In the contemporary world, learning technology evolves together with the technological progress that facilitates more and more opportunities for the development of educational methods and strategies.
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In education, e-learning is often associated with other similar terms such as distance education and online learning, since all of these concepts are used interchangeably in literature it is rather hard for the scholars to differentiate between them (Moore, Dickson-Deane & Galyen, 2011) Generally, e-learning occurred as soon as the computers became a means for the delivery of education. This way, e-learning is a shortening for electronic learning which refers to the type of learning based on the use of electronic technologies and devices. For modern society, e-learning is a powerful tool as it significantly speeds up the educational process and integrates it into the life of contemporary individuals who are used to employing computers regularly in their daily life. One of the strongest advantages of e-learning is the maximization of the availability of learning and knowledge acquisition. Earlier, e-learning was mainly used for the computer-based modules for the learners, but as the technologies developed learning in real-time became available (Bastable, 2014). This way, today the learners can access live webinars, webcasts and lectures that can be attended by learners from all around the world. During some of these activities, the learners and the educators can interact. Another very promising kind of learning is m-learning, which is short for mobile learning (Bastable, 2014). This kind of learning is carried out through the use of portable and handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones that are extremely popular in modern society, especially among the younger generations
Technology influence on professional and continuing education options for nurses
When distance learning programs were first created and introduced in 1974 they were not welcomed by a large number of educators because they were believed to be inappropriate for healthcare training and nursing education (Bastable, 2014). Gradually, the popularity of such education grew and in 1994 the first distance learning online program was launched at Duquesne University in Pennsylvania. Today, online nursing programs are available all around the world and allow students to acquire associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degrees (Bastable, 2014). Distance learning is extremely versatile in the United States; it is suitable for students with different needs. There are the programs that are only taught through the internet, and there are the ones some parts of which are delivered on-site. Distance education is not only an opportunity for a flexible educational process. To assist the students taking online courses the universities create special learner-centered websites where the students can find the appropriate literature, consult the tutors, librarians and peers, participate in discussions and group assignments. Nurses can not only acquire education online but also deliver it. Distance learning is a valuable and powerful teaching strategy for the nursing professionals involved in the education of patients. The clients can be educated in clinical and home settings; they can become a part of online support groups or learn using the computer and internet-based programs and courses.
Contemporary technologies develop rapidly and so do the methods and approaches towards distance education. E-learning is gaining popularity very fast and researchers and educators are working on the improvement of the teaching methods and techniques making them more and more efficient.
Bastable, S.B. (2014). Nurse as educators: Principles of teaching and learning for nursing practice (4th Ed.).Burlington, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
Moore, J. L., Dickson-Deane, C., & Galyen, K. (2011). e-Learning, online learning, and distance learning environments: Are they the same? Internet and Higher Education 14, 129–135