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E-learning uses all forms of electronic in teaching process. It uses media to help the learning process. E-learning is especially the computer and network transfer of skills and knowledge. E-learning applications and processes include Web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classroom opportunities and digital collaboration. E- Learning expansion is one of the most suitable approaches especially in higher educations and it makes the information and knowledge more accessible to everybody to meet all demands in society. So there is a vital need towards virtual learning in ministry of science, research and technology. One of the most important aspects of development in any country is the expanding of higher education and creating opportunities for everybody to study in any field of interest. In order to accomplish that we need to develop different kinds of educational courses like distant learning, e-learning and etc. The main purpose of this paper is to find key learning points regarding e-learning issue by taking into account different aspects. In this paper, I describe the development of expanding of e-learning in Iran and then the performances of this procedure have been analyzed. I want to review some of the learning technologies and discuss about the future of e-learning in Iran compared to another countries. Will the e- learning grow at this rate in the future or whether it is likely to fade into the background over time?
As the internet is developing, people's attention have changed to using electronic and another web based technologies in many aspects of their lives. Learning process and acquisition of knowledge has recently changed a lot. Today learning process has become easier and more fun than past. In traditional education system students had to carry huge resources and books. Today many authors (Kalkota and Whinston, 1996; Turban et al., 2000; Owens, 2002; Owensand Floyd, 2007) have identified that the internet offers unique opportunities in both teaching and learning process. Also there is believe that if students couldn't find any source in the internet, this means the information does not exist, so today the main part for students' research and study is through the internet. Computer-mediated distance education is becoming very common and is being demanded more and more by students. However, despite what some might believe, Internet based instruction is by no means the "magic bullet" that automatically guarantees a rich learning environment. Although research continues to confirm that there is no significant difference among student outcomes based on mode of course delivery , we must keep in mind that Web based distance education technology and pedagogy is still very much in its infancy. Hence, those of us working in Internet-based instruction are finding new ways in developing the essential elements and processes that will lead to high-quality, active, online learning environments. It is generally agreed that the World Wide Web is a compelling, resource-rich, multimedia environment with great potential to serve large numbers of separate students at relatively low cost. An institutional model that is distinct from the traditional instructional-planning model and that supports the design, development, and implementation of high-quality instruction on the Internet, is a fundamental requirement for gaining support for Web-based instruction from faculty, administrators, and students. The purpose of e-learning generally is to use electronic systems like computers, the Internet, CD by Multimedia, electronic publications and newsletters etc. Currently, the demand for distance education is happening in the mass volume of young population, the number of people who have stayed behind the exam, for employees who need continuing education degree at the University have enormous spending on education and residence areas far, lack of access to specialist teachers in all parts of the country, the cost of commuting and traffic, pollution and so on. E-learning offers many opportunities for supporting education in higher education in developing countries such as Iran. In this paper I want to delineate and demonstrate a transitional model of learning and its process to become e-learning with the main focus on future of e-learning in Iran especially in higher education. Today, a lot of countries in the world invest on new ways of using information technology and increase this way for new populations of students. But in Iran, we can see wide range of investing in virtual universities. . e learning in Iran has a few programs. The history of e-learning in Iran at present time did not exceed more than 6 years. Iran has plenty of universities like Poly-Technic University of Technology, Iran University of Science and Technology, Shiraz virtual University and some Islamic virtual collages and centers like Islamic virtual centers and Faculty of the Science of Hadith . Also this paper looks into barriers to fully implementation of e-learning in Iran. Finally I will discuss about some solutions for implementation of e-learning in Iran. For examining the e learning situation in Iran, I should investigate in other countries and compare them with Iran. One of countries is China. E learning has popularly been used in the field of Chinese education since the mid-1990s. The Chinese government has made large investments in advanced e-learning environments in schools, colleges and universities. As a result, Chinese teachers and students have frequently utilized e-learning in their teaching and learning. For most Chinese teachers and students, e-learning is a good means and opportunity for their teaching and learning process.
According to the Oxford Internet Survey (2005) people mostly use internet to check e- mails, online shopping, playing games or being in touch with their friends in communities and only a small percentage use it for the purpose of distance learning. Learning technology can effectively assist teaching when it is seen as one of a set of activities aimed at supporting students' learning.
E-learning environments increasingly serve as important infrastructural features of universities that enable teachers to provide students with different representations of knowledge and to enhance interaction between teachers and students and amongst students themselves. This study was designed to identify factors that can explain teachers' use of e-learning environments in higher education. (Hossein Mahdizade, 2007).
Whilst traditional teaching methods, such as face-to-face lectures, tutorials, and mentoring, remain dominant in the educational sector, universities are investing heavily in learning technologies, to facilitate improvements with respect to the quality of learning (Cancannon, Flynn, & Campbell, 2005). The implementation of information and communication technology (ICT) as an advanced flexible technology with its unique characteristics is one of the main new investments. For example in The Netherlands, with one of the world's highest concentrations of Internet users and personal and organizational computer use, a national study has indicated that almost all university students use e-mail and the World Wide Web on a personal basis, but in general computer use in educational program is limited to occasional information searches. (Veen, 1999, cited in Collis, Oscar & Pals, 2001).
Atkinson and Kydd (1997) examined the influence of playfulness, ability to use the computer, ease of use, and usefulness on the use of the World Wide Web. They found that all the considered constructs affected World Wide Web use. Collis et al., (op cit) described an attempt to develop and validate a model focusing on the use of ICT (in particular email, the WWW and videoconferencing) in teaching and learning activities.
