When people talk about e-Learning (electronic learning) or m-Learning (mobile learning), most tend to define e-Learning or m-Learning as “the use of x, y, z technology to learn something” or “the integration of x, y, z technology” in teaching and learning.
This type of definition is “technologically driven” rather than “academic driven” or “knowledge driven.” In fact, this definition is a form of operational definition or technical definition, not a conceptual definition.
In order to understand further on this issue, we need to go back to the definition of “learning”. What is learning?
Generally, “Learning” is a PROCESS of
- acquisition of knowledge or values
- mastery of skills or behaviors
- assimilation of new info into one’s existing knowledge system, and
- accommodation of new info into one’s existing knowledge system
Thus, when the terms “electronic” or “mobile” are coined with the word “learning”, like in e-Learning and m-Learning, conceptually, “learning” is still the major focus, not the technology. Technology is only a tool to enhance the learning process. Technology can be seen as an enabling tool to facilitate teaching or learning.
In other words, regardless of whether ‘e-‘ or ‘m-‘, the bottom line is learning is more important than the technology. Therefore, it is more appropriate to spell ” e-Learning” and “m-Learning” rather E-learning or M-learning. The “L” is more crucial here.
When “learning’ is seen more important than “technology” in the education world, then teachers would find some innovative and creative ways to exploit the potential of technology in their teaching. They know that they will not be controlled by the technology but they are the ones who control the technology. Therefore, teachers should find appropriate pedagogical techniques when they use technology.
We can find other compound words that are linked to “learning”, such as
- self-directed learning, or autonomous learning
- collaborative learning
- active learning
- experiential learning
- discovery learning
- smart learning
- computer-based learning
- computer-assisted language learning
- formal learning
- informal learning
- continuous learning
- life-long learning
- dialogic learning
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