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E-learning from the Perspective of Web Science: Looking to the Future

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Author(s): Julià Minguillón

Journal: UOC Papers. Revista sobre la societat del coneixement
ISSN 1885-1541

Issue: 7;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Web Science | distance education | e-learning | internet | virtual learning environments | web

ABSTRACT
This article shows the evolution that distance education has undergone recently from a new perspective, Web Science, which studies how the Web has evolved not only technologically but also socially and organisationally. A technological solution initially designed to share information, the Web is now present in all everyday activities and in every sphere - personal, academic and professional - and has changed the way we relate with one another, work and, obviously, access shared knowledge and learning. With the appearance of the Web, distance education has ceased to be a second option relegated to students not having the chance of accessing the university education system and is becoming common in the university education system, allowing students to take control of their lifelong learning process, both academic and professional, without the barriers of time or space. A number of factors have brought about this change - technological, methodological and organisational - but also social changes. Web Science studies how all of these changes are interrelated and their influence on such areas as the economy, leisure and education, the field of interest of this article. E-learning as the evolution of distance education is (or should be), therefore, a clear example of a Web Science case study, in which all of these aspects occur.

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