E-learning technology can help with the globalisation of educational institutions and with this the potential to breakdown geographical and social boundaries by offering distance learning education. This not only expands access but it can help drive the knowledge-economy and help with the integration of academic standards and views.
For e-learning to be effective, it is established that the activity requires a higher degree of self-motivation, self-directed learning, and greater persistence and commitment from the learner. There are also some other obstacles that need to be considered, including understanding how people learn and with developing a common, global framework.
Need for a common framework
For e-learning to expand, a common framework is required in order to address inter-operability issues and to ensure that platforms are accessible at the global level. A common standard will help to democratize the e-learning process. This fits with the vision of the Semantic Web (“semantic” indicates machine-processable or what a machine is able to do with the data). The Semantic Web is an extension of the World Wide Web through standards by the World Wide Web Consortium. The standards promote common data formats and exchange protocols on the Web. An additional aspect is to make Internet data machine-readable.
In terms of differences between the traditional web and the semantic web, the traditional web is formed of a web of documents, information resources, links between documents, unstructured data, implicit and semantics for human consumption. Whereas the semantic web is conceived as a 'web of data' composed of “real-world objects”, links between things, structured data, and explicit semantics for machines and humans. In other words, the goal of those driving the Semantic Web, concept, such as Tim Berners-Lee , is to enable computers to better manipulate information on our behalf.
Embedding educational theory
Attempts to develop e-learning without a thorough understanding of educational theory could lead to suboptimal learning. Here developers need to link up with educational specialists, drawing upon theories of the learning organization, sociocultural theories of learning, and cognitive theories of learning.
The most effective mechanisms for workplace learning using digital media appear to be integrating of theoretical knowledge with the practical experience of the trainee. In addition, learning programs that support implicit knowledge and which encourage collaboration and knowledge exchange between different groups of people, tend to be the most effective in terms of learning outcomes.