They believed that an individual's acceptance of technological innovations in his or her learning-related activities is based upon four rather simple concepts: environment, effectiveness, ease of use, and engagement. These four ''E's'' were the basis of a conceptual model for prediction of the acceptance of ICT innovations by an individual in an educational context). Several studies concentrated on barriers to using technology in education (Muir-Herzig, 2004). Findings have shown that barriers include lack of teacher time, limited access and high cost of equipment, lack of vision or rationale for technology use, lack of teacher training and support, and current assessment practices that may not reflect what is learned with technology. The time needed by a teacher to learn how to use the new technology includes the time the teacher needs to become competent with the computer as a personal tool but also as an instructional tool (Brand, 1998, cited in Muir-Herzig, 2004).
Other researchers have highlighted other factors which they think might be influential in teachers' and students' attitudes toward the use of ICT in education. Educational researchers such as Biggs and Ramsden have identified different approaches to learning that can be used to characterize the ways in which students engage in learning tasks and their learning environment (Brett & Nagra, 2005). Instructional and learning strategies in connection with computer technology use should be examined (Lowerison, Sclater, Schmid, & Abrami, 2006).
Race (2003) identified constructivist learning approach and instructional strategy as being important. Lowerison et al. (2006) also considered learning strategy and instructional technique as two effective factors of students' perceived effectiveness of computer technology use. Paris (2004) studied the effect of prior ICT experience on secondary students' attitudes toward online web-based learning.
As in many other counties Iran has been affected by the spread of ICT. Although there is not enough technical and cultural infrastructure in Iran, as there is in some developed countries, there is high enthusiasm to employ ICT, and there have been considerable efforts in this regard(Badrul H. Khan, a Contributing Editor, Founder of McWeadon.com (a professional development site)).
Dr. Vafa Ghaffarian is co-founder of Sadegh-net (www.sadegh-net.com) Institute, one of the leading institutions of e-learning in Iran. He believes that e-learning should be started as a business partnership. Otherwise, it may not last, as you would expect. Also he has another point about e-learning. He believes E-learning is more efficient in transferring knowledge rather than skills. Although engineering and nursing science students may be educated by e-learning, we face many shortages when it comes to practice. As a solution, a blended approach may offer the benefits of both virtual classrooms (for knowledge development) and physical field work (for skill improvement). The rapid development of e-learning technology and methods, and decreases in their limitations, also should be taken into account.
S. Hamid Hosseini (President, Hadith Sciences Virtual University in Iran, of the Iranian Hadith Sciences College) believes International communication is ever-increasing, thanks to the environment of ICT and the blur of geographic borders, and there is still more potential for that. We have established connections with experts in other countries and benefit from their consultancy benefit from their consultancy service. He believes that there are advantages and disadvantages to any educational approach, as is true in traditional ones. E-learning has unique advantages of its own. I believe the more we employ e-learning tools and experiences, the more we can find solutions to increase efficiency of the methods. Consequently, the number and variety of courses offered will increase as well as their quality of presentation. We have focused our investment on content production in the study of Hadith, and we produce courses of the highest quality. The process involves restructuring content, exploring advanced multi-media and studio tools to deliver concepts. Iran like china because of difference between its universities and developed region universities has a lot of students, which after graduating cannot entry in developed region universities in the world. This problem in china was caused to think about e-Learning until the students can meet famous and experienced teachers. Another problem in china was distance between students' homes and universities. Also, Iran has mentioned problem. Majority of famous and good universities have placed in Tehran (Iran's capital). It is hard for students who are in other cities come in capital weekly. So e-Learning also can solve this problem.
The main problem in using E-learning for students is trust. Most of the parents don't like to encourage their children for this kind of education because they don't believe in this, so I think that if E-learning advertises by lecturers and famous universities they can easily attract student to online learning. The other subject is that in Iran people don't use internet like the other countries in Europe or America, I mean even online shopping which is very common these days, is not very usual in Iran. To solve this problem we should work on culture of subsystems in society. We should start talking about E-learning when they are in school and make an appointment with their parents to teach them the benefits of E-learning and after a while when their children graduate from high school they have a good experience and knowledge about online studying so they make a much easier decision.
Establishment advanced higher education institutes and colleges equipped with modern e-learning facilities are one of today's urgent needs in developing countries like Iran. But the sustainability of such learning systems depends on making sound and realistic educational strategies. New learning technologies need to be targeted so that they may develop applied learning skills in the students. Developing e-learning systems could be considered as a solution for the hazed situation of online higher education in Iran. If e-learning is to have a meaningful role in higher education, it is important that universities focus on students' attitudes and their expectations with regard to the role of e-learning within their higher education experiences. E-learning represents an important, growing trend in the application of technology to facilitate student learning in Iran. The findings from study on virtual students' perceptions of e-learning among users with mostly limited prior e-learning experience Identified the important insight about students' perceptions of elearning and raise practical considerations for its implementation. These studies is thus just an initial effort at providing Insightful analyses to the policy makers of developing countries such as Iran's higher education institutes. Additional studies are recommended to extend the research on both professors' and students' perceptions to their overall attitude, such as willingness to use e-learning, their need for educational technology,as well as technical assistance and training support.To achieve the goal of application of e-learning for extension service, there are some main challenges namely financial, technical, supporting services, regulatory, cultural and human. The agricultural extension services in Iran should overcome and transform the challenges to the opportunities. In an environment, agricultural extension organization familiar with the challenges could transform these potential challenges to the opportunities, otherwise, lack of familiarity with the nature of challenges would transform them to threats. Future research is needed to deepen the analysis of these factors and in order to pursue the major research question - on what is of particular importance in settings with low experience and exposure to e-learning.