The challenges faced by online teaching and learning (E learning) in Cameroon, case study of the University of Bamenda
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The popularity of e-learning (EL) largely infiltrated into every sector of Cameroon institutions of higher learning. This growing interest in EL is due to the advent of rapid internet technologies. For decades, Cameroon institutions of higher learning have accepted EL as a vital learning tool for the enhancement of learning and teaching within the higher education sector.
However, there are countless challenges that continue to hinder learning and teaching activities. This study seeks to determine the relationships between various challenges and EL capabilities through stated hypotheses.
The study is a descriptive, qualitative design aided by a quantitative approach that were applied to collect data. In total 66 full and part-time UBa students After collecting the data it was analysed using Excel 2016 and SPSS(version 20) From the results it was revealed that, challenges hinder students from UBa from totally using the UBa Platform.
The study therefore, recommends that higher institutions of learning should increase investments in various EL programs including relevant ICT infrastructure development and also in levels of connectivity. The study further recommends that EL contents should be designed taking into account the cultural characteristics of students.
Keywords: E-Learning; University; Challenges; ICT Infrastructure, Time Management, Cultural, Learning styles
Education is seen as one of the most important factors for poverty alleviation and economic growth in developing countries (UNDP 2005; UNESCO 2005; WSIS 2005) and the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for dissemination of education is believed to have huge potential for governments struggling to meet a growing demand for education while facing an escalating shortage of teachers (UNESCO 2006).
E-learning is, however, facing a lot of obstacles and challenges in developing countries (Dhanarajan 2001; Heeks 2002; Rajesh 2003) and drop-out rates are usually much higher than in traditional, classroom based, teaching (Eastmond 2000; O’Connor et al. 2003; Simpson 2004).
Information and communication technologies (ICT) provide new opportunities for education and training, as they enhance learning and teaching, and facilitate collaborations, innovation and creativity for individuals and organizations (Ala-Mutka, Punie & Redecker, 2008).
Although often used as an extension of other teaching tools, the use of ICT has the potential to open opportunities of new ways of doing things, thus developing creativity in learning. Furthermore, ICT use has been found to be associated with creativity of Gorbi (2013).
Thus, the use ICT can support development of public policy for educational change that promote creative and innovative school [and university] environment (Cachia, Ferrari & Punie, 2011).
Previous development model indicate that successful training of scientists require three elements namely, science content (focus), technology and vocational orientation (Lebeaume, 2004). The science content focuses on knowledge of discipline, while technology and vocational orientation help to improve the scientist’s process skills. Higher education as the training ground for future scientists must make a big impact on university students’ intellectual process, mental ability, learning skill and creativity so that they can proceed with critical and progressive thinking that enable them to provide solutions to current problems (Mahmoodi, Maleki & Sanisales, 2015).
An education system that harmonizes with the changing world needs and has a fructuous look at the sciences will provide diverse training and learning experiences to support the learners’ creativity and academic ability. In fact, such an education system is more able to provide better thinking skills and ability in learners as the system prepares them for better understanding of the world and the need for constructive innovations (Payne Young; 2009).
The application of teaching and learning methods that promotes deep and active learning and creativity in learners is the emphasis of the educational system of the present age. A number of scholars have suggested that there exists a strong relationship between learning and creativity and in fact Guilford (1950) states that creativity can be considered as a sub-type of learning (in sited by Truman, 2011).
Higher education, as a social institution must function according to the needs of the community, i.e., should nurture individuals that they educate to be creative and thoughtful with high academic ability. To achieve this objective, the traditional teaching methods (lectures, etc.) do not have the required effectiveness, but implementation of e-learning in teaching-learning process could be a way to realize this goal (Zare et al., 2014).
1.2: Research Problem
Due to the rapid change in technological progress and the globalization trend in higher education and the elimination of boundaries among students, new methods and perspectives have opened to educational practice such as E-learning. Now, Information & Communication Technology (ICT) is currently used in education to assist students in learning more efficiently. It is helping teachers to undertake administrative tasks more efficiently.
There are many challenges to overcome while using E-learning in universities. The use of E-learning for learning is still in its infancy at the University of Bamenda due to many challenges related to implementation. E-learning system presents several challenges, -each- with its own particular- importance to the whole.
These challenges include academic, technological; and administrative. These challenges classified as the domains of the questionnaires. Frequent use of E-learning at university level is considered a longterm strategy in Cameroon.
There is clear evidence that a majority of Cameroon universities are already using E-learning but mostly in the blended model with face to face teaching too. For instance, the University of Bamenda is one of these universities, which is using E-learning in blended learning mode. However, a review of the tangible steps revealed meagre progress in the exploitation of E-learning approach in these public universities due to unexpected challenges.
The majority of these universities are using E-learning in blended mode and have lagged in full implementation. According to Abdelaziz., Riad., & Senousy, (2014) state that E-learning use in combination with technologies such as information and multimedia alters the traditional learning style and learning environment.
Teachers can deliver a lecture anytime or/and anyplace. E-learning changes the relationship between teachers and students from traditional education and provides a platform for teachers and students to communicate.
Students can do a cooperative study through the platform. With the coming of computer technology, E-learning has played a progressively important role; especially in higher education. Increasingly, college students rely on computers for learning and many higher education institutions, ICT uses to develop course materials, deliver and share course content. Also, ICT promotes lectures, presentations and facilitates communication. So in this study the various challenges faced by the E learning and teaching process in UBa is examined.
- To what extent does cultural and learning styles hinder effective online teaching and learning in UBa?
- To what extent does technological Facilities hinder effective online teaching and learning in UBa?
- To what extent does time Management hinder effective online teaching and learning in UBa?
The general objective of this study was to establish the various challenges faced by online teaching and learning in UBa
1.4.2 Specific Objectives of the Study
- To establish the impact of cultural and learning styles challenges on effective online teaching and learning in UBa.
- To determine the impact of technological Facilities on effective online teaching and learning in UBa
- To establish the impact of time Management hinder effective online teaching and learning in UBa.