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SEMINAR PAPER
FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECH.), UMUNZE, ANAMBRA STATE,
NIGERIA.
STATUS/CHALLENGES OF E-LEARNING IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES
ABSTRACT
This paper discusses the status of e-learning in Nigeria. It commences by
discussing the concepts and history of e-learning. The challenges of e-learning
such as inequality of access to technology itself by students, high cost of personal
computers and laptops, etc, were highlighted. Prospects of e-learning in Nigeria
were also discussed. Based on these, some public and private partnership such as
ones existing with AfriHub and Socket Works, and form a consortium to purchase
bandwidth among others. This paper concluded by discussing the challenges of e-
learning in Nigeria such as high cost of internet connectivity, telephobia, software
and license cost, high cost of personal computer, lack of maintenance and
technical support.
INTRODUCTION
Education is the key to development. Government at all levels allocate substantial
amount of the annual budget to education sector in order to justify the importance
of this sector in national development. Education is provided through formal and
informal means. In formal settings, conventional (face-to-face school instruction)
and distance education (offered with separation in terms of physical location of
instructors and students) have been used to provide educational opportunities to
recipients. E-learning though not new in Nigeria has been given much prominence
of recent times as it is in advanced countries of the world. Many Nigerians have
benefited through the open education (correspondence) Rapid Result College, and
Exam Success Correspondence College. The revised national policy on education
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(Federal Republic of Nigeria, FRN 2004) stipulates that the detailed goals of
distance education should be to:
Provide access to quality education and equity in educational opportunities
for those who otherwise would have been denied.
Meet special needs of employers by mounting special certificate courses for
their employees at their work place.
Encourage internalization especially of tertiary education curricula.
Ameliorate the effect of internal and external brain drain in tertiary
institutions by utilizing Nigerian experts as teachers regardless of their
locations or places of work.
To achieve these goals, it is stated that the federal government of Nigeria shall
ensure that distance education programme are equivalent in structure and status
to those offered by face-to-face mode of instruction, and that the government shall
encourage and regulate distance education programme in Nigeria. It shall also
establish distance education advisory body to advise government on distance
education, promote distance education nationwide, liaise with media
establishments, encourage efforts and other non-governmental organizations that
make the provision of quality distance education possible, encourage participation
in distance education programme at all levels and strengthen the capacity of
existing institutions providing distance education. In this era of Information and
Communication Technology, with the associated e-resources, e-learning is now in
vogue.
CONCEPT AND ADVANTAGES OF E-LEARNING
Kieser, Keller, and Schmidt, (2006) defined e-learning as “web-delivered and/or
web-supported teaching and learning using computer, multimedia, and internet
technologies.” It can also be defined as a learning system based on formalized
teaching but with the help of electronic resources. Therefore, e-learners are those
students that participate in the e-learning process. The learning with the computer
means online knowledge acquisition through the internet or offline through CD-
ROM and so on. The online requires the use of browsers such as Internet Explorer
or Netscape Navigator. The convergence of the internet and learning, or internet-
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enabled learning is called e-learning. It uses network technologies to create, foster,
deliver, facilitate learning, anytime and anywhere. It is also the delivery of
individualized, comprehensive, dynamic learning content in real time, aiding the
development of communities of knowledge, linking learners and practitioners with
experts. E-learning is a means of education that incorporates self-motivation,
communication, efficiency, and technology. Opening Learning Centre (2007) saw e-
learning as the effective teaching and learning process created by combining e-
digital content with local community and tutor support along with global
community engagements. It is also an effective and efficient system of self-paced
personal training available over the internet. The commission on Technology and
Adult learning (2001) defined e-learning as instructional content or learning
experiences delivered or enabled by electronic technology. According to Era (2006),
e-learning refers to computer-enhanced training as opposed to the computer-
based training of the 1980s. It is usually delivered within a computer and includes
learning delivered by other communication technologies. He stressed that e-
learning is an approach to facilitate and enhance learning through both computer
and communication technologies. The devices often used for this purpose include
personal computers, CDROMs, television, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
handheld devices that were originally designed as personal organizers, but became
much more versatile over the years, MP3 players and mobile phones.
Communication technology enables the use of internet, e-mail, discussion forums,
collaborative software, classroom management software, team learning systems,
intranet, extranet, Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), audio
and videotape, satellite and interactive television lectures, satellite-delivered
learning, virtual educational networks, satellite downlinks, computerized
diagnostic assessment, competency certificate and electronic portfolios.
E-learning is facilitated and supported through the use of information and
communication technology. It is based on electronic formats. E-learning can benefit
any student irrespective of the background as a result of enhanced learning
opportunities provided by ICT. A key issue in pedagogy is individualization, that is,
adapting the teaching to the needs of various learners (Asogwa, 2006). E-learning
provides this by accelerating the required courses which eventually lead to
increased graduation rates and lower drop-out rates of students.
