Can E-learning break the Digital Divide?

From Online Learning Update, as enlightening as always! :))

Jozef Hvorecký, from the Vysoká škola manažmentu, publishes in the European Journal of Distance Learning an article entitled Can E-learning break the Digital Divide? – not very optimistic, I dare say…

He starts stating some counterarguments against the optimistics’ vision of “students in Third-World countries. In accordance to well-known practices of e-learning the students would study on their own pace by self-learning”:

Language barrier: Evident, specially at primary school level.

Absence of prerequisites: Say, lack of national qualified teachers to carry on with (especially) e-learning.

Technology hurdles: Evident too. The author passes quickly over this subject – maybe it’s too evident to spend too much time – but there’s lot more problems than he states: power (electricity), hardware, software, connectivity, digital illiteracy…

Difficulties with translation: (I guess it is same point than the first one, but under a new point of view)

He then explains his own experience in teaching three courses and, with some statistical data collected in these courses, he concludes:

Economic and organizational aspects of e-learning are often overlooked by its proponents, the necessity of building a proper infrastructure as well (Hvorecký, Rebro, 2004). The expenses generated by e-learning are high (preparation of courses, instructor training, class control, costs of supporting software, reliable mainframe as the carrier of the communication, network expenditure, etc.). The tuition must be such, too. It is naïve to believe that this will change soon.

To profit from e-learning, one should live on “the right side” of the Digital Divide.

Oh, my… :(


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2004) “Can E-learning break the Digital Divide?” In ICTlogy, #14, November 2004. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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