Institution of higher education have increasingly embraced online education, and the number of student enroll in distance education program is rising rapidly in colleges and universities.
Today’s students are exposed to a technological era in which they are engulfed with an array of mobile technology and learning tools to include, ipads, computers, iphones, interactive audio or videoconferencing, webcasts, instructional videos via CD-ROMs or DVDs and computer-based systems transmitted through the Internet (The National Center for Education Statistics, 2011). Mobile devices provide education to students by allowing them to download necessary materials, immediately, to help fulfill requirements for issues they are confronted with daily (Bonk, 2009). Digital learning tools such as webcams, electronic books, and audio devices for recording lectures, to be used by students at their convenience, are effective tools offered by educational institutions to increase students’ success rate with course requirements. Electronic books can reduce the cost of and ensure use of most current reading materials, and a larger variety of sources. The growth of these devices has provided instructors new and innovative tools to promote teaching and learning for students with varied educational needs. Not only are technology devices necessary for success in the online environment, but the design of the online program, including the instructor, the curriculum, and student support services accompanied by a strong sense of community and connectedness within the program, are significant as well.
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At the same time, misconceptions and myths related to the difficulty of teaching and learning online, technologies available to support online instruction, the support and compensation needed for high-quality instructors, and the needs of online students create challenges for such vision statements and planning documents. In part, this confusion swells as higher education explores dozens of e-learning technologies (for example, electronic books, simulations, text messaging, podcasting, wikis, blogs), with new ones seeming to emerge each week. Such technologies confront instructors and administrators at a time of continued budget retrenchments and rethinking. Adding to this dilemma, bored students are dropping out of online classes while pleading for richer and more engaging online learning experiences. Given the demand for online learning, the plethora of online technologies to incorporate into teaching, the budgetary problems, and the opportunities for innovation, we argue that online learning environments are facing a “perfect e-storm,” linking pedagogy, technology, and learner needs.
The call for application of E-learning in schools is to infuse and inject efficiency and effectiveness in the teaching-learning process. Thus, in a developing nation like Ghana, E-learning is currently encountering the challenges of material devices like the availability of computers, well equipped computer laboratories coupled with internet facilities, videophone systems and teleconferencing devices, fax and wireless applications, digital library, digital classrooms, multimedia systems and the problem of multimedia courseware development among others (Global Information Technology Report, 2010). Other studies revealed that there is a limited trained teacher for E-learning, lack of facilities, infrastructures and equipment (Ikemenjima, 2005; and Jegede & Owolabi, 2003).
E-learning has already influenced the field of teaching, training and development in the developed world. An increasing number of higher institution courses are now taught on the internet and are increasing student numbers (Chang, 2001). Many educational stakeholders are of the opinion that online learning is the future method for their training programmes (Barron, 1999). However, the field lacks enough documentation to show that E-learning is an effective delivery mechanism in relation to the individuals being taught. Aroyo and Dicheva (2004) indicated that many researchers in the area of education systems are concerned with moving their research to a coherent space of collaborative intelligence from scattered intelligent. There are limited studies that have investigated the perception of distance learning students on the influence of e-learning on their academic performance.