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According to Bassey, Umoren, Akuegwu, Udida, Ntukiden & Ekabua (2007), e-
learning should be seen as offering solutions to several challenges currently facing
higher education. These include the move towards lifelong learning, with its
ongoing demand for continuous professional development, and the drive to wider
participation. These challenges come out at a time of increasing pressure on
resources and the increasing diversity in the student population and their modes
of attendance, including learning that is part-time, at a distance, open or flexible,
and work based. E-learning can improve the flexibility and quality of learning by:
a) Providing access to a range of resources and materials which may not
otherwise be available or accessible for example graphics, sound, animation,
multi-media.
b) Giving control to students over when and where they study.
c) Allowing students to study at their own pace.
d) Providing a student with centered learning environment which can be
tailored to meet the learning needs of individual students.
e) Creating an environment that promotes an active approach to learning.
f) Supporting increased communications between staff and students and
amongst students.
g) Providing frequent and timely individual feedback, for example through
computer assisted assessment and positive reinforcement.
h) Motivating students through appropriate use of interactive courseware.
i) Supporting encouraging collaborative learning.
j) Supporting economic reuse of high quality, expensive resources.
k) Encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning.
Most recent research on distant learning programmes that use web technologies
have positive findings. Several studies indicate that students taking distance
learning courses have similar attitudes, grades and test scores as those students in
traditional classrooms. There is a huge body of research on distance learning
between the years of 1952 and 1992 that seem to conclude that learning outcomes
are not all that different from those of a traditional classroom. The major problem
with these researches is that it looks primarily at televised instruction rather than
web and computer based instruction. They found out that online students had
more peer contact with others in the class, enjoyed it more, spent more time on
classwork, understood the material better, and performed, on average 20% better
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than students who were taught in the traditional classroom. Sadly, this advantage
is yet to be of benefit to Nigerian students, as majority of them are computer
illiterates. Folorunso, Ogunseye and Sharma (2006) found that mass unawares, low
computer literacy level and cost were identified as critical factors affecting the
acceptability of e-learning by students and lecturers of Nigerian universities. In
addition, access to connectivity to internet has remained one of the major
challenges in many developing countries such as Nigeria. It is noted that students
would need access to computers that can send and receive messages using web
browsers. Odusanya and Bamgbala (2002) in their study found out that, majority of
final year students at the college of medicine, University of Lagos had limited
computer skills and only 23% of the students had used the internet for medical
research. They therefore concluded that Nigerian students’ population was
computer deficient. In the same way, Adomi and Anie (2006) reported that Nigerian
industry asked universities to deepen the knowledge levels of graduate skills in
online/internet searching, systems management and computer deficient. In the
same way, it was reported that Nigerian industry asked universities to deepen the
knowledge levels of ICT skills of university graduates. According to them, industry
was concerned about levels of graduate skills in online/internet searching, systems
management and computer keyboarding. However, despite this unsavory state of
affairs in students access to e-learning in universities, National Universities
Commission (NUC), the government agency responsible for registering and
regulating universities have prescribed personal computer ownership as follows: 1
PC to 4 students, 1 PC to 2 lecturers below the grade of lecturer 1, 1 PC per Senior
Lecturer and 1 notebook per Professor/Reader. Some universities like Nnamdi
Azikiwe University have met this mark in this PC-lecturer ratio, but are unable to
meet that of students. Some universities have equally made giant strides in campus
wide area networking and e-learning course deliveries.
E-learning is a means of education that incorporates self-motivation,
communication, efficiency, and technology. Because there is limited social
interaction, students must keep themselves motivated. The isolation intrinsic to e-
learning requires students to communicate with each other and the instructor
frequently to accomplish their assigned tasks. E-learning is efficient as it eliminates
distances and subsequent commutes. Distance is eliminated because the e-learning
content is designed with the media that can be accessed from properly equipped
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computer terminals and other means of internet accessible technology. Electronic
learning which facilitates education using communication networks, has made
learning possible from anywhere at any time by using the internet, Wide Area
Networks or Local Area Networks. Notably, e-learning applications which have
become central to the learning process may be developed using proprietary
programming tools. Meanwhile, the process of acquiring proprietary programming
tools, the license and using them to develop large software application is not only
complex but huge sum of money is spent on the purchase and license. These have
also affected the widespread and the level of usage of the system. A possible
solution to these problems is to utilize highly flexible open source application that
allows software engineers and institutions the right to reuse, study, distribute and
localize the codes to satisfy user’s requirements.
E-learning is not a new phenomenon in promoting education in Nigeria. Presently,
some institutions in Nigeria are using it to promote Distance Education (DE) and
lifelong learning. E-learning is the use of electronic technology to deliver education
and training applications, monitor learner’s performance and report learner’s
progress. Hedge & Hayward defined it as an innovative learning environments to
anyone, any place, any time, by utilizing the internet and digital technologies
concerned with instructional design principles. It is all about online ways of
acquiring knowledge through the internet or through offline CD-ROM. The online
involves the use of Internet Explorer/Navigator. It may be in form of audio, visual,
audio/visual.
