Novel Developments in Web-Based Learning Technologies: Tools for Modern Teaching

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Raising the quality and scale of innovations in education will positively affect education itself and benefit the whole society. Originality is in the systemic approach to education and educational innovations, in offering a comprehensive classification of innovations; in exposing the hurdles to innovations, in new arguments about effectiveness of technology applications, and in time efficiency of education. Serdyukov, P. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article for both commercial and non-commercial purposes , subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors.

Education, being a social institution serving the needs of society, is indispensable for society to survive and thrive. It should be not only comprehensive, sustainable, and superb, but must continuously evolve to meet the challenges of the fast-changing and unpredictable globalized world. This evolution must be systemic, consistent, and scalable; therefore, school teachers, college professors, administrators, researchers, and policy makers are expected to innovate the theory and practice of teaching and learning, as well as all other aspects of this complex organization to ensure quality preparation of all students to life and work.

Here we present a systemic discussion of educational innovations, identify the barriers to innovation, and outline potential directions for effective innovations. We discuss the current status of innovations in US education, what educational innovation is, how innovations are being integrated in schools and colleges, why innovations do not always produce the desired effect, and what should be done to increase the scale and rate of innovation-based transformations in our education system.

We then offer recommendations for the growth of educational innovations. As examples of innovations in education, we will highlight online learning and time efficiency of learning using accelerated and intensive approaches. For an individual, a nation, and humankind to survive and progress, innovation and evolution are essential.

Innovations in education are of particular importance because education plays a crucial role in creating a sustainable future. Innovation, therefore, is to be regarded as an instrument of necessary and positive change. Any human activity e.

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The need for educational innovations has become acute. In the USA, underlying pressure to innovate comes from political, economic, demographic, and technological forces from both inside and outside the nation.

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Further, it is irrefutable that the country has made limited improvement on most educational outcomes over the last several decades, especially when considered in the context of the increased investment over the same period. In fact, the total cost of producing each successful high school and college graduate has increased substantially over time instead of decreasing — creating what some argue is an inverted learning curve […]. Yet, something does not work here.


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Lack of innovation can have profound economic and social repercussions. Hence it is central for us to make US education consistently innovative and focus educational innovations on raising the quality of learning at all levels. Suffice it to mention a few facts. Program for International Student Assessment PISA evaluations keep revealing disappointing results for our middle school Pew Research Center, ; a large number of high school graduates are not ready for college College preparedness, ; and employers, in turn, are often dissatisfied with college graduates Thomson, ; Jaschik, No one, be they students, parents, academia, business, or society as a whole, are pleased with these outcomes.

Could it be that our education system is not sufficiently innovative? Education is probably the single most important function in our society today, yet it remains one of the least understood, despite incredible levels of investment from venture capitalists and governments. Why do students continue to show up in a classroom or start an online course? How do we guide students to the right knowledge just as they need to learn it? We may have an empirical inkling and some hunches, but we still lack any fundamental insights. That is truly disappointing. With the rise of the internet, it seemed like education was on the cusp of a complete revolution.

USA success has always been driven by innovation and has a unique capacity for growth Zeihan, Nevertheless, it is indeed a paradox: while the USA produces more research, including in education, than any other country Science Watch, , we do not see much improvement in the way our students are prepared for life and work.

Yet, has this theory yielded any innovative approaches for the teaching and learning practice that have increased learning productivity and improved the quality of the output? The USA is the home of the computer and the internet, but has the information revolution helped to improve the quality of learning outcomes? Where and how, then, are all these educational innovations applied? What is interesting here is that while we are still undecided as to what to do with our struggling schools and universities and how to integrate into them our advanced inventions, other nations are already benefiting from our innovations and have in a short time successfully built world-class education systems.

It is ironic that an admirable Finnish success was derived heavily from US educational research. Singapore, South Korea, China, and other forward-looking countries also learned from great US educational ideas. We cannot say that US educators and society are oblivious to the problems in education: on the contrary, a number of educational movements have taken place in recent US history e. Excellent books have been written by outstanding innovators such as Andy Hargreaves , Hargreaves and Shirley , Hargreaves et al.

And still, innovations do not take hold in American classrooms on a wide scale, which may leave the nation behind in global competition. It looks like the issue of educational innovation goes beyond the field itself and requires a strong societal response.

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Three big questions arise from this discussion: why, having so many innovators and organizations concerned with innovations, does our education system not benefit from them? What interferes with creating and, especially, implementing transformative, life-changing, and much-needed innovations across schools and colleges in this country? How can we grow, support, and disseminate worthy innovations effectively so that our students succeed in both school and university and achieve the best learning outcomes that will adequately prepare them for life and work?

Let us first take a look at what is an educational innovation. To innovate is to look beyond what we are currently doing and develop a novel idea that helps us to do our job in a new way. The purpose of any invention, therefore, is to create something different from what we have been doing, be it in quality or quantity or both.

To produce a considerable, transformative effect, the innovation must be put to work, which requires prompt diffusion and large-scale implementation. Thus, innovation requires three major steps: an idea, its implementation, and the outcome that results from the execution of the idea and produces a change. In education, innovation can appear as a new pedagogic theory, methodological approach, teaching technique, instructional tool, learning process, or institutional structure that, when implemented, produces a significant change in teaching and learning, which leads to better student learning.

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Efficiency is generally determined by the amount of time, money, and resources that are necessary to obtain certain results. In education, efficiency of learning is determined mainly by the invested time and cost. Learning is more efficient if we achieve the same results in less time and with less expense. Productivity is determined by estimating the outcomes obtained vs the invested effort in order to achieve the result.

Thus, if we can achieve more with less effort, productivity increases. Hence, innovations in education should increase both productivity of learning and learning efficiency. Educational innovations emerge in various areas and in many forms. There are innovations in instructional techniques or delivery systems, such as the use of new technologies in the classroom. There are innovations in the way teachers are recruited, and prepared, and compensated. Innovation can be directed toward progress in one, several, or all aspects of the educational system: theory and practice, curriculum, teaching and learning, policy, technology, institutions and administration, institutional culture, and teacher education.

It can be applied in any aspect of education that can make a positive impact on learning and learners. In a similar way, educational innovation concerns all stakeholders: the learner, parents, teacher, educational administrators, researchers, and policy makers and requires their active involvement and support. When considering the learners, we think of studying cognitive processes taking place in the the brain during learning — identifying and developing abilities, skills, and competencies.

These include improving attitudes, dispositions, behaviors, motivation, self-assessment, self-efficacy, autonomy, as well as communication, collaboration, engagement, and learning productivity. To raise the quality of teaching, we want to enhance teacher education, professional development, and life-long learning to include attitudes, dispositions, teaching style, motivation, skills, competencies, self-assessment, self-efficacy, creativity, responsibility, autonomy to teach, capacity to innovate, freedom from administrative pressure, best conditions of work, and public sustenance.

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As such, we expect educational institutions to provide an optimal academic environment, as well as materials and conditions for achieving excellence of the learning outcomes for every student program content, course format, institutional culture, research, funding, resources, infrastructure, administration, and support. Education is nourished by society and, in turn, nourishes society.


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The national educational system relies on the dedication and responsibility of all society for its effective functioning, thus parental involvement, together with strong community and society backing, are crucial for success. A national education system is commonly the product of a distinctive set of historical, political, social, cultural, and economic effects.