Catching Up With eLearning: Implications for Education and Social Policy

Macdonald, H Ian
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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
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Catching Up With E-Learning: Implications for Education and Social Policy by H. Ian Macdonald, Chairman of the Commonwealth of Learning and President Emeritus York University, Toronto, Canada, Address delivered to the 10th AMIC Annual Conference, Manila, The Philippines, 28 June, 2001 // The Commonwealth of Learning, the only official Commonwealth agency located outside London, has been dedicated to increasing access to education since it began operating in 1989. With a mandate to assist with the delivery of education at all levels - primary, secondary, tertiary, technical and non-formal, and operating in all forms from conventional print, through radio, visual and electronic, the Commonwealth of Learning has delivered over 625 programmes throughout the 54 countries of the Commonwealth. In the process, we have learned one basic lesson: there is no magic formula in any methodology, and it is a long journey from concept to implementation, particularly in the case of E-Learning. // Although I have been asked to consider the E-Learning environment for universities in particular, my remarks today apply equally to all levels of education. In the process, I would like to consider: (a) the limitations of E-Learning in terms of pedagogy; (b) the problem of access to ensure that it serves to narrow the social divide between people and nations rather than widen it. // Great strides have been made over the past few years in enhancing the capacity for E-Learning and finding ways to broaden its exposure. The recent announcement by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that it would make most of its course material freely available to the public, through the Internet, is a major innovation. As a result, a university, where the annual tuition is about $39,000, anticipates that not only individuals but universities all over the world will take advantage of its course lists, lecture notes, and even videotaped lectures.
eLearning, Policy and Legislation, Online Learning
Asia, Global