Flexibility is a major benefit of e-learning. It has the advantage of taking class
anytime anywhere. Education is available when and where it is needed. E-learning
can be done at the office, at home, on the road, 24 hours a day, and seven days a
week. E-learning also has measurable assessments which can be created so that
the instructors and the students will know what the students have learned, when
they have completed courses, and how they have performed. Students have the
advantage of learning at their own pace. Students can also learn through a variety
of activities that apply to many different learning styles leaners have. Learners can
fit e-learning into their busy schedule. If they hold a job, they can still be working
with e-learning. If the learner needs to do the learning at night, then this option is
available. Learners can sit at their homes in their pajamas and do the learning if
they desire. E-learning encourages students to peruse through information by using
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hyperlinks and sites on the worldwide web. Students are able to find information
relevant to their personal situations and interest. E-learning allows students to
select learning materials that meet their level of knowledge, interest and what they
need to know to perform more effectively in an activity. E-learning is more focused
on the learner and it is more interesting for the learner because it is information
that they want to learn. E-learning is flexible and can be customized to meet the
individual needs of the learners. It helps students develop knowledge of the
internet. This knowledge will help learners throughout their careers. E-learning
encourages students to take personal responsibility for their own learning. When
learners succeed, it builds self-knowledge and self-confidence in them. Educators
and corporations really benefit from e-learning. Learners enjoy having the
opportunity to learn at their own pace, on their own time, and have it less costly.
HISTORY OF E-LEARNING IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES
The development of e-learning in Nigeria could be traced back to the development
of telecommunication which began in 1886 when e-cable connections was
established by the colonial masters between Lagos and the colonial office in
London to transmit information and receive feedback. By 1893, all government
offices in Lagos were provided with telephone service for easy communication,
feedback and easy access and later all other parts of the country were provided
with telephone services. They further stressed that in form of lecture notes on CD-
ROM which can be played as and when the learner desires. The challenge of this
method is that the computer in which these facilities are available are not
interactive as compared when lectures are being received in the classroom. Some
institutions adopted the use of intranet facilities, however, this was not well
maintained because of incessant power problem and high cost of running
generating set. Most students in Nigeria go to the cyber café but because there are
people of diverse intention on the net at the same time, and the bandwidth
problem, a multimedia interactive cannot be done. Despite all these and other
challenges facing e-learning in Nigerian educational institutions, institutions such
as University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Benin,
University of Abuja, University of Lagos, National Open University of Nigeria among
others have the facilities for e-learning. The number seems very low when
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compared with the total number of higher institutions in Nigeria. Location of most
institutions together with bandwidth issue and mostly the epileptic supply of
electricity is among the e-learning challenges. Though most of the educational
institutions (private and public) have started setting up their ICT centers for
internet services alone. Internet services are not all that e-leaning and e-resources
is all about, there are other components of e-learning center.
TOOLS USED IN E-LEARNING TRAINING
There are many e-learning tools available today. Whether you break it down by the
types of e-learning tools, or by the e-learning tools in regular use, the choice of
effective e-learning tools is not endless. The most astonishing aspect of the growth
in the number of e-learning tools is not the sheer quantity, but the prolific and still
growing use of e-learning tools. Before choosing a tool, it is important to
understand what the objectives entails (that is learners’ needs, presentation
method, etc). In building instruction through e-learning, there are several tools
available for use. Some of the tools as identified by Dunkleberger (2006), include;
Microsoft Power Point
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/FX01857971033.aspx
Macromedia Breeze
htt://www.macromedia.com/software/breeze/
Macromedia Captivate
htt://www.macromedia.com./software/captivate/
Articulate Rapid E-learning Studio
http://www.articulate.com/
Articulate Presenter
http://www.articulate.com/
CHARACTERISTICS OF E-LEARNERS
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When e-learning was developed, advocates were to state that e-learning was for
everyone. However, as e-learning has evolved and developed, it is becoming
evident that those who achieve success in the e-learning environment possess
some similar characteristics. According to the Department of Instructional
Technology in Kieser, Kathy and Schmidt (2006), e-learning participants were asked
to respond to “what factors and/or skills contribute to being a successful student
in an e-learning class?”. The responses included:
Self-discipline
Patience
Self-motivation
Communication
Asking questions
Knowledge of how e-learning works
Familiarity with the software
Time management
Ability to work independently
Ability to communicate with groups via distance
Active participation in the class
Being able to compromise and communicate effectively
Ability to multitask
HOW TO MAKE LEARNING MORE EFFECTIVE
Many suggestions were also made as to what would make e-learning more
effective in respondents’ countries. Among the most frequently mentioned were:
Availability to hardware (particularly computers)
Faster internet connectivity/improved bandwidth
Improved software
Appropriate facilities favoring e-learning
Provision of technical support for e-learning at a range of scales
Lower prices for connectivity
Availability of reliable electricity
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Appropriate content in appropriate languages
Awareness raising about the value of e-learning
Improved training for teachers in e-learning at all levels
CHALLENGES OF E-LEARNING IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES
E-learning in Nigerian universities and educational institutions is still a dream
because of poor ICT infrastructure and other socio-economic reasons. Due to very
high primary cost of infrastructural development and to increase public access to
internet and other ICTs, the developing countries are still far behind from getting
benefit from the e-learning. The major problems facing the proper implementation
of e-learning in Nigerian institutions according in general are as follows:
Inequality of access to the technology itself by all students.
The cost of Personal Computer (PC) or laptop is still very high in Nigeria
considering the income level of an average worker in the country. Few
students that are privileged to have PC/Laptops are not connected to the
internet as this always attract extra cost which they cannot afford.
