Information and communication technologies (ICT) include computers, the Internet, broadcasting technologies (radio and television) and telephony. While the rise of computers and the Internet has provoked great interest in the ways in which they can be applied in education to improve its efficiency and effectiveness at all levels, older technologies, such as the telephone, radio and television have long been used as instructional tools. Radio and television have been used for open and distance learning, although print has remained the cheapest, most accessible and most dominant delivery mechanism in developed as well as developing countries.
As a result of the increasing application of ICTs in education, a number of new learning approaches have emerged. E-learning encompasses learning at all levels, formal as well as non-formal, using information networks such as the Internet, an intranet (LAN) or extranet (WAN) for course delivery, interaction and facilitation. Blended learning refers to learning models that combine traditional classroom practice with e-leaning solutions. The blending of different methods was developed after educators recognized that not all learning is best achieved in an electronically-mediated environment, in particular one that dispenses with a live instructor altogether.
Open and distance learning is a learning approach in which teacher and learner are separated in time or place and uses a variety of media, including print and electronic, to ensure a two-way communication that allows tutors and learners to interact.
Some types of ICTs, such as teleconferencing technologies, make it possible for multiple, geographically dispersed learners to receive instruction simultaneously. The Internet and the World Wide Web also provide access to learning materials in almost every subject and in a variety of media anywhere at any time of the day and to an unlimited number of people. One of the most commonly cited reasons for using ICTs in education has been to better prepare students for a workplace where ICTs are becoming more and more ubiquitous. In addition, ICTs can improve the quality of education by increasing learner engagement and motivation, by facilitating the acquisition of basic skills and by enhancing teacher training.
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