logo

You are here

Warning message

Attention! This event has already passed.

Embedding learning technologies in developing countries. E-readiness: concept, application, analysis and comparison between five higher education institutions

Wednesday, 20 December, 2006 - 18:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculty: Social Sciences and Solvay Business School
D
2.01
Carlos Machado Garcia
phd defence

The study investigates the nature of the concept of ereadiness
and proposes a theoretical and operational model
representing the concept of e-readiness within the context
of higher education institutions in developing countries.
The research for the doctoral thesis was carried out as an
additional project line within the framework of a multiplier
project called TOHOST-CA (Tourism and Hospitality Studies
in Central Asia) in five higher education institutions (HEIs)
in Uzbekistan, Mongolia and Kyrgistan. This initiative,
funded by TEMPUS-TACIS, not only co-ordinates curricula in
hospitality and tourism studies among these countries, but
also facilitates the introduction of a virtual open source
platform for the delivery of electronic courses, and thus the
opportunity to embrace the e-learning paradigm.

The measurement of e-readiness is originally related to the
digital divide in and among countries. Consequently, ereadiness
has usually been studied on an aggregate level.
The result consisted of a number of complex ranking
models with regard to e-readiness. In the second
generation of studies e-readiness is applied at micro or
organizational level. The input of the present research has
to be situated in this context.

A review of the relevant literature shows that very few
conceptual models have appeared to approach the
characteristics of e-readiness for e-learning, particularly for
higher education. Therefore, this study aims to widen the
understanding of contextual factors by examining three
fundamental dimensions in the construction of an e-learning
environment in HEIs of developing countries: facility, ability
and capacity.

In combination with an audit tool that assesses the cultural
aspects, infrastructure and expertise concerning learning
technologies in educational institutions, the three
abovementioned dimensions are used to identify levels of ereadiness
of HEIs to introduce e-learning activities in the
classroom.

Thus, progress of these HEIs towards implementing
learning technologies is measured particularly by the
degree of their abilities (based on the strategies and
policies available), organizational facilities (in terms of
infrastructure able to sustain the electronic delivery of the
content of the courses), and the capacity of the end users
(e.g. skills, attitude, motivation of teachers and students).
Interviews with key stakeholders, surveys among endusers
(e.g. teachers and students) and participative
observation were used as research methods. One of the
main findings is that although computers are available in
these institutions and end-users are relatively able to
operate with learning technologies, there are other
important conditions that are not put into place. For
example, these HEIs are placing too much emphasis on the
technological aspect of these technologies and less on their
pedagogic opportunities. Likewise, in some occasions there
is a lack of coordinated policies within institutions, faculties
and departments.