Technophobia: Most of the students have no computer education
background, hence, they are afraid of operating one. Some go to the extent
of hiring experts at a cost to fill their admission forms, registration forms and
other documents meant for them to be filled online. However, the very few
who have access to the computer do not know how to use it and maximize
its usage.
Internet Connectivity: The cost of accessing internet is still very high in
Nigeria. Most students make use of cyber café where they are charged
between N100.00 and N50.00 per hour despite their poor service slow rate
of their server.
School Curriculum: Most of the students admitted have no information
technology/computer education knowledge because it was not entrenched
in the curriculum at their elementary and secondary level of education.
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Attitude of Students: ICT encourages independent learning. Most students
are reluctant to take responsibility for their own learning. But they prefer to
be spoon-fed at all times.
Software and License cost: It is very expensive to get some of the software
because they are not developed locally; they are developed in Europe, and
other developed countries to suit their own system and make their own
living. The cost and even the interpretation of the software put off some of
the students who show interest.
Maintenance and Technical Support: There are few technical staff to
maintain the system, this makes it very expensive for students that have PC
to maintain when a technical problem is noticed.
Electricity: The perennial problem in Nigeria is the problem of electricity
instability which has been a major setback for our technological
development. Some of the students that resides in cities and towns are
faced with the problem of epileptic supply of electricity. Majority of them
live in rural areas that are not connected to the national grid.
PROSPECTS OF E-LEARNING IN NIGERIA
E-learning has several advantages in promoting the activities of an open and
distance learning institution. Some of the important advantages are as follows:
Students will learn what they need to learn and go at their own pace.
The internet will provide students with the opportunity to make choices
about the type and direction of their learning and gain feedback quickly and
efficiently. This has the potential to cater for individual learning and styles
and requirements providing information about a topic of personal interest.
The courses provided have wide variety of courses based on IT and non-IT
topics, which is an additional benefit to attract large number of learners
from all background.
E-learning provides students courses round the clock i.e. 7 days a week and
24 hours a day, which further attracts the working class, students and
individuals.
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Computers with high internet infrastructure help management to reduce
the overhead cost as there won’t be any recruitment, training and
upgradation of facilities.
Internet activities enables students to discover how the information they
gain fits into the real life.
The internet provides students a culturally, racially, physically and gender
anonymous medium for communication. Social misbehavior can be
reduced as students realize that they are judged solely on what they say
and how they say it.
RECOMMENDATIONS
The university admission should discard the idea of providing for e-learning
alone. They should go into public and private partnership such as the one
existing with AfriHub, Socket Works and should expand to include NIIT
because of their success story in Asia, where they partnered with the
government of Karnataka State in India to equip 700 schools with ICT
laboratories in 45 days. By bringing in private server sectors, the universities
can meet their e-learning objectives, through the provision of cost-effective
means of increasing access, equity, and quality both in formal and vocational
education.
The universities should put in place an effective ICT board that will liaise with
them to oversee the implementation and facilitate increased capital,
introduce market discipline in decision-making, introduce private sector
knowledge and management skills to public sector. The university
administration should also support private sector e-learning initiatives. This
should include the provision of e-learning instruction for pre-service and in-
service professional development of teachers and training of students and
contracting with the private sector in financing, equipping and maintaining
the computer laboratories in the universities.
The university administration through their liaison offices should liaise with
multi-national agencies such as the USAID, who provide the digital
opportunity through technology communication for a five-year period which
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involves $15 million U.S government effort to promote information and
communication technology of development.
The universities should form a consortium to purchase bandwidth. This will
enable them purchase a greater volume which will lower the marginal cost
of that bandwidth. The implication of this is that where small groups of
universities come together, they can dramatically lower their per-unit
bandwidth costs.
The university administration in conjunction with the government should put
in place modalities to enable undergraduate students to acquire their
personal computers. This will not only alleviate the problem of computer
literacy, but also enhance students’ access to them.
CONCLUSION
Educational systems around the world are being redesigned to rely more on
electronic delivery methods and Nigeria is following the trend with its provision of
e-learning opportunities to learners at any time anywhere convenient to the
learner. E-learning is beneficial to education, corporate bodies and to all types of
learners. It is affordable, saves time, and produces measurable results. E-learning
is more cost effective than traditional learning because less time and money is
spent travelling. Since e-learning can be done in any geographic location and there
are no travel expenses, this type of learning is much less costly than doing learning
at a traditional institute.
REFERENCES
Ajadi, T., Salawu, O. & Adeoye, F. (2008). E-learning and distance education in
Nigeria. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology. 7 (4).
Kieser, A., Keller, K. & Schmidt, J. (2006). E-learning: An introduction to e-leaner in
E-learning Concept and Technique. In E-learning concepts and Techniques
Institute for Interactive Technologies, Bloomsburg University of
Pennsylvania, USA.
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Olorundare, S. (2006, May 15 18). Utilization of ICT in Curriculum Development,
Implementation and Evaluation. Paper presented at the National
Conference Information and Communication Technology in service of
Education, Institute of Education. University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Odusanya, O.O. & Bamgbala, O.A. (2019). Computing and information technology
Skills of final year medical and dental students at the College of Medicine,
University of Lagos, Nigeria. Nigerian Post-Graduate Medical Journal. 9 (4).
