For a very long time, the traditional methods of learning and teaching have been used in the educational sector. However due to the rapid development of technology, this has undergone major developments. Virtual learning environment is a component of Information and communications technology and is very useful in the educational sector, results into benefits for both the tutors and the students.
This has motivated researchers to engage in studies with the purpose of getting information on how to improve the usage of ICT in both learning and teaching. Any research that is well conducted in this area can have a great impact on the education sector. This essay shows the impact of the study on using a Virtual Learning Environment to increase the use of ICT by the lecturers in X University.
It starts with an introduction, definitions of “impact”, the use of ICT in education, the use of ICT in the classroom and then how ICT contributes to the Education Millennium goal. It then shows the use of VLEs in the higher institutions of learning, a poster on the project’s proposal is presented including the ways it can be used to present the information and finally the conclusion.
The impact of the study about the use of VLE to increase the use of ICT by X University’s lecturers
There are always reasons behind the undertaking of any particular research. Different people may hold different views, theories and hypotheses regarding a certain phenomenon and thus there is always a need of conducting a research study so that those views can either be confirmed or disputed. It is very important for a research to be conducted as it ensures that valid information pertaining to a certain subject is gotten and then its deep analysis is done (Blurtit 2009, par. 1).
Some major purposes of research include the following; to evaluate what has been achieved by an earlier research and also in order to come up with specific areas for improvement. Researches are also conducted for the purpose of developing new insights and ideas on a certain subject, to demonstrate successes to external organizations and other bodies and finally, for publicity purposes meaning that researches can be conducted to market products as customers will be in a position to see what achievements an organization has gotten (Earley 2007, p.3).
When a well conducted study has been concluded and the results are gotten, it always has an impact on a general subject, theory. a hypothesis or even a situation. It will change the way people view a certain phenomenon or subject either positively or negatively. Some former disagreement on a subject may be resolved or more disagreements generated, leading to more researching.
The study on the educational information and ICT researches and specifically on “using a virtual learning environment to increase the use of information and communication in education by lecturers in University X” can have a great impact on the entire university’s use of ICT. This easy seeks to show the impact of the study about using a Virtual Learning Environment to increase the use of ICT by the lecturers in (X) University.
What is an “impact?”
The term impact is defined as having an effect on, to alter or to influence a phenomenon. For example one can state that the nuclear bomb left a great impact in Hiroshima Japan (Dictionary.Com, 2009). In educational research “impact” can be described as reportable difference (quantifiable) or potential difference which a project, a program or a study makes on the people’s lives. This includes the benefits and payoffs that are gotten by the society; focus being on the public but not on personal or internal benefits.
Impact is the change or potential alteration made by the study on the environment, economy, and social areas and in health and wellbeing (ITempel1 2006). In general, impact can be defined as the differences that a research will bring on the lives of people. A research is conducted with the purpose of coming up with facts that had only previously been theorized or hypothesized. The findings of these researches are used to better the lives of the society or to arrange for further studies which results will be beneficial to that society in general.
Impact of the research
Use of ICT in education
Before identifying the impact of the study on the information and communication technologies on the educational system of University X, it is important first to get the general information of the ICT usage by the lecturers and students, its distribution, its benefits and setbacks. Then it would be easier to discuss what impact this study would bring on the system and especially on the use of virtual learning environment by the lecturers to increase the use of ICT.
It is vital that everyone have the needed skills if he or she will benefit from information society and this of course calls for capacity building and being literate in the area of information and communication technology. This is because ICT is essential in the contribution of achieving education (universal) worldwide, this being done through education delivery and training of tutors, by improving the conditions necessary for learning (lifelong), including the population that is not within the formal education and finally the professional skills (UNESCO, 2009).
The use of information and communication in education is currently being regarded as necessary and of great importance worldwide. One of the international organizations that are investing towards the use of ICT in the education sector is the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural organization with the aim of bringing more pluralistic and equitable development in this sector. UNESCO focuses on how to accelerate the progress of education for every person utilizing the information and communication technology.
Two, it focuses on how information and communication technology can be used to bring together the local specificity of knowledge and universality and finally on how education can make the society making individuals to benefit from the ICT which has penetrated to all areas of life (UNESCO 2009).
Some of the points that have been raised by UNESCO on what all should have in mind if the above goals must be met include; one, ICT should be regarded just like any other part of technologies that are useful in enriching and supporting education, thus should not be used as whole but as part of the others such as the use of books and chalks. Secondly, information and communication technology should be considered as another tool that should be utilized and adapted to meet the goals of education. Also, it should be noted that legal and ethical issues intrude when ICT is used in education programmes such as; exchanging education as if it were a commodity and secondly, the ownership of knowledge(UNESCO 2009).
The Use of ICT in the classroom
The second information technology in education study (SITES) was organized by IEA (The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement) which focused on using Information and Communication Technology as innovative practices (pedagogical). The study focused on how ICT improved learning and teaching, identifying all the practices intensively and also the changes in students’ and the teachers’ roles. The case studies showed how teachers used ICT capabilities in the introduction of approaches that have profitable impacts on students such as improved motivation, increased self esteem and confidence, improved social skills and group working as well as improved achievement (Harris & Kington 2002, par. 1-4).
It was noted that the introduction of innovative practices meant that more tutors had to be trained for they had to train in ICT skills and also be willing to exercise their practices in different and new methods. They also were required to be in a position where they needed to monitor the implementation of the ICT activities. The work of the students would also be largely changed as they now had more responsibility and independence in their work. They also had to work towards deadlines and could also reflect on their academic work more than before (Harris & Kington 2002, par. 1-4).
According to the World Bank, Information and Communication technology is made up of software, hardware, networks plus the media used in the “collection, storage processing, transmission and presentation of information (voice, data, text, images as well as related services” (World Bank 2009, par. 4). One of the projects of the World Bank’s components in its projects includes the educational management and information systems that is aimed at boosting effectiveness and efficiency in the administration of programmes by the use of systems that have planning and information which is of improved quality.