Proceedings of The 2nd International Conference on Advanced Research in Education
E-Learning Experiences from the Arab World
Hanadi Traifeh , Raad Bin Tareaf and Christoph Meinel
Although most Arab countries offer free public education, the majority of their educational systems do not prepare students for the labour market or equip them with the skills needed to compete in today’s global society. Teaching methods and techniques do not encourage critical and analytical thinking, and are still teacher-centred instead of being designed with intentional focus on students and learners. E-learning technologies have the potential to address most of these challenges. For example, digital technologies can make education more efficient, scalable and accessible. And with the wide spread of the internet in the region, an increased adoption of e-learning has been witnessed among Arab students and life-long learners. To assess the current state of the e-learning sphere in the Arab world, we conducted a survey to learn more about the digital learning experiences of Arab students. In this paper, we report our findings. Most of the 200 participants who responded to our survey hold a bachelor degree and higher, and claimed to spend more than 4 hours online. However, only 19.5% of all participants have enrolled in an Arabic e-learning program or MOOC, and 70% still prefer to take their courses in English. We also assess the different factors Arab learners take into consideration when joining an online course, and also explore the reasons that lead 80% of participants not to join any online courses. Our observations show that adoption of digital learning in the Arab world is very low but has significant potential for growth. The paper concludes with recommendations on how to spread digital learning in the region.
keywords: digital learning; education; life-long learner; MOOC.