190 193.
Darkwa, O. & Mazibuko, F. (2019). Creating Virtual Learning Communities in
Africa: Challenges and Prospects. Retrieved from
htt://www.firstmonday.dk/issues 5.5/darkwa on 11/7/2020.
Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004). National Policy in Education. 4
th
ed.
Lagos NERDC.

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SEMINAR PAPER FEDERAL COLLEGE OF EDUCATION (TECH.), UMUNZE, ANAMBRA STATE, NIGERIA. STATUS/CHALLENGES OF E-LEARNING IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES ABSTRACT This paper discusses the status of e-learning in Nigeria. It commences by discussing the concepts and history of e-learning. The challenges of e-learning such as inequality of access to technology itself by students, high cost of personal computers and laptops, etc, were highlighted. Prospects of e-learning in Nigeria were also discussed. Based on these, some public and private partnership such as ones existing with AfriHub and Socket Works, and form a consortium to purchase bandwidth among others. This paper concluded by discussing the challenges of elearning in Nigeria such as high cost of internet connectivity, telephobia, software and license cost, high cost of personal computer, lack of maintenance and technical support. INTRODUCTION Education is the key to development. Government at all levels allocate substantial amount of the annual budget to education sector in order to justify the importance of this sector in national development. Education is provided through formal and informal means. In formal settings, conventional (face-to-face school instruction) and distance education (offered with separation in terms of physical location of instructors and students) have been used to provide educational opportunities to recipients. E-learning though not new in Nigeria has been given much prominence of recent times as it is in advanced countries of the world. Many Nigerians have benefited through the open education (correspondence) Rapid Result College, and Exam Success Correspondence College. The revised national policy on education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, FRN 2004) stipulates that the detailed goals of distance education should be to: • Provide access to quality education and equity in educational opportunities for those who otherwise would have been denied. • Meet special needs of employers by mounting special certificate courses for their employees at their work place. • Encourage internalization especially of tertiary education curricula. • Ameliorate the effect of internal and external brain drain in tertiary institutions by utilizing Nigerian experts as teachers regardless of their locations or places of work. To achieve these goals, it is stated that the federal government of Nigeria shall ensure that distance education programme are equivalent in structure and status to those offered by face-to-face mode of instruction, and that the government shall encourage and regulate distance education programme in Nigeria. It shall also establish distance education advisory body to advise government on distance education, promote distance education nationwide, liaise with media establishments, encourage efforts and other non-governmental organizations that make the provision of quality distance education possible, encourage participation in distance education programme at all levels and strengthen the capacity of existing institutions providing distance education. In this era of Information and Communication Technology, with the associated e-resources, e-learning is now in vogue. CONCEPT AND ADVANTAGES OF E-LEARNING Kieser, Keller, and Schmidt, (2006) defined e-learning as “web-delivered and/or web-supported teaching and learning using computer, multimedia, and internet technologies.” It can also be defined as a learning system based on formalized teaching but with the help of electronic resources. Therefore, e-learners are those students that participate in the e-learning process. The learning with the computer means online knowledge acquisition through the internet or offline through CDROM and so on. The online requires the use of browsers such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. The convergence of the internet and learning, or internet- enabled learning is called e-learning. It uses network technologies to create, foster, deliver, facilitate learning, anytime and anywhere. It is also the delivery of individualized, comprehensive, dynamic learning content in real time, aiding the development of communities of knowledge, linking learners and practitioners with experts. E-learning is a means of education that incorporates self-motivation, communication, efficiency, and technology. Opening Learning Centre (2007) saw elearning as the effective teaching and learning process created by combining edigital content with local community and tutor support along with global community engagements. It is also an effective and efficient system of self-paced personal training available over the internet. The commission on Technology and Adult learning (2001) defined e-learning as instructional content or learning experiences delivered or enabled by electronic technology. According to Era (2006), e-learning refers to computer-enhanced training as opposed to the computerbased training of the 1980s. It is usually delivered within a computer and includes learning delivered by other communication technologies. He stressed that elearning is an approach to facilitate and enhance learning through both computer and communication technologies. The devices often used for this purpose include personal computers, CDROMs, television, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) handheld devices that were originally designed as personal organizers, but became much more versatile over the years, MP3 players and mobile phones. Communication technology enables the use of internet, e-mail, discussion forums, collaborative software, classroom management software, team learning systems, intranet, extranet, Local Area Network (LAN), Wide Area Network (WAN), audio and videotape, satellite and interactive television lectures, satellite-delivered learning, virtual educational networks, satellite downlinks, computerized diagnostic assessment, competency certificate and electronic portfolios. E-learning is facilitated and supported through the use of information and communication technology. It is based on electronic formats. E-learning can benefit any student irrespective of the background as a result of enhanced learning opportunities provided by ICT. A key issue in pedagogy is individualization, that is, adapting the teaching to the needs of various learners (Asogwa, 2006). E-learning provides this by accelerating the required courses which eventually lead to increased graduation rates and lower drop-out rates of students. According to Bassey, Umoren, Akuegwu, Udida, Ntukiden & Ekabua (2007), elearning should be seen as offering solutions to several challenges currently facing higher education. These include the move towards lifelong learning, with its ongoing demand for continuous professional