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Challenges of E-Learning

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The access to education is constantly changing. Beginning with the ancient history where Socrates (469-399 BC) was expounding his knowledge by discussions with his listeners, through the Middle Ages' religious schools up to the first European higher-learning institute (University of Bologna, 1088 AD). Education became more and more available until nowadays without barriers based on a gender, race, nationality or social background.

But even now we can observe more changes. Erling Ljosa, cited in Kramer and Candice (2002, p.4) states that change and complexity are two fundamental characteristic of modern society which are putting increasing demands on the education needed for the citizens to cope with their life in the society. As a result there is a growing popularity of distance learning courses like e-learning. Thanks to technology more barriers has been broken. While it is true to say that this is more flexible way of learning, we have to remember that it is not an easier option. There are many challenges to overcome. Kramer (2002, p.26) indicates that according to research studies of on-line learners 20% of students felt uncomfortable in this untraditional setting.

The main problem is in the poor academic self-management. Zimmerman and Risemberg (1997) cited in Dembo (2004, p.10) outline six major components of above mentioned self-management: motivation, methods of learning, use of time, physical environment, social environment, performance. Even though each of the components play a part in learning process I would like to underline use of time and physical environment as a key challenges of e-learning. On top of that I would like to point out two extra arguments from the Kramer (2002, p.25) Challenges of Distant Learning list saying that members of distance classes are more likely to be different from one another than those who attend class-room based courses and about technology aspect.

In my opinion the biggest challenge of e-learning is time management. Dembo (2004, p.139) discuss difference between studying at high school and college or university. There are less classes at university/college but more task to accomplish therefore efficiency use of time is a key point. This problem is even bigger when we take into account one of the main reasons why do people take a part in e-learning courses. In most cases there is no possibility to attend fixed time lectures, because the learners are mostly older and have many responsibilities. The lack of time is an existing problem even before beginning of the course. When we try to add work, family, friends, hobbies and interests to studying we will soon realize that day is too short and extra control is needed. This control is called time management. Smith (1994) cited in Dembo (2004, p.140) says that "Controlling your life means controlling your time and controlling your time means controlling the events in your life". The necessity of controlling the above mentioned events is a result of the modern lifestyle we live which is full of different kinds of attractions, interests and events we would like to take part in - on other hand we need funds to finalise it, so we work harder, longer. More and more tasks, pursue a goal which cannot be achieved is leading to stress which diminishing our effectiveness and ability to be a good student. Taking everything into consideration, if there is too many things we want to do or have to do, does not matter how good we are in managing our time, there is no possible



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