E-learning – the McDonaldization of education

Carroll, Noel (2013) E-learning – the McDonaldization of education. pp. 342-356. ISSN 2156-8235


E-learning has become one of the biggest phenomena of educational literature in recent years. Although the potential promise of e-learning is often expected within the process of learning, much of the emphasis is in fact on the electronic issues to facilitate learning, with little regard for its consequences on the learning process. Surprising, very few studies explore students request for such technologies, which begs the question ? what problem is e-learning trying to address and whose problem is it? This article argues that although we continue to develop sophisticated gadgetry to ?enhance? learning, technology can in fact distract the learner by allowing technology to become more intrusive in the educational experience. Consequently, this often erodes the human factor in learning ? making the learning process a more isolated experience. This article suggests that academics should become more cautions with their acceptance of facilitating learning through e-learning platforms without fully understanding the impact on students learning experiences. The article offers a critical reflection on an extensive study carried out on students' (total: 475) experience with e-learning at third level education. This article reflects on the findings and raises concerns regarding the contrast in what e-learning literature promises and what students actually experience.

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