Electronic Learning

E-learning comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. The information and communication systems, whether networked learning or not, serve as specific media to implement the learning process. The term will still most likely be utilized to reference out-of-classroom and in-classroom educational experiences via technology, even as advances continue in regard to devices and curriculum.

E-learning is essentially the computer and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. E-learning applications and processes include Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual education opportunities and digital collaboration. Content is delivered via the Internet, intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV, and CD-ROM. It can be self-paced or instructor-led and includes media in the form of text, image, animation, streaming video and audio.

Abbreviations like CBT ( Computer-Based Training ), IBT ( Internet-Based Training ) or WBT ( Web-Based Training ) have been used as synonyms to e-learning. Today one can still find these terms being used, along with variations of e-learning such as elearning, Elearning, and eLearning. The terms will be utilized throughout this article to indicate their validity under the broader terminology of E-learning.

Market

The worldwide e-learning industry is estimated to be worth over $48 billion according to conservative estimates. Developments in internet and multimedia technologies are the basic enabler of e-learning, with consulting, content, technologies, services and support being identified as the five key sectors of the e-learning industry.

Higher education

By 2006, 3.5 million students were participating in on-line learning at institutions of higher education in the United States. According to the Sloan Foundation reports, there has been an increase of around 12–14 percent per year on average in enrollments for fully online learning over the five years 2004–2009 in the US post-secondary system, compared with an average of approximately 2 per cent increase per year in enrollments overall. Allen and Seamen (2009) claim that almost a quarter of all students in post-secondary education were taking fully online courses in 2008, and a report by Ambient Insight Research suggests that in 2009, 44 per cent of post-secondary students in the USA were taking some or all of their courses online, and projected that this figure would rise to 81 percent by 2014. Thus it can be seen that e-learning is moving rapidly from the margins to being a predominant form of post-secondary education, at least in the USA.

Many higher education, for-profit institutions, now offer on-line classes. By contrast, only about half of private, non-profit schools offer them. The Sloan report, based on a poll of academic leaders, indicated that students generally appear to be at least as satisfied with their on-line classes as they are with traditional ones. Private institutions may become more involved with on-line presentations as the cost of instituting such a system decreases. Properly trained staff must also be hired to work with students on-line. These staff members need to understand the content area, and also be highly trained in the use of the computer and Internet. Online education is rapidly increasing, and online doctoral programs have even developed at leading research universities.

K-12 Learning

E-learning is also utilized by public K-12 schools in the United States. Some E-Learning environments take place in a traditional classroom, others allow students to attend classes from home or other locations. There are several states that are utilizing cyber and virtual school platforms for E-learning across the country that continued to increase. Virtual school enables students to log into synchronous learning or asynchronous learning courses anywhere there is an internet connection. Technology kits are usually provided that include computers, printers, and reimbursement for home internet use. Students are to use technology for school use only and must meet weekly work submission requirements. Teachers employed by K-12 online public cyber schools must be certified teachers in the state they are teaching in. Cyber schools allow for students to maintain their own pacing and progress, course selection, and provides the flexibility for students to create their own schedule.

E-learning is increasingly being utilized by students who may not want to go to traditional brick and mortar schools due to severe allergies or other medical issues, fear of school violence and school bullying and students whose parents would like to homeschool but do not feel qualified. Cyber schools create a safe haven for students to receive a quality education while almost completely avoiding these common problems. Cyber charter schools also often are not limited by location, income level or class size in the way brick and mortar charter schools are.

History

In the early 1960s, Stanford University psychology professors Patrick Suppes and Richard C. Atkinson experimented with using computers to teach math and reading to young children in elementary schools in East Palo Alto, California. Stanford's Education Program for Gifted Youth is descended from those early experiments.

Early e-learning systems, based on Computer-Based Learning/Training often attempted to replicate autocratic teaching styles whereby the role of the e-learning system was assumed to be for transferring knowledge, as opposed to systems developed later based on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL), which encouraged the shared development of knowledge.

