Eight-component framework for e-learning

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The Eight component framework for e-learning is global instructional design method designed by Badrul H. Khan.

According to the framework's webpage (accessed on 12:33, 19 May 2006 (MEST)), Khan's framework for e-learning has the following purpose:

  • Design, development, implementation and evaluation of open, flexible and distributed learning systems require thoughtful analysis and investigation of how to use the attributes and resources of the Internet and digital technologies in concert with instructional design principles and issues important to various dimensions of online learning environments.
  • After reflecting on various factors important to open, flexible and distributed learning environments, I developed A Framework for E-learning. These factors can encompass various online learning issues, including: pedagogical, technological, interface design, evaluation, management, resource support, ethical and institutional. Various factors discussed in the eight dimensions of the framework can provide guidance in the design, development, delivery and evaluation of flexible, open and distance learning environments.

The components

Khan distinguishes the following components (slightly modified and commented by DSchneider):

  1. The pedagogical dimension of E-learning refers to teaching and learning. It includes analysis of objectives, subject matters etc., and pedagogical design including choice of pedagogic strategy.
  2. The technological dimension of the E-Learning Framework concerns the technical infrastructure (e.g. platforms used, standards chosen, hardware).
  3. The interface design refers to the overall look and feel of e-learning programs (page and site design, content design, navigation, and usability testing).
  4. The evaluation for e-learning includes both learner assessment, teacher evaluation and evaluation of the learning environment.
  5. The management of e-learning refers to the maintenance of learning environment and distribution of information.
  6. The resource support dimension of the E-Learning Framework examines the online support and resources required to foster meaningful learning environments.
  7. The ethical considerations of e-learning relate to social and political influence, cultural diversity, bias, geographical diversity, learner diversity, information accessibility, etiquette, and the legal issues.
  8. The institutional dimension is concerned with issues of administrative affairs, academic affairs and student services related to e-learning.

For a picture and more details, consult his website (accessed on 12:33, 19 May 2006 (MEST)) and buy one of his books.

In our opinion this model is quite useful to factor out dimension to consider in a larger project. However there are some dangers in "flattening" out elements like "interface design" and "resource support". These elements are strongly tied to the pedagogical dimensions, i.e. interface design is not just about usability but also about cognitive usability (do learners really learn?), a very hot debate in the academic multimedia research community. Also see the tutoring article that demonstrates how closely tutoring is associated with pedagogical design. - DSchneider

Links and references

  • The framework home page
  • Badrul H Khan (ed.), Web-Based Training, Educational Technology Publications , ISBN 0-87778-303-9