and trees to what already exists in the park.

Indeed, the university's existing e-learning offerings - including i-lectures, e-resources such as e-Gate, myVLE discussion forums, and web-based modules - will be beefed up and integrated with additional features.

More importantly, however, OUM is working on restructuring the metaphorical park itself in order to promote a seamless learning experience.

OUM's emphasis on seamlessness is underpinned by the belief that seamlessness will induce learners into what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi terms a state of flow.

OUM's emphasis on seamlessness is underpinned by the belief that seamlessness will induce learners into what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi terms a state of flow. As all of us have at least minimally experienced, flow is a mental state of deep concentration and creativity produced by uninterrupted single-minded immersion in what one is working on. To be in a flow state is to be pleasurably engrossed by what one is doing, so much so that one productively loses track of time, so to speak.

The flow theory applies equally to education as to the use of the internet during e-learning. The premise is simple enough: flow does not just 'happen' spontaneously, nor does one get into it by mere willing. It only occurs when, among other things, continuous flow opportunities and experiences are presented to learners.

OUM seeks to promote the flow state in e-learning by removing all navigational obstacles that can impede flow, and by introducing suitably challenging learning materials that allow learners to 'lose themselves' in discovery and immersed pleasure. It seeks to produce, in short, seamless e-learning experience.

OUM is excited to be pursuing the task in phases. More will be revealed in the near future. Meanwhile, get ready to flow!

[ Back ]

Do you like this article?
RATE
Rate Rate Rate Rate Rated: 3.25 from 5
This article has been seen 473 times.
Number of Votes: 8
OK Fair Good Very Good Excellent