A variety of technologies are currently being used to deliver education on the Internet. These technologies include the use of the World Wide Web (WWW) for online lecture notes, newsgroups for collaborative discussions and class announcements, e-mail correspondence between students and instructors, interactive video over the Internet for remote participation in classes and discussions, and virtual reality for exploring three dimensional scenes. Multimedia is increasingly being used in online education to enhance the learning process. A critical question that needs to be asked is ``how effective are Internet-based learning methods?''. This paper reviews existing Internet-based technologies and implementations for education. The paper describes current examples of Internet-based learning and analyses the benefits and limitations to the student and the institution. Individual learning styles are described with examples of appropriate Internet technologies to support each style of learning. A summary of evaluations of these technologies is then given. The paper concludes with suggestions on how to choose appropriate technologies for Internet-based education.
What is the Internet?
According to Rwambiwa ((2001), Internet is a large, international computer network linking users around the world. A network consists of two or more computers that are connected to share data. The Internet uses a combination of phone lines, coax cables, fibre-optic cables, satellites and other telecommunications media. Internet is used by many people for sending and receiving electronic mail or to obtain information on almost any subject.
Education on the Internet
Open universities (ZOU, UNISA, and many others) have thousands of people studying for both undergraduate level courses and postgraduate degrees. These universities and other professional institutes...