chapter  1
6 Pages

Introduction

Information and communication technologies have socially and economically reshaped society. These same innovations, however, have not had a commensurate influence in the educational domain. Notwithstanding the many inroads that information and communication technologies have made in education, passive information transfer still dominates the educational enterprise. Moreover, there is a growing recognition that we are not taking full advantage of connectivity opportunities for the development of critical thinking and inquiry that has become the foundation of a knowledge-based society. Rethinking conventional education in light of technological developments and the need for higher-order educational outcomes is shaking the foundation of the educational enterprise. E-learning is the nexus of technological and pedagogical developments which has led to insights into deep and meaningful learning. The emergence of e-learning with its sustained connectivity has demon-

strated that deep and meaningful learning is not limited to the face-to-face classroom experience. E-learning is transformational in how we think about educational experiences in terms of sustained communication and collaboration. Ubiquitous communication technologies that can sustain the connection of learners and instantly access information have significantly shifted our conception and acceptance of e-learning. At the educational core is an awareness that students need to be engaged in sustainable learning communities that support reflective discourse and deep approaches to learning. The affordances of ubiquitous and powerful communications technologies with their ability to create and sustain communities of learners have brought e-learning into the mainstream of educational thought and practice. Education is being transformed as a result of pedagogical advances made

possible by e-learning. Educational approaches in the form of sustained e-learning communities are having us reflect on what are worthwhile and relevant educational experiences.