AN EVALUATION OF CHALLENGES OF E-LEARNING IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITY USING BABCOCK UNIVERSITY
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
E-learning refers to the use of ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) to improve and assist the teaching and learning process. E-learning is becoming more popular. E-learning encompasses a wide variety of activities, from the way students communicate through email and access course materials online while enrolled in a course on campus to programs that are totally online. Advances in information and communications technology (ICT) have transformed higher education in a variety of ways, including increasing access to postsecondary instruction, improving the availability of educational resources, facilitating meaningful interaction among learners, modernizing an outdated educational system and, as a result, better preparing students and the general public for the information age, and/or accelerating national development efforts (Albirini, 2006).
In certain regions of the globe, the phrase “e-learning” refers to a phenomena that has been for some time in the promotion of education. It is now being used to promote distant education (DE) and lifelong learning in Nigeria by a number of educational institutions. According to Sale (2002), e-learning is the use of electronic technology to provide education and training applications, evaluate learner performance, and report learner progress to instructors and administrators. Hedge and Hayward (2004) defined it as an innovative approach for delivering electronically mediated, well-designed, learner-centered, and interactive learning environments to anyone, anywhere, anytime by utilizing the internet and digital technologies in accordance with instructional design principles, which they described as follows: With the use of computers, it is possible to learn anything at any time. When it comes to learning with a computer in this day and age, it is just a matter of getting information over the internet or through an offline medium like a CD-ROM; online learning requires the usage of Internet Explorer/Navigator. It might be in the form of audio, video, or audio/visual presentation. It is possible to learn using e-learning technology in a variety of ways including computer mediated communication (CMC), web-based communication (WBC), virtual communication (VLC), blended learning (hybrid models), internet learning (internet-based learning), networked learning (Tele-learning), computer-assisted learning (CAL), online classroom (online collaboration), and satellite television (Satellite TV) (Arbaugh, 2000; Achuonye, 2004; Ukoha, 2007).
For example, in Nigerian schools, the most often used sort of e-learning is in the form of lecture notes on CD-ROM, which may be played whenever the student chooses. The disadvantage of this strategy is that the number of students per computer in which these features are provided is low when compared to the number of students per computer when lectures are delivered in a traditional classroom. Intranet facilities have been implemented at several institutions. However they are not effectively maintained as a result of the constant power outages and high operating costs associated with the usage of the generating set. A multimedia interaction cannot be done because of the large number of individuals with different intentions on the internet at the same time, as well as the limited bandwidth available in Nigeria’s cyber cafés. Although these and other challenges confront e-learning in Nigeria educational institutions, institutions such as the University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, the University of Benin, the University of Abuja, the University of Lagos, and the National Open University of Nigeria, among others, have the necessary infrastructure for e-learning to take place. The number seems to be relatively low (when compared to other regions of the globe and the value of e-learning in the growth of the economy) due to the location of most institutions, bandwidth issues, and, most importantly, the difficulty in obtaining energy. Despite the fact that the majority of educational institutions (both private and public) have begun building up their ICT centers only for the provision of internet services, they have failed to take into account the other components of an e-learning center.
The purpose of this study endeavor is to determine the difficulties associated with e-learning in Nigerian university education via the use of Nigeria’s Babcok University is a prestigious institution.
In his description of online education, Keegan (1998) stated that it is “Characterized by the separation of teachers and learners, which distinguishes it from self-study and private tutoring, the use of a computer network to present or distribute some educational content, the provision of two-way communication via a computer network so that students may benefit from communication with each other, teachers, and staff,” which is consistent with the description of e-learning provided by Arbaugh (2000; Arch, 2000).