As early as 1993, William D. Graziadei described an online computer-delivered lecture, tutorial and assessment project using electronic mail. In 1997 he published an article which described developing an overall strategy for technology-based course development and management for an educational system. He said that products had to be easy to use and maintain, portable, replicable, scalable, and immediately affordable, and they had to have a high probability of success with long-term cost-effectiveness.

In 1997 Graziadei, W.D., et al., published an article entitled "Building Asynchronous and Synchronous Teaching-Learning Environments: Exploring a Course/Classroom Management System Solution". They described a process at the State University of New York (SUNY) of evaluating products and developing an overall strategy for technology-based course development and management in teaching-learning. The product(s) had to be easy to use and maintain, portable, replicable, scalable, and immediately affordable, and they had to have a high probability of success with long-term cost-effectiveness. Today many technologies can be, and are, used in e-learning, from blogs to collaborative software, ePortfolios, and virtual classrooms. Most eLearning situations use combinations of these techniques.

E-Learning 2.0

The term E-Learning 2.0 is a neologism for CSCL systems that came about during the emergence of Web 2.0 From an E-Learning 2.0 perspective, conventional e-learning systems were based on instructional packets, which were delivered to students using assignments. Assignments were evaluated by the teacher. In contrast, the new e-learning places increased emphasis on social learning and use of social software such as blogs, wikis, podcasts and virtual worlds such as Second Life . This phenomenon has also been referred to as Long Tail Learning See also (Seely Brown & Adler 2008)

E-Learning 2.0, by contrast to e-learning systems not based on CSCL, assumes that knowledge (as meaning and understanding) is socially constructed. Learning takes place through conversations about content and grounded interaction about problems and actions. Advocates of social learning claim that one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to others.

However, it should be noted that many early online courses, such as those developed by Murray Turoff and Starr Roxanne Hiltz in the 1970s and 80s at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, courses at the University of Guelph in Canada, the British Open University, and the online distance courses at the University of British Columbia (where Web CT, now incorporated into Blackboard Inc. was first developed), have always made heavy use of online discussion between students. Also, from the start, practitioners such as Harasim (1995) have put heavy emphasis on the use of learning networks for knowledge construction, long before the term e-learning, let alone e-learning 2.0, was even considered.

There is also an increased use of virtual classrooms (online presentations delivered live) as an online learning platform and classroom for a diverse set of education providers such as Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and Sachem School District.

In addition to virtual classroom environments, social networks have become an important part of E-learning 2.0. Social networks have been used to foster online learning communities around subjects as diverse as test preparation and language education. Mobile Assisted Language Learning (MALL) is a term used to describe using handheld computers or cell phones to assist in language learning. Some feel, however, that schools have not caught up with the social networking trends. Few traditional educators promote social networking unless they are communicating with their own colleagues.

Approaches to e-learning services

E-learning services have evolved since computers were first used in education. There is a trend to move towards blended learning services, where computer-based

Posted at 9pm on 8/12/11 | Filed Under: Project Management read on

Project Management Professional

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a credential offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). As of 31 July 2010  ( 2010 -07-31 ) , there were 393,413 active PMP certified individuals worldwide. Over 4,300 individuals a month, since September 2006, have obtained a PMP certification.

Exam syllabus

The PMP exam is based on the PMP Examination Specification , which describes tasks out of six performance domains :

  1. Initiating the project (11%)
  2. Planning the project (23%)
  3. Executing the project (27%)
  4. Monitoring and controlling the project (21%)
  5. Closing the project (9%)
  6. Professional and social responsibility (9%)

The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions written against this specification. The numbers in parentheses describe the percentage of questions for each domain.

Item references

Each exam item (a question with its possible answers) has at least two references to standard books or other sources of project management. Most of the questions reference the PMI A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge ( aka the PMBOK Guide).

The Project Management Framework embodies a project life cycle and five major project management Process Groups :

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring and Controlling
  5. Closing

encompassing a total of 42 processes.

Mapped to these five process groups are nine project management Knowledge Areas :

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Time Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Human Resource Management
  7. Project Communications Management
  8. Project Risk Management
  9. Project Procurement Management


The processes of these knowledge areas are described by their inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. The PMBOK also emphasizes the interaction and interdependence between different process groups. For example, the outputs from one process may be used by one or more other processes as inputs.

