1 Universidade Aberta (PORTUGAL)
2 Escola Superior de Tecnologia de Setúbal (PORTUGAL)
3 ISR Lab – Information Society Research Lab (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 4997-5004
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Parallel to the conventional classroom setting, more flexible learning mediums have been emerging. The internet revolution brought by Web 2.0 applications has been extended to education and combined with e-Learning has created a more interactive, dynamic and collaborative educational method. E-Learning 2.0 has the potential to improve the online learning experience, but, in light of the challenges it poses, requires thorough consideration.

This paper argues that the core characteristics of Web 2.0 can help to overcome e-learning’s main weaknesses. It begins by presenting a comparison between traditional learning, distance learning and e-learning to provide an understanding of how education has been evolving and the main reasons behind this progression and increased flexibility.

It will then use a combination of studies about online course satisfaction to identify some of e-Learning’s central weaknesses: lack of rich interaction; insufficient technical support or relevant software; meagre endorsement from traditional institutions; and the integration, in education, of technology not yet pedagogically approved. One of these studies also concluded that students wanted more from e-Learning. In brief, an increasingly interactive dynamic and collaborative learning experience, where solid communities could be built [4]. This is what Web 2.0 provides. Web 2.0 pioneers a new approach in information management, interaction, open software, information sharing and content creation by the user [2].

This paper intends to demonstrate that the emergence of e-Learning 2.0 doesn’t relate uniquely with a technological makeover, it represents a shift of control to the learner. Similarly, Web 2.0 is less of a technological revolution, per se, and more of a change in the power given to the user. Web 2.0’s own nature addresses the weaknesses of e-Learning and has the potential to build an improved version of this learning medium. The use of Web 2.0 tools such as blogs, wikis or folksonomies increases the interaction, collaboration and information sharing, students were finding insufficient in e-Learning.

To conclude, a review of the available literature on the subject highlights some of e-Learning 2.0’s challenges: the use of software initially designed for social purposes [1]; the automatic application of Web 2.0 tools in education; tools that have to be carefully chosen not to be a distraction; the scarce support from traditional institutions; and accusations of poor pedagogy. Technology by itself, will not improve e-Learning, this change, to be successful, needs to be combined with pedagogical approaches [3].

1. Dalsgaard, C.: Social software: E-Learning beyond learning management systems. Distance Education,Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 139–153 (2006) URL:
2. Downes, S.: E-Learning 2.0. ELearn. (2005) URL:
3. Robertson, J.S., Grant, M. M., Jackson, L.: Is online instruction perceived as effective as campus instruction by graduate students in education? Internet and Higher Education 8, 73–86 (2005)
4. Young, A., Norgard, C.: Assessing the quality of online courses from the students' perspective. Internet and Higher Education 9, 107--115 (2006)

web 2, 0, e-learning 2, 0, education, traditional learning, distance learning.