The technological revolution has transformed the face of education, allowing people greater access to knowledge and skills in a convenient and easily accessible manner.
In keeping abreast with the latest developments in e-learning, the National Center for E-learning and Distance Learning (NCEL), under the aegis of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah organized the third international conference to further explore this subject.
Entitled “From Practice to Performance,” the weeklong event kicked off in the presence of a record number of participants and a number of high profile professionals.
In his opening remarks, Mohammad Al-Ohali, the deputy minister of higher education for academic affairs, observed that investment in human resources is one of the major priorities and strategies of countries around the world, stressing that the Kingdom is a pioneer in this field, as it has achieved great strides in human resources development.
The deputy minister reaffirmed that e-learning is increasingly being implemented in higher education and highlighted that many e-learning projects have been initiated over the last decade.
“The next step is to make sense of past, present and future e-learning research initiatives to strategize and implement e-learning in the Kingdom,” added Al-Ohali.
He also acknowledged the leading role of NCEL in transforming e-learning into an engaging performance-driven learning experience.
Michael Moore, a distinguished professor of education at Pennsylvania State University delivered the conference guest speech on behalf of 99 speakers from 18 countries. Speaking on the occasion, Moore said he was honored to be representing a diversity of professionals, academics and educationalists with such a wealth of talent.
In reference to the importance of this conference Moore said, “We recognize the importance of Saudi Arabia as a growing center of enterprise and culture in the region and the Islamic world- and many of us are eager to learn about, learn from and contribute toward.”
According to Moore, one obvious explanation for the international interest in e-learning is the growth and ubiquity of user-friendly mobile technology, in addition to the newly awakened excitement about the practice and the profession of teaching itself. The new technologies empower the practice of social learning and shift the focus toward a learner-centered teaching approach in which the teacher is a facilitator, instead of a figure of content authority.
“E-learning is at the cutting edge of contemporary educational practices, as it has opened the opportunity for life-long learning to a wider population, at a higher quality and lower cost, which is a precedent in education.”
Moore pointed out that better education does not merely come from introducing new technology, but also requires innovation in terms of educational institutions.
“If e-learning is the cutting edge of contemporary education, it is the invention of new types of delivery systems and the evolution of policies to support such innovation that make this invention feasible,” he explained.
Elaborating on his statement, he said: “In all these technological, pedagogical and institutional developments, lie tremendous opportunities for academic research and for the international exchange of knowledge. Especially important is the study of the innovation process itself, meaning what occurs within institutions and between institutions at the national or regional levels.”
Expressing his appreciation for the opportunity to attend the conference, Moore said: “We trust we will justify your confidence in inviting us and look forward to working with you in further enhancing the place of e-learning in the Kingdom, as well as advancing the status of the Kingdom as a leader in the evolution of e-learning in this part of the world and in the world in general.”