Purpose

Government, commercial and other organizations employ PMP certified project managers in an attempt to improve the success rate of projects in all areas of knowledge, by applying a standardized and evolving set of project management principles as contained in PMI's PMBOK Guide.

Professionals obtain the credential to verify their proficiency in project management with an internationally accepted certificate. It has proven especially helpful for project managers trying to find jobs or self-employed project managers selling their services to customers.

Many contractors hire certified PMPs to make their bids and proposals more attractive to prospects. Sometimes, IFBs or RFPs require that project managers must be certified PMPs.

In December 2005, the PMP credential was tied for fourth place in CertCities.com’s 10 Hottest Certifications for 2006 , and in December 2008, it was number 7 of ZDNet’s 10 best IT certifications .

Examination process

The PMP exam is offered as a computer-based test through the global network of Prometric testing centers. There is also a paper-based option for locations with no Prometric testing centers nearby. The exam consists of 200 questions (" items "). 25 are pre-release items, which are not included in exam scoring. The score is calculated based on the other 175 items. Each item has a key (the correct answer) and three distractors (incorrect answer choices).

Candidates who take the computer-based test receive their results (passed or not passed) immediately upon completion. PMI also evaluates proficiency levels in each project management process group from high proficiency to low proficiency in a score report which the candidates receive after the examination. Candidates who take paper-based tests receive their test results and score reports typically within 4 weeks.

Preparation assistance to facilitate a PMP candidate's passing the examination is available in many delivery forms. Many books, e-Learning courses, and classroom experiences may be identified easily via an Internet search.

Item writing

Item writing is an ongoing process at PMI and new items (questions with 4 answering options each) are added to PMI's collection of exam items while others may be removed from it from time to time. Item writers use the PMP Examination Specification to identify item contents and references (project management texts or standards) to verify the correctness of the item. Individuals who are active in the field of PMP exam preparation (trainers, courseware developers, book authors, etc .) are not allowed to participate in item writing sessions.

Pre-requisites to become eligible

Candidates must verify a high school diploma or an associates degree with 60 months (7,500 hours) of project management experience, or a bachelor's degree with 36 months (4,500 hours) of project management experience. In both cases candidates must also have 35 contact hours of project management education. The application for the exam and verification of education and experience are done online at the PMI website.

Continuous credential requirements (CCR)

To maintain the PMP qualification, 60 professional development units (PDUs) must be earned over a three-year cycle, from activities such as researching, authoring articles, speaking on project management-related topics, or being engaged full time in project management.

Other PMI credentials

PMP (Project Management Professional) is one of five credentials offered by PMI:

  • CAPM Certified Associate in Project Management
  • PMP Project Management Professional
  • PMI-RMP PMI Risk Management Professional
  • PMI-SP PMI Scheduling Professional
  • PgMP Program Management Professional

References

  1. ^
  2. ^ Project Management Professional (PMP) Examination Specification . Project Management Institute. September 2005. ISBN 9781930699885.  
  3. ^ a b "PMP Credential Handbook" (PDF). Project Management Institute . http://www.pmi.org/Certification/~/media/PDF/Certifications/pdc_pmphandbook.ashx . Retrieved September 18, 2009 .  
  4. ^ PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition
  5. ^ Nagel, Becky (December 14, 2005). "CertCities.com’s 10 Hottest Certifications for 2006" . CertCities.com . http://certcities.com/editorial/features/story.asp?EditorialsID=95 . Retrieved September 18, 2009 .  
  6. ^ Dignan, Larry (December 11, 2008). "The 10 best IT certifications" . http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=11189 . Retrieved September 18, 2009 .  
  7. ^ "Maintain Your Credential" . Project Management Institute . http://www.pmi.org/CareerDevelopment/Pages/MaintainYourCredential.aspx . Retrieved September 18, 2009 . Posted at 9pm on 8/12/11 | Filed Under: Project Management read on

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