When new information and communication technologies (ICTs) were introduced and spread around the world, an irreversible revolution in education was unleashed, notably in the domains of teaching and learning. The Internet and the World Wide Web have accelerated the pace of change, particularly via the expansion of e-learning opportunities. For the majority of open and remote learning providers, e-learning has introduced a new dimension to the problem of access to their courses and programs. Even as Open and Distance Learning, or ODL, is being hailed by governments around the world as a solution to the problem of providing access to education to the masses, electronic learning is expanding the frontiers even further by removing distance from education and enabling individuals who can, to access education from anywhere, at any time, and at any location. ELearning, also known as online education, provides students with fantastic opportunity for one-on-one connection with their study materials, study tools, and their instructors over the Internet. Technology and communication systems are used to enhance the learning experience in interactive learning environments.. Because it is available around the clock (i.e., seven days a week), it has the potential to alter the way we teach and learn throughout the year. It has the potential to enhance standards while also increasing involvement in lifetime learning. It is critical to remember that Elearning, defined as learning that is assisted online using network technologies, entails the use of virtual technologies in the activity of teaching, learning, and evaluation (Lee, Hong and Ling, 2002) Furthermore, at the National Open Institution of Nigeria, e-learning activities began with the most basic usage of audio cassettes and moved to the use of CD-ROMs and interactive movies before finally settling on one of the top Learning Management Systems, LMS, which the university now employs.
Electronic learning, which is defined as the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve and support learning, teaching, and research, is becoming more popular (Eteng and Ntui, 2009). From the outset, it was crystal obvious in the minds of the planners that elearning, or online learning, would play a significant part in the university’s teaching and learning delivery system. A major emphasis is placed in the provision and utilization of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), which states that “In recognition of the prominent roles of information and communication technology in advancing knowledge and skills necessary for effective functioning in the modern world, there is an urgent need to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into education in Nigeria.” Educational institutions are becoming more interested in enhancing their programs via the use of information and communication technology (ICT) tools and apps in order to incorporate greater flexibility into the teaching and learning process.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In Nigerian universities, the growth of e-learning technology is confronted with a number of difficulties. One of these issues is the incapacity of instructors to help students in developing the abilities and knowledge required to enable them to make good use of e-learning resources. A common difficulty in many e-learning initiatives is that students have a negative opinion of their studies because of a lack of pedagogy in their curriculum as well as a lack of user touch and feel in their e-learning platform (Allen & Seaman 2003; Ostund, 2005). Another finding from many studies on online learning in poor countries is that a lack of vision and structure in the implementation of online learning leads to the failure of these e-learning programs (Pal, 2006, Kizito & Bijan, 2006). E-learning initiatives that fail due to a lack of both technical and social skills necessary for their execution are referred to as e-learning failures.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The general objective of the study is to evaluate of challenges of e-learning in Nigerian university using Babcok university in Nigeria. Specifically, the study will be guided under the following:
- To examine level of knowledge staff and students of the university have towards the use of e-learning tools.
- To find out the awareness level of the academic community of e-learning tools.
- To investigate the challenges of E- learning in Nigerian University
- To make recommendation on the use of E- learning in Nigerian University.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following questions have been prepared for the study:
- What is the level of knowledge staff and students of the university have towards the use of e-learning tools?
- What is the awareness level of the academic community of e-learning tools?
- What are the challenges of E- learning in Nigerian University?
- What are the recommendation on the use of E- learning in Nigerian University?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be significant to both teachers and students as it might also help to change the altitude of students as well as teachers/lecturers towards e-learning. Also, it will find out the role of Government to the development of e-learning through the provision of e-learning equipment.
In addition, the study will be of benefit to the academic community as it will contribute to the existing literature.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will examine level of knowledge staff and students of the university have towards the use of e-learning tools. The study will also find out the awareness level of the academic community of e-learning tools. The study will further To investigate the challenges of E- learning in Nigerian University. Lastly, the study will make recommendation on the use of E- learning in Nigerian University. Hence this study will be delimited to Babcok University.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, and interview), which is why the researcher resorted to a moderate choice of sample size. More so, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Challenges: Challenges refers to a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.