E-learning Effects to Bachelor of Education-External Degree Programme In the University of Nairobi


E-learning: Effects to Bachelor of Education-External Degree Programme

In the University of Nairobi

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University of Nairobi

College of Education

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August 16, 2010


E-learning is a relatively new field of research in many study programmes offered in institutions of higher learning. The use of E-learning methodologies to continuing students in the external degree programme at the University of Nairobi is a vital resource in facilitation of their studies. Even though the use of technologies for learning has been implemented for several decades, the introduction of the internet has promoted a considerable shift and innovation (Mason and Kaye, 1989). By its nature, e-learning is a multidisciplinary subject and its application can be complex at times. For this reason, the introduction of E-learning to the External Degree Programme will not only come with positive effects but also negative effects. E-learning is a term that is used to refer to computer-based learning. E-learning uses web-based training and teaching materials, CD-ROMs, learning management software, discussion boards, e-mail, computer-aided assessment, simulation, online conferencing and other related methods (Allen and Seaman, 2003)

In the past years, e-learning strategies have been implemented in many Kenyan universities and other institutions of higher learning. Although these implementations have different objectives and follow different strategies, the importance of the use of e-learning technologies to improve the quality of education has been widely accepted. The e-learning Programme at the University of Nairobi is aimed at promoting effective integration of Information and Communication Technologies in education and training systems in the distance learning programme.

If properly used, the e-learning programme should be able to contribute to increased quality of training in education and as well promote a knowledge based society. The new teaching and learning strategy is aimed at promoting greater flexibility in learning styles and strategies, and supporting students through staff development programmes. Many higher education systems nowadays are offering e-learning courses to their students. Online education is fast developing in the education system and is widely used in many universities and many research areas

Objectives of E-learning in the University of Nairobi

E-learning has enabled the School of Continuing and Distance Education to effectively carry out its mandate in the provision of quality education and extending the University’s reach to the many students out of the campuses. In addition, training opportunities have been delivered to the wider population of our country. Teachers have been able to deliver their course content by the use of various educational media to their students thereby facilitating the learning process. It also enables the university to teach many students in one lesson.

Positive effects to students

E-learning is student-centered and therefore individual preferences and needs are met equally without bias. At the same time, students from various backgrounds are empowered to access the best resources equally because delivery of the course content is done from the same platform. This includes but not limited to referral materials, lecture sessions, tutorials as well as services from experienced teachers.

Additionally, the use of the internet is a favorite to many in this technological edge of the 21st century. Virtually everything is being done online and incorporation of Information and Technology will make the learning process more enjoyable (Allen and Seaman, 2003). Furthermore, students are able to access their choice of study material by downloading from the University’s e-learning portal. This reduces their costs of printing the same materials as well as their tuition costs are reduced.

E-learning platform provides as many standardized tests as possible and students can horn their skills and test their understanding of the course concept by attempting as many tests as they can (Bates, 2005). This enables them to be very well prepared to sit for their exams. As a matter of fact, the e-learning format is beneficial to all types of students- those with the short learning curve as well as those with a long learning curve. This means that each student has the flexibility to alter his learning mode, for instance they can either speed up or slow down whichever way that serves to increase their levels of understanding. Flexibility is also extended to the time limit allocated to learning. Admittedly, there is an immense lot of opportunities and a host of variety options at their disposal. The online learning interface enables them to focus their study by reducing the efforts employed and time allocated to their studies (Bates, 2005). This proves that e-learning made it possible for them to reduce their hassles and as a result it has opened up new ways of studying comfortably to obtain better results.

Responsibility is also increased on the part of the student. E-learning has enabled students to realize their own learning. Dependency on group work is minimized because students are not grouped together whereby chances of being carried through group effort are minimal. It more of an interactive type of teaching method as opposed to the teacher-student medium because the instructor plays the role more of a guide and facilitator than playing his role as a teacher.

Response rate is usually high because a prompt inquiry from the student is responded to immediately. Further clarification on issues can be easily accessed with the touch of a button. Information is usually updated from time to time and students can easily get to know of any new changes on issues affecting their area of study.

The last positive effect is the benefit of networking. The E-learning interface enables students to form forums from where they can discuss their issues and as well suggest possible solutions to the same problems. Moreover, students feel uploading their assignments as being more convenient as opposed to posting or handing them to the university or instructors. This is common to those students who are based on various regional outlets.

Negative effects

The E-learning method is a compliment but not a substitute to the traditional face to face learning mode of study. What is perhaps the most surprising thing is the inability to distinguish the privileged and underprivileged type of students. The E-learning system is highly dependent on technology and therefore those students who come from less developed regions such as villages and rural areas will be greatly disadvantaged because they will have to travel long distances in order to access this materials. There is low awareness in training levels of e-learning as well as the reduced availability of resource computers and internet connections needed to facilitate the study. The students are also required to have skills in computer programs such as word processing, internet browsing and the ability to work with the computer.

E-learning is highly disadvantageous to unmotivated learners as well as to those students with long learning curves (slow learners). These students need specialized attention and their probability of being left behind during study is very high. These students can feel isolated and at times they will feel out of context.

The introduction of e-learning is a new thing to many and therefore it presents an unfamiliar structure to majority of students which might require a substantial amount of time for them to get acquainted to (Harasim et al, 2005). Management of computer software used in learning can increase the learning curves of many a student and therefore a lot of resources might be employed to facilitate the study.

At times the flexibility and advantages associated with to face to face interaction can be highly missed because the instructor may not be available on students’ demand. This can be quite disadvantageous because clarity on urgent issues cannot be accessed easily. This can translate to poor performance due to lack of motivation and personalized services and wrong choice of actions.

Another notable negativity associated with e-learning is the inability and difficulty in simulation of certain courses such as traditional hands on courses. Additionally, e-learning assignments require a number of interactive collaborations which demand a higher level of motivation and responsibility from the students.


E-learning is really catching up fast and its introduction into the External Degree Programme has seen its advantages and disadvantages. If harnessed properly, the positive effects can outweigh the negative effects in this technological era (Conole and Oliver, 2007). What must be done to improve the situation includes but are not limited to improving infrastructural development in regional centers to favor students from rural areas, ensuring that there is enough teaching materials including the staff and teaching media, giving specialized services to slow learning students as well as giving inductions to new students who are unfamiliar with the e-learning interface. The university should also channel a lot of resources in training and development of e-learning programmes. I believe that with the implementation of the above changes, the college of external degree programmes will be able to achieve its core objectives and propel the university to greater heights.


Allen, I.E. and Seaman, J. (2003) Sizing the Opportunity: The Quality and Extent of Online

Education in the United States, 2002 and 2003 Wellesley, MA: The Sloan Consortium

Bates, A. (2005) Technology, e-Learning and Distance Education London: Routledge

Conole, G. and Oliver, M. (2007). Contemporary perspectives in E-learning research:

themes, methods and impacts on practice. Oxon, UK: Routledge

Harasim, L., Hiltz, S., Teles, L. and Turoff, M. (1995) Learning Networks: A Field Guide to

Teaching and Learning Online Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Mason. R. and Kaye, A. (1989) Mindweave: Communication, Computers and Distance

Education Oxford, UK: Pergamon Press


Rebecca J.
Rebecca J.
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