CAN DIGITAL TOOLS CHANGE THEIR FUTURE?
YES THEY CAN...this is a bold statment that could alert the critics. But my conviction is not only based on gut feeling, but also observation, personal experience and learnings. I have got used to learn in a totally different way from what we have been taught at our secondary school some 30 years ago. Since we take internet connectivity for granted, life has changed. Learning for life has a new meaning with a amazingly large foundation. While not all the consumption of available knowledge at the push of a button is beneficiary, I certainly can find answers, opinions and documented experiences to almost any question one can think of. The trick is therefore to ask the right questions! The power of global sharing has enabaled us to think in global perspectives and apply it to local situations. Such richness in solution finding for ones personal life situation should not be the priviledge of a few in affluent countires, but the right to everybody, especially the people trying to escape poverty.
An abundance of studies about the impact of eLearning and pupils performance resulted in a variety of conclusions with ample reservation when it comes to the positve effects of eLearning. However, not all the benefits we enjoy today need a randomised control trial to proof a concept, because life teaches us otherwise. People are smart enough to find out what benefits them most because that's where they invest their energy and resources in. "Airtime" or bandwidth has become the new currency reigning over all other industries. A good example is MPESA in East Africa. Nobody has forseen that mobile cash will grow faster in developing countries than in our so called developed world. It entered the lifes of nomads as a side effect of an innovative solution for a real cash problem in remote areas. People now learn on the go, even illiterates learnt to handle smart phones, cash transfers and SMS to meet their needs to communicate and connect.
I am convinced that a new generation of learners will evolve. They will use tomorrows multimedia learning centers to advance their personal cause and design their career path to become participants in a global community. We are obliged not to hesitate or procrastiate in proviing equal chances to people in remote locations as fast and as efficiently as possible.
To answer the initial question in a more academic way, I will list a few studies here, that you might find interest in. Overall, wou will be able to dig out arguments for eLearning and arguments against it. My philosophy is; let us liberate the people in crisis and poverty from isolation and marginalisation by letting them choose their learning path for themselves by providing equal opportunities.
My preferred eLearning Research references:
Unlocking talent: Evaluation of a tablet-‐based Masamu intervention in a Malawian Primary School | Dr. Nicola Pitchford
Evidence of significant learning gains | One Billion - based on Dr. Pitchfords findings in Malawi and the UK
Research on the Use of Khan Academy in Schools - 2014| SRI Education
SRI Education's two-year study involved nine sites, 20 schools, and more than 70 teachers.
(Khan Academy is available on the RACHEL Plus Server)
Localization of Open Educational Resources (OER) in Nepal: Strategies of Himalayan Knowledge-Workers | Tiffany Ivins
(relevant for our Nepal community learning lab)
Open Education Resources and Mobile Technology to Narrow the Learning Divide | Ally & Samaka
Teacher education and ICT: some points for consideration from the UK |T.Haydn
If YOU have current and pertinant knowledge about relevant studies and findings about learning outcomes through digital education practices please share in our Blog at the bottom of the entry page .