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Gyambrah, Martin K. (2007): E-Learning Technologies and Its Application in Higher Education:A Descriptive Comparison of Germany,United Kingdom and United States.. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
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Abstract

There is a general agreement that we have entered the information economy, that higher education is a critical element in this knowledge society. This has placed a new demand on its teaching and research functions, with growing emphasis on lifelong learning and more flexible forms of higher education delivery. Notwithstanding, there is also a widespread scepticism as to whether educational systems will be able to overcome their traditional inertia and respond to the challenge of the knowledge-based revolution. Currently the prominence of ICT and other external influencing factors; economic, social, cultural and the changing role of governmental policy are driving the inner life of the higher education sector. In that respect many higher educational institutions are turning to e-learning technologies for improving the quality of learning by means of access to resources, services, long distance collaborations and exchanges. However this transition has been characterized by a mixed sense of optimism, skeptism and a lack of “adequate benchmarks”. It is within this background that this explorative study sought to carry out a descriptive comparison between Germany, UK and the USA with the objective of identifying the current trends, establishing tendencies of differences or similarities and identifying future trends (next 5 years) across the three countries. This is directed at synthesising “best practices” which could facilitate international knowledge transfer and the future development of e-learning. In pursuance of these aims the study employed the use of both quantitative and qualitative data sources. In obtaining the quantitative data, national and international reports that detail out the activities of e-learning in higher educational institutions across the three countries were reviewed and relevant data filtered. Further explanations, clarifications as well as predictions of future trends were sought through expert interviews (n=30 experts). The findings indicate that: 1) The three countries did not exhibit much differences in terms of policy however they exhibited differences in terms of strategy and tactics in e-learning. 2) The three countries exhibited differences in terms of the prevalent e-learning technologies used as well as the application of such technologies. 3) In terms of didactical approaches and orientation to either local or international markets the three countries exhibited differences iv) In terms of impact and limiting factors the three countries exhibited differences in scale and proportion though qualitative impact was difficult to estimate. 5) In terms of future trends or scenarios different projections were made across the three countries. The implications of the findings are discussed and recommendations offered for further research.