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Trends and Future Developments in European Online Education.


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Title: Trends and Future Developments in European Online Education.

Trends and Future Developments in European Online
  • Morten Flate Paulsen
  • http//
  • Key note presentation at a conference organized
    by the Minerva BiTE project. Ipswich, December 5,

Online education surpassing Old Traditional
E-book about
  • Part One Online Education, Teaching, and
  • Part Two Commercial and Self-developed Learning
    Management Systems
  • Part Three Global E-learning in a Nordic
  • Part Four International Trends and Future

Online Education and Learning Management
Systems Global E-learning in a Scandinavian
15 years 1K
  • The number of online students has increased by a
    magnitude of 1,000.
  • The number of online courses has increased by a
    magnitude of 1,000.
  • The bandwidth has increased by a magnitude of
    1000, from 300 bits per second to 300,000 bits
    per second(i.e. from text to video)

About evolution
  • All are evolutionary developments that were
    visible 15 years ago and not really hard to
  • The only really revolutionary development in
    online education during this period was the
    introduction of the Web. This technological
    development, which nobody foresaw, emerged as the
    development with the largest impact on online
    education. (Page 286)

  • written communication, perhaps the most
    important part of online teaching and learning,
    has not changed much.
  • Most communication still consists of plain text,
    and the time it takes to turn on the computer,
    receive e-mail and compose messages has not been
    reduced. (Page 287)

  • Online pedagogy has not improved much
  • The quality of Internet is threatened by virus
    attacks, spam and advertising

Seven Important Trends
  • The large-scale mega trend,
  • The systems integration trend,
  • The standardization trend,
  • The market trend,
  • The mobile trend,
  • The broadband and multimedia trend,
  • The globalization trend.

The large-scale mega trend
  • The current mega trend shows clearly that online
    education is shifting from small-scale
    experiments to large-scale operations.

The large-scale mega trend
Towards Large-scale Systems
  • The Web-project shows that trend has come further
    in the Nordic countries than in other European
  • 2002 12 of 20 Nordic institutions offer at least
    50 online courses.
  • 1999 Only 3 of 22 surveyed Nordic institutions
    offered more than 50 online courses three years

The large-scale mega trend
The Mega Trend Requires Industrialization of
Online Education
The large-scale mega trend
In higher education
  • Online education becomes mainstream education in
    Scandinavia. Before year 2000, typical
    universities piloted a few online courses with
    some pioneering students. Today, many
    institutions are implementing online education
    services to all their students.
  • a Sloan Consortium study of online learning in
    American higher education shows that 97.6 of all
    public higher education institutions in the USA
    offer online learning degree programmes and
    courses, either as fully online programmes or as
    hybrid (blended) formats . (Nipper, Page 204)

The large-scale mega trend
In distance education
The large-scale mega trend
In schools
  • A large number of secondary schools are now using
    LMS systems
  • Even primary schools offer online services to
    many teachers, students, and parents.

The large-scale mega trend
About spread of e-learning
  • Evidence of the worldwide spread of e-learning is
    easy to obtain.
  • In April 2003, no fewer than 66,000 fully online
    courses and 1,200 complete online programs were
    listed on the TeleCampus portal(Page 140)

The large-scale mega trend
Statistics from Telecampushttp//courses.telecamp
  • March, 2002
  • 66107 courses
  • 47233 USA
  • 12620 Canada
  • 2242 Australia
  • 1202 UK
  • 2810 Other (NO 5, DK 0)
  • 1952 institutions
  • 36 countries
  • 17 languages
  • August, 2001
  • 50221 courses
  • 34796 USA
  • 10229 Canada
  • 2007 Australia
  • 1135 UK
  • 1170 Other (NO 1, DK 0)
  • 1481 institutions
  • 33 countries
  • 16 languages

The large-scale mega trend
The online teachers workload
The large-scale mega trend
About nightmares
  • Online education offers students excellent
    opportunities for individual communication with
    their tutors. They can be contacted via e-mail 24
    hours a day, 365 days a year. Few learning
    environments provide such opportunities for
    individual access to teachers. It is obvious that
    online students appreciate always having a
    personal tutor available. It is the students
    dream, but it could soon become a nightmare for
    the tutors.

The large-scale mega trend
The Systems Integration Trend
The systems integration trend
About student management systems
  • the Student Management System is the central,
    most important system for large-scale online
    education. For historical, legal, and financial
    reasons, the SMS system is the most important
    system for an educational institution. Hence, all
    other systems that offer online education
    services should rely on the SMS system as the
    master system with which they exchange data.
    (Page 30)

The systems integration trend
The Troll with three heads Learning, Management
and System
The systems integration trend
About constraints
  • it is important to understand that LMS systems
    may be built on very different pedagogical
    methods and theories and that these underlying
    constraints may influence and limit the systems
    pedagogical use. (Page 32)

The systems integration trend
About Straitjackets
  • Straitjackets! a friend of mine hissed with
    malice in his voice, when I discussed LMS
    systems with him the other day. (Page 207)

The systems integration trend
About collisions
  • the universities will need seamless and powerful
    integration of their online learning environments
    and their student management systems. We will
    see two worlds collide in this process The world
    of the teaching staff and the world of the
    university administrations.

The systems integration trend
E-learning Standards
  • Where are the European interestsrepresented?
  • Where are the educational professionalsinterests
  • The web-edu interviewees are aware of the
    e-learning standards, and several claim that
    their systems follow the standards.
  • Few state that the standards are important to
    their institution, and e-learning standards do
    not seem to have had much impact on online
    education in Europe.