development, and the drive to wider participation. These challenges come out at a time of increasing pressure on resources and the increasing diversity in the student population and their modes of attendance, including learning that is part-time, at a distance, open or flexible, and work based. E-learning can improve the flexibility and quality of learning by: a) Providing access to a range of resources and materials which may not otherwise be available or accessible for example graphics, sound, animation, multi-media. b) Giving control to students over when and where they study. c) Allowing students to study at their own pace. d) Providing a student with centered learning environment which can be tailored to meet the learning needs of individual students. e) Creating an environment that promotes an active approach to learning. f) Supporting increased communications between staff and students and amongst students. g) Providing frequent and timely individual feedback, for example through computer assisted assessment and positive reinforcement. h) Motivating students through appropriate use of interactive courseware. i) Supporting encouraging collaborative learning. j) Supporting economic reuse of high quality, expensive resources. k) Encouraging students to take responsibility for their own learning. Most recent research on distant learning programmes that use web technologies have positive findings. Several studies indicate that students taking distance learning courses have similar attitudes, grades and test scores as those students in traditional classrooms. There is a huge body of research on distance learning between the years of 1952 and 1992 that seem to conclude that learning outcomes are not all that different from those of a traditional classroom. The major problem with these researches is that it looks primarily at televised instruction rather than web and computer based instruction. They found out that online students had more peer contact with others in the class, enjoyed it more, spent more time on classwork, understood the material better, and performed, on average 20% better than students who were taught in the traditional classroom. Sadly, this advantage is yet to be of benefit to Nigerian students, as majority of them are computer illiterates. Folorunso, Ogunseye and Sharma (2006) found that mass unawares, low computer literacy level and cost were identified as critical factors affecting the acceptability of e-learning by students and lecturers of Nigerian universities. In addition, access to connectivity to internet has remained one of the major challenges in many developing countries such as Nigeria. It is noted that students would need access to computers that can send and receive messages using web browsers. Odusanya and Bamgbala (2002) in their study found out that, majority of final year students at the college of medicine, University of Lagos had limited computer skills and only 23% of the students had used the internet for medical research. They therefore concluded that Nigerian students’ population was computer deficient. In the same way, Adomi and Anie (2006) reported that Nigerian industry asked universities to deepen the knowledge levels of graduate skills in online/internet searching, systems management and computer deficient. In the same way, it was reported that Nigerian industry asked universities to deepen the knowledge levels of ICT skills of university graduates. According to them, industry was concerned about levels of graduate skills in online/internet searching, systems management and computer keyboarding. However, despite this unsavory state of affairs in students’ access to e-learning in universities, National Universities Commission (NUC), the government agency responsible for registering and regulating universities have prescribed personal computer ownership as follows: 1 PC to 4 students, 1 PC to 2 lecturers below the grade of lecturer 1, 1 PC per Senior Lecturer and 1 notebook per Professor/Reader. Some universities like Nnamdi Azikiwe University have met this mark in this PC-lecturer ratio, but are unable to meet that of students. Some universities have equally made giant strides in campus wide area networking and e-learning course deliveries. E-learning is a means of education that incorporates self-motivation, communication, efficiency, and technology. Because there is limited social interaction, students must keep themselves motivated. The isolation intrinsic to elearning requires students to communicate with each other and the instructor frequently to accomplish their assigned tasks. E-learning is efficient as it eliminates distances and subsequent commutes. Distance is eliminated because the e-learning content is designed with the media that can be accessed from properly equipped computer terminals and other means of internet accessible technology. Electronic learning which facilitates education using communication networks, has made learning possible from anywhere at any time by using the internet, Wide Area Networks or Local Area Networks. Notably, e-learning applications which have become central to the learning process may be developed using proprietary programming tools. Meanwhile, the process of acquiring proprietary programming tools, the license and using them to develop large software application is not only complex but huge sum of money is spent on the purchase and license. These have also affected the widespread and the level of usage of the system. A possible solution to these problems is to utilize highly flexible open source application that allows software engineers and institutions the right to reuse, study, distribute and localize the codes to satisfy user’s requirements. E-learning is not a new phenomenon in promoting education in Nigeria. Presently, some institutions in Nigeria are using it to promote Distance Education (DE) and lifelong learning. E-learning is the use of electronic technology to deliver education and training applications, monitor learner’s performance and report learner’s progress. Hedge & Hayward defined it as an innovative learning environments to anyone, any place, any time, by utilizing the internet and digital technologies concerned with instructional design principles. It is all about online ways of acquiring knowledge through the internet or through offline CD-ROM. The online involves the use of Internet Explorer/Navigator. It may be in form of audio, visual, audio/visual. Flexibility is a major benefit of e-learning. It has the advantage of taking class anytime anywhere. Education is available when and where it is needed. E-learning can be done at the office, at home, on the road, 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. E-learning also has measurable assessments which can be created so that the instructors and the students will know what the students have learned, when they have completed courses, and how they have performed. Students have the advantage of learning at their own pace. Students can also learn through a variety of activities that apply to many different learning styles leaners have. Learners can fit e-learning into their busy