1 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences (LITHUANIA)
2 Vytautas Magnus University (LITHUANIA)
3 Mykolas Riomeris University (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN15 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 5651-5661
ISBN: 978-84-606-8243-1
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 7th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2015
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The paradox of e-learning is addressed in this paper, namely: on the one hand, contemporary students are considered to represent the generation of Digital Natives (DN). On the other hand, from teachers‘ experience, students are often reluctant to use available technologies for their studies, and, therefore, their e-learning is limited in many cases. Experience from three different universities raised corresponding concerns that are addressed in designing and carrying out the study presented in this paper.
Problem question of the research: why DN students, who eagerly use ICT technologies in everyday life, seem reluctant to use ICT-based tools for learning at a university.

The aim of the paper is to present a study, including theoretical considerations and empirical data on the paradox of the nature of studies at higher education institutions, observed when applying e-learning. The object of the study: the paradox of the nature of studies at higher education institutions when applying e-learning principles and technologies.

- To present theoretical considerations on e-learning and the prerequisites for e-learning for DN;
- To present the logics, design and procedures of the empirical study;
- To present study results together with conclusions and some insights for the enhancement of educational practices in contemporary higher education, namely for fostering e-learning processes.

Methodologies of quantitative and qualitative research were used for the investigation of the paradox of the nature of studies at higher education when applying e-learning principles and technologies. This stage of study was designed as a pilot study, with the perspective to investigate further on the phenomenon of the paradox of nature of studies. The method of questionnaire was used for the quantitative methodology with a goal to identify, which specific ICT tools young people use for their leisure time, communication and for studies. Furthermore, the method of written reflections was employed in order to identify subjective perspectives of students (18–23 years old) on the way they conceptualize, interpret and attribute practical implications to the employment of technologies in their studies. All reflections were analyzed with the focus on possible subjective explanations of the fact, why young students do not employ available technologies to their full potential, though superficially, the generation of DN is expected to be very flexible at using IT.

First-year students are quite reluctant to leave the comfort zones of Facebook and similar social networks in order to explore learning possibilities embedded in other platforms, including the ones provided by a university. They are reluctant to communicate in university intranet space and teamwork environments: students do not follow assessment requirements, miss calendar events, are late in their reaction to teacher messages in virtual collaboration space, etc.; The results of the study point to the need of increasing the level of interactivity and opportunities for social expression in the e-learning platforms offered by universities; The tentative results of the empirical study, especially, its qualitative part seem to indicate that young people do not conceptualize ICT tool as fitting to studies, to something that comprises an integral part of a university contrary to conceptualizing ICT tools exceptionally fitting their personal pursuits.
e-learning, reflective learning, learning of Digital Natives.