The standardization trend
About e-learning Standards
  • Is your lecture today SCORM compliant, Professor?
    (Page 206)

The standardization trend
The Market Trend
  • Increased competition will require
  • Broadband and multimedia provide wonderful
    opportunities, but student expectations and
    development costs will increase.
  • Large, international providers may dominate the

The market trend
  • Cost-effectiveness becomes more important as
    institutions become large-scale providers.
  • It is important to develop sustainable online
  • Development and operation costs of online courses
    are high.
  • Recent price rises have made the commercial LMSs
    a costly investment. Staff time for development
    and maintenance of self-developed systems proves
    to be a costly investment too

The market trend
About economic success
  • The CISAER analysis revealed few, if any,
    examples of institutions with substantial income
    from student fees. Likewise, there seem to be few
    institutions that can claim that provision of
    Web-based courses has been an economic success,
    if they disregard external research and
    development grants. (Page 129)
  • So, to obtain a sound economy for large-scale
    operation, some sort of industrialization of
    online education must be considered.

The market trend
About sustainability
  • Sustainable online education is characterized by
    its ability to persist when extraordinary
    internal or external funding stops.
  • Unfortunately, it seems to be a rare phenomenon.
  • In most cases online education is sustainable
    when it generates an economic surplus or reduces

The market trend
About mice
  • campus-based students are increasingly voting
    with their mouse and taking significant parts of
    their undergraduate degrees online from other
    institutions. (Page 303)

The market trend
About service industries
  • the concept of online learning as a service
    industry may well be the most important lesson
    that Nordic providers of online education could
    take from their Canadian counterparts. (Page 303)

The market trend
Communication costs
  • Less dependent on
  • Distance
  • Duration
  • More dependent on
  • Bandwidth
  • Medium

The market trend
  • This implies
  • We will be always online
  • Increased global competition
  • Distinct differences between m-learning and

The Mobile Trend
  • M-learning, the new buzz-word
  • Telecommunication companies have invested
    enormous resources in a broadband mobile
    telephone infrastructure (GPRS, 3G, MMS)
  • Improved mobile terminals (PDA, tablet PCs,
    advanced mobile phones)
  • Private wireless networks are affordable and
    increasingly popular in offices and private
  • Public wireless networks are available in an
    increasing number of airports, hotels,
    restaurants etc.
  • E-books could replace paper based text books

The mobile trend
The Broadband Trend
  • The web-edu project showed that there is an
    obvious request for more bandwidth and more
    multimedia abilities.
  • Several interviewees wanted to include video
    services such as streaming video,
    videoconferences, web-cameras, and moving
  • Audio services such as voice communication and
    audio files were also requested.

The broadband and multimedia trend
The Broadband and Multimedia Trend
  • The bandwidth has increased steadily and
    significantly ever since online education was
  • The modem I bought in 1985, had 300 bits per
    second, now I have wireless Internet access
    providing 300,000 bits per second.
  • This significant increase in bandwidth will
    continue in the foreseeable future and provide
    online education with richer media content.

The broadband and multimedia trend
About bandwidth
  • Broadband is available to most people for a
    reasonable price, but the interest is not
    especially high
  • So far, little content and few services make
    broadband attractive
  • Teenagers want to download music and video files.
    Much of this is not legal.
  • Broadband is lacking killer applications

The broadband and multimedia trend
About speech synthesis
  • The recent development in speech synthesis has
    made it so understandable and user-friendly that
    more learners may benefit from it. These include
    blind students, dyslectic students, and students
    who for example spend much time in a car.
  • It is conceivable that in the future it would be
    just as easy and inexpensive to speech a text
    as it is to print it. (Page 292)

The broadband and multimedia trend
Digital speech
  • Human narration is expensive
  • Speech synthesis is less expensive, but is the
    quality acceptable?
  • MP3.files can be distributed via Internet and
    played by PC, PDA, minidisk, and new CD and DVD

The broadband and multimedia trend
The Globalization Trend
  • Worldwide there are more than 200,000 online
    courses we can study from home

The globalization trend
About export
  • in Australia, the official strategy is to
    develop education to become the second largest
    export industry. In the Nordic countries,
    however, the export of education does not seem to
    be an issue for public discussion. (Page 20)
  • In an action plan from the Commonwealth
    Government it is clearly stated that Education
    in Australia is a multi-billion dollar export
    industry of vital importance to our economy.

The globalization trend
About imperialism
  • In the US, online educators tend to perceive the
    Internet as their home market. In the Nordic
    countries, educators regard it as an opportunity
    to study online courses from the United States.
    If these countries do not change their attitudes,
    they may soon experience a disturbing form of,
    American instructional imperialism. The Nordic
    countries are in several ways ahead of the US
    with regard to online education. Still, it is
    quite possible that American online tutors will
    dominate online education in the Nordic
    countries, just as American textbooks already
    dominate Nordic higher education.

The globalization trend
American educational imperialism?
The globalization trend
Education is Not Like Soft Drinks
  • In the preface to her book Global Education,
    Robin Mason (1998) stated
  • Unlike the soft drinks market, education is
    unlikely to be dominated by a few giant
    providers. Why? Because it is too difficult
    there is too little money to be made, too many
    complex issues to handle, and too great a need
    for "people skills" rather than technical skills.

The globalization trend
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