schedule. If they hold a job, they can still be working with e-learning. If the learner needs to do the learning at night, then this option is available. Learners can sit at their homes in their pajamas and do the learning if they desire. E-learning encourages students to peruse through information by using hyperlinks and sites on the worldwide web. Students are able to find information relevant to their personal situations and interest. E-learning allows students to select learning materials that meet their level of knowledge, interest and what they need to know to perform more effectively in an activity. E-learning is more focused on the learner and it is more interesting for the learner because it is information that they want to learn. E-learning is flexible and can be customized to meet the individual needs of the learners. It helps students develop knowledge of the internet. This knowledge will help learners throughout their careers. E-learning encourages students to take personal responsibility for their own learning. When learners succeed, it builds self-knowledge and self-confidence in them. Educators and corporations really benefit from e-learning. Learners enjoy having the opportunity to learn at their own pace, on their own time, and have it less costly. HISTORY OF E-LEARNING IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES The development of e-learning in Nigeria could be traced back to the development of telecommunication which began in 1886 when e-cable connections was established by the colonial masters between Lagos and the colonial office in London to transmit information and receive feedback. By 1893, all government offices in Lagos were provided with telephone service for easy communication, feedback and easy access and later all other parts of the country were provided with telephone services. They further stressed that in form of lecture notes on CDROM which can be played as and when the learner desires. The challenge of this method is that the computer in which these facilities are available are not interactive as compared when lectures are being received in the classroom. Some institutions adopted the use of intranet facilities, however, this was not well maintained because of incessant power problem and high cost of running generating set. Most students in Nigeria go to the cyber café but because there are people of diverse intention on the net at the same time, and the bandwidth problem, a multimedia interactive cannot be done. Despite all these and other challenges facing e-learning in Nigerian educational institutions, institutions such as University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Benin, University of Abuja, University of Lagos, National Open University of Nigeria among others have the facilities for e-learning. The number seems very low when compared with the total number of higher institutions in Nigeria. Location of most institutions together with bandwidth issue and mostly the epileptic supply of electricity is among the e-learning challenges. Though most of the educational institutions (private and public) have started setting up their ICT centers for internet services alone. Internet services are not all that e-leaning and e-resources is all about, there are other components of e-learning center. TOOLS USED IN E-LEARNING TRAINING There are many e-learning tools available today. Whether you break it down by the types of e-learning tools, or by the e-learning tools in regular use, the choice of effective e-learning tools is not endless. The most astonishing aspect of the growth in the number of e-learning tools is not the sheer quantity, but the prolific and still growing use of e-learning tools. Before choosing a tool, it is important to understand what the objectives entails (that is learners’ needs, presentation method, etc). In building instruction through e-learning, there are several tools available for use. Some of the tools as identified by Dunkleberger (2006), include; Microsoft Power Point • http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/FX01857971033.aspx Macromedia Breeze • htt://www.macromedia.com/software/breeze/ Macromedia Captivate • htt://www.macromedia.com./software/captivate/ Articulate Rapid E-learning Studio • http://www.articulate.com/ Articulate Presenter • http://www.articulate.com/ CHARACTERISTICS OF E-LEARNERS When e-learning was developed, advocates were to state that e-learning was for everyone. However, as e-learning has evolved and developed, it is becoming evident that those who achieve success in the e-learning environment possess some similar characteristics. According to the Department of Instructional Technology in Kieser, Kathy and Schmidt (2006), e-learning participants were asked to respond to “what factors and/or skills contribute to being a successful student in an e-learning class?”. The responses included: • • • • • • • • • • • • • Self-discipline Patience Self-motivation Communication Asking questions Knowledge of how e-learning works Familiarity with the software Time management Ability to work independently Ability to communicate with groups via distance Active participation in the class Being able to compromise and communicate effectively Ability to multitask HOW TO MAKE LEARNING MORE EFFECTIVE Many suggestions were also made as to what would make e-learning more effective in respondents’ countries. Among the most frequently mentioned were: • • • • • • • Availability to hardware (particularly computers) Faster internet connectivity/improved bandwidth Improved software Appropriate facilities favoring e-learning Provision of technical support for e-learning at a range of scales Lower prices for connectivity Availability of reliable electricity • Appropriate content in appropriate languages • Awareness raising about the value of e-learning • Improved training for teachers in e-learning at all levels CHALLENGES OF E-LEARNING IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES E-learning in Nigerian universities and educational institutions is still a dream because of poor ICT infrastructure and other socio-economic reasons. Due to very high primary cost of infrastructural development and to increase public access to internet and other ICTs, the developing countries are still far behind from getting benefit from the e-learning. The major problems facing the proper implementation of e-learning in Nigerian institutions according in general are as follows: • Inequality of access to the technology itself by all students. • The cost of Personal Computer (PC) or laptop is still very high in Nigeria considering the income level of an average worker in the country. Few students that are privileged to have PC/Laptops are not connected to the internet as this always attract extra cost which they cannot afford. • Technophobia: Most of the students have no computer education background, hence, they are afraid of operating one. Some go to the extent of hiring experts at a cost to fill their admission forms, registration forms and other documents meant for them to be filled online. However, the very few who have access to the computer do not know how