Technological innovations have not only brought benefits to business, but to Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) where an unprecedented demand for tertiary education has seen students enrolling for courses, some doing so through distance education. This has made the internet a very significant and indispensable learning and business tool for information dissemination for both education purposes and business transactions. The Internet is a technological development that has the potential to change not only the way society retains and accesses knowledge but also to transform and restructure traditional models of higher education, particularly the delivery and interaction in and with course materials and associated resources. Utilizing the Internet to deliver e-learning initiatives has created expectations both in the business market and in higher education institutions. Universities have been faced with the daunting task of having to re-adjust and re-organize themselves in preparation for the incorporation of e-learning within their institutions. Institutional leaders have also been faced with the challenge of having to align their institutional objectives to meet the needs and demands of the e-learning dispensation. Indeed, e-learning has enabled universities to expand on their current geographical reach, to capitalize on new prospective students and to establish themselves as global educational providers.
E-learning has become an indispensable learning and business tool. Many institutions of Higher Education and Corporate Training Institutes are resorting to e-learning as a means of solving authentic learning and performance problems, while other institutions are hopping onto the bandwagon simply because they do not want to be left behind. E-learning has helped to transform education and has become associated with, and construed in a variety of contexts, such as distance learning, online learning and networked learning. E-learning as a pedagogical issue has brought many benefits to students. It has been found to be convenient and can enable students to access educational material with ease. It can facilitate enhanced communication between and among students and lecturers. Among the most visible and valuable attributes of e-learning techniques and delivery is that they potentially give students greater access to education, in comparison to more traditional less flexible educational methods. E-learning offers people with disabilities the opportunity to further their education from home.
Educational technology has been identified as vital for acquisition of knowledge and information dissemination to students, as well as interaction between lecturers and students. If e-learning is to benefit students by offering students greater access to higher education, it is necessary to consider not only access to education but also the access to technology where computers become an indispensable element of effective e-learning courses. Students who have access to networked computers may have the opportunity to experience a more flexible learning process but students and indeed higher educational institutions could fail to benefit from this opportunity, due to students not being able to afford or gain access to a computer. Therefore, students with no computer at home are disadvantaged in e-learning environments. In addition, as a major consequence of an increased participation in higher education, a large number of students originate from low income backgrounds and will have little disposable income to purchase computers, and therefore increased reliance on technology to deliver higher education may potentially lead to further divisions in society.
CHANGING THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
ICTs and the use of e-learning in HEIs have necessitated the re-alignment of organizational structures and a paradigm shift in...