Ahead attended two seminars organised by the Centre for Distance Education (CDE) of University of London from 22-23 Nov 2006 in London. The two seminars entitled:.bile Learning (22 Nov) and Effective learner support in distance education and online learning” (23 Nov). Dr.hamed Ally, Associate Professor in the Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca, “Canada’s Open University” gave stimulating presentations on these subjects. A number staff from University of London and external guests actively participated in the seminars. Ahead made contributions based on its observations of opportunities and challenges that need to be considered while deploying new technologies in rural disadvantaged communities in developing countries.
The theme of the first seminar was that designed appropriately, learning materials can be delivered on a variety of mobile devices such as mobile phones, PDAs, tablet PCs, and hand held computers. This enables students to learn and access course materials from anywhere and at anytime. Educators’ systematic approach to designing and developing courses for delivery on such devices and supporting learners employing these technologies are important success factors. Dr Ally illustrated the benefits of mobile learning and outlined best practice guidelines on how to design learning materials for delivery on mobile technology. Participants appreciated the flexibility and potential benefits that virtual keyboards and screens can bring to mobile learning. The CDE at Athabascau is leading on cutting edge research and development practices in areas such as the implementation of xml-based course authoring, which makes various mobile devices compatible for course delivery.
The second seminar examined effective strategies for engaging learners in distance education and providing them with appropriate support. Dr Ally presented useful findings from many of his research studies on use of both synchronous and asynchronous support methods to meet learner’s individual needs. He pointed out that tutors must also be trained in effective learner support techniques that can address different learning styles.There are more details about Dr.hamed Ally and the seminars at the following websites.
Dr Ally’s Personal home page
bile Learning seminar
Effective learner support in distance education and online learning
University of Athabascau home page