to use it and maximize its usage. • Internet Connectivity: The cost of accessing internet is still very high in Nigeria. Most students make use of cyber café where they are charged between N100.00 and N50.00 per hour despite their poor service slow rate of their server. • School Curriculum: Most of the students admitted have no information technology/computer education knowledge because it was not entrenched in the curriculum at their elementary and secondary level of education. • Attitude of Students: ICT encourages independent learning. Most students are reluctant to take responsibility for their own learning. But they prefer to be spoon-fed at all times. • Software and License cost: It is very expensive to get some of the software because they are not developed locally; they are developed in Europe, and other developed countries to suit their own system and make their own living. The cost and even the interpretation of the software put off some of the students who show interest. • Maintenance and Technical Support: There are few technical staff to maintain the system, this makes it very expensive for students that have PC to maintain when a technical problem is noticed. • Electricity: The perennial problem in Nigeria is the problem of electricity instability which has been a major setback for our technological development. Some of the students that resides in cities and towns are faced with the problem of epileptic supply of electricity. Majority of them live in rural areas that are not connected to the national grid. PROSPECTS OF E-LEARNING IN NIGERIA E-learning has several advantages in promoting the activities of an open and distance learning institution. Some of the important advantages are as follows: • Students will learn what they need to learn and go at their own pace. • The internet will provide students with the opportunity to make choices about the type and direction of their learning and gain feedback quickly and efficiently. This has the potential to cater for individual learning and styles and requirements providing information about a topic of personal interest. • The courses provided have wide variety of courses based on IT and non-IT topics, which is an additional benefit to attract large number of learners from all background. • E-learning provides students courses round the clock i.e. 7 days a week and 24 hours a day, which further attracts the working class, students and individuals. • Computers with high internet infrastructure help management to reduce the overhead cost as there won’t be any recruitment, training and upgradation of facilities. • Internet activities enables students to discover how the information they gain fits into the real life. • The internet provides students a culturally, racially, physically and gender anonymous medium for communication. Social misbehavior can be reduced as students realize that they are judged solely on what they say and how they say it. RECOMMENDATIONS • The university admission should discard the idea of providing for e-learning alone. They should go into public and private partnership such as the one existing with AfriHub, Socket Works and should expand to include NIIT because of their success story in Asia, where they partnered with the government of Karnataka State in India to equip 700 schools with ICT laboratories in 45 days. By bringing in private server sectors, the universities can meet their e-learning objectives, through the provision of cost-effective means of increasing access, equity, and quality both in formal and vocational education. • The universities should put in place an effective ICT board that will liaise with them to oversee the implementation and facilitate increased capital, introduce market discipline in decision-making, introduce private sector knowledge and management skills to public sector. The university administration should also support private sector e-learning initiatives. This should include the provision of e-learning instruction for pre-service and inservice professional development of teachers and training of students and contracting with the private sector in financing, equipping and maintaining the computer laboratories in the universities. • The university administration through their liaison offices should liaise with multi-national agencies such as the USAID, who provide the digital opportunity through technology communication for a five-year period which involves $15 million U.S government effort to promote information and communication technology of development. • The universities should form a consortium to purchase bandwidth. This will enable them purchase a greater volume which will lower the marginal cost of that bandwidth. The implication of this is that where small groups of universities come together, they can dramatically lower their per-unit bandwidth costs. • The university administration in conjunction with the government should put in place modalities to enable undergraduate students to acquire their personal computers. This will not only alleviate the problem of computer literacy, but also enhance students’ access to them. CONCLUSION Educational systems around the world are being redesigned to rely more on electronic delivery methods and Nigeria is following the trend with its provision of e-learning opportunities to learners at any time anywhere convenient to the learner. E-learning is beneficial to education, corporate bodies and to all types of learners. It is affordable, saves time, and produces measurable results. E-learning is more cost effective than traditional learning because less time and money is spent travelling. Since e-learning can be done in any geographic location and there are no travel expenses, this type of learning is much less costly than doing learning at a traditional institute. REFERENCES Ajadi, T., Salawu, O. & Adeoye, F. (2008). E-learning and distance education in Nigeria. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology. 7 (4). Kieser, A., Keller, K. & Schmidt, J. (2006). E-learning: An introduction to e-leaner in E-learning Concept and Technique. In E-learning concepts and Techniques Institute for Interactive Technologies, Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, USA. Olorundare, S. (2006, May 15 18). Utilization of ICT in Curriculum Development, Implementation and Evaluation. Paper presented at the National Conference Information and Communication Technology in service of Education, Institute of Education. University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Odusanya, O.O. & Bamgbala, O.A. (2019). Computing and information technology Skills of final year medical and dental students at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Nigeria. Nigerian Post-Graduate Medical Journal. 9 (4). 190 193. Darkwa, O. & Mazibuko, F. (2019). Creating Virtual Learning Communities in Africa: Challenges and Prospects. Retrieved from htt://www.firstmonday.dk/issues 5.5/darkwa on 11/7/2020. Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004). National Policy in Education. 4th ed. Lagos NERDC. Name: Description: ...
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