Features of E-learning in language training of students in higher educational institutions

This article considers some of the major questions about access and accessibility, advantages and disadvantages of using e-books and online learning. The author discussed the way of designing resources for teachers, some requirements for teachers in their using or making e-books have been revealed. The modes of operation of electronic textbooks were presented in the article. As a result, important considerations were identified for the design and facilitation of electronic books.

Nowadays, there is a rapid development of information and communication technologies and their implementation in all areas of public life, including the educational process. In this connection there is very urgent problem of using computer technology in education process effectively. New technology in the classroom  are not only new hardware, but also new forms and methods of teaching, a new approach to learning.

Specific feature of foreign language teaching is that students acquire the language in an artificial language environment due to the lack of natural. This situation suggests the widespread use of computer technology and various means of training. Therefore, it is quite natural that in the teaching of a foreign language new information and communication technologies have found their application.

The main objective of foreign language teaching is the formation and development of communicative culture of students, and their practical language acquisition. The task of the teacher is to activate the cognitive activity of the student in learning foreign languages, create the conditions of practical language learning for each student in order to choose such training methods that would allow each student to show their activity and creativity.

A wide spread of electronic language-teaching materials are available to the teachers nowadays. One of the greatest possibilities of electronic materials is the increase in motivating some learners. Therefore online and CD-ROM coursebook support attracts students, brings some novelties instead of working through the same old exercise in the same old coursebook. A lot of electronic materials have similar content of exercises or tests in books and designed for learners who find using a mouse and keyboard more motivating than writing. They also provide instant feedback. Games especially appeal to younger learners as an alternative to traditional classroom-style teaching. Many young teenage learners enjoy games for their own sake, but this is not always the case with adults. If teachers want learners to play games, they should explain why and what benefit they will derive from it. Even with younger learners, teacher should tell them why they are playing the game and afterwards test them on the language that was covered by it. A further motivating factor is that learners may feel empowered: they can work through materials at their own speed. For example, learners decide how many times they wish to listen to an audio clip and how many attempts they need to finish an exercise. They can choose their own pathway through the material, so they may choose whether to work systematically in a linear way or take advantage of the non-linear aspect of a CD-ROM, for example.

Listening using podcasts, online audio or CD-ROM can be integrated into any part of a language course, provided the facilities are available. Teachers can use online listening in the classroom; learners can listen individually through headphones in a self-access centre; learners can listen at home or in the office as self-study or homework. Using computer technologies at foreign language lessons can be presented in various forms: working with specialized sites, search for information on the Internet, watching authentic movies, the use of training programs, games and so on. At the present time one of the effective and relatively affordable methods for teaching of foreign languages is the use of the electronic textbook. Electronic textbook allows to implement the principle of differentiated and individualized approach to learning. With the help of the electronic textbook such kinds of speech activities as listening and reading can be effectively carried out and checked, as well as to form and develop grammatical, lexical and audio-pronunciation skills of students.

However, developing high-quality, interactive, innovative, and motivating resources is essential to the success of teaching and learning no matter what mode of delivery is being used. The availability of technology, equipment, and software has created interesting resources with audiovisual elements and effective feedback easier. Also learner expectations are also increasing constantly, so tutors may need more time to keep resources relevant and in a high quality. Within educational organizations, developing resources is often the responsibility of individual lecturers or, in a few cases, departments. Individuals often cite to the lack of time as the reason of not created new resources. However, electronically once created resources can be updated much quicker, keeping them fresh and up to date. The advantages of including audio files, hyperlinks, images, videos quickly outweight development of time, and sharing resources with colleagues can reduce the time individuals need to gather a full set of teaching materials. Creating interactive resources that promote active learning is important as uploading original text-based resources to online learning environments is no more than retrofitting to technology, resulting in factually dry «electronic pageturning». Well-designed technologically enhanced activities encourage and support different levels of thinking and analysis, which can help learners critically analyze and understand concepts more deeply.

Scholars state that creating, developing, and updating resources are often quicker and easier when technologies are utilized; however, preparing learning objects for delivery online is more complex than traditional session planning. Lower achievement in online courses, often due to less effective pedagogical strategies, can be improved by enabling personalization and differentiation through nonlinear structure and including a variety of activities, modules in different configurations, time for reflection, and audiovisual stimulation. Time needs to be allowed to compose the layout of online resources effectively to enable information to be understood at a distance without overloading from solid blocks of text; sufficient description is also needed to remove the need for lecturer explanations. Software is readily available to develop interactive,  motivating resources. The process of verbal or written feedback in a traditional setting needs to be translated into a form that supports learners in isolation. Many lecturers spend their time by creating elaborate resources, and then spend no time composing feedback for quiz and assessment elements. Many resources do not contain more than «congratulations» or «try again» for correct or incorrect responses, respectively, which can de-motivate achievers and frustrate individuals who are struggling. Comprehensive comments in quizzes provide opportunities for learners to reflect and think critically regardless of whether they respond correctly or not. Extrinsic feedback (which, for the purpose of this chapter, relates to shallow, simplistic verification comments) offers individuals a pleasantry at best, usually failing «to assess deep learning». Intrinsic feedback (which, for the purpose of this chapter, relates to deeper, elaborate comments that are responsive to learners’ reasoning and initiate a further thought process) includes clarification details, directions to further information to encourage further learning and improve the chances of correct answers or links to higher level questions, extension tasks, and encouragement to reflect, deepen understanding, and keep enthusiasm high. The e-learning sessions receive positive comments in relation to their breadth and the fact that, despite being classroom based, the delivery utilizes technologies and action learning to create constructive experiences for all staff. However, there is a genuine issue of staff not having time to attend training, so an alternative solution needs to be established [1].

Nevertheless, the changes in the educational landscape to include technology are a natural evolution that enhances learning. It is evident that teaching environments, because of their commitment to learning, accessibility, and widening participation, have generally embraced the technological age through positive association, and despite some staff being resistant to change, many more individuals are excited by it. Working in small steps and being honest and realistic throughout any culture change will ultimately lead to the focus, in this case, technology becoming embedded in teaching and learning. At the same time, the sharing and collaborative work would lead to learners having enhanced experiences through every aspect of their lifelong learning journey. However, the technological infrastructure needs to be developed to increase the opportunity for individuals from many backgrounds to access new modes of learning. Technological developments must also involve combined working to ensure that any system, including virtual learning environments and eportfolios, that learners use in one educational sector can transfer to another, potentially to international educational organizations, too. Lecturers and leaders must continue to strive for the best, identifying strategies and models that work to personalize and differentiate learning and helping others achieve the same results under similar and different conditions. Utilizing online learning environments and social networking tools widens the reach of education and extends the concept of the classroom. One of the greatest advantages of effectively using online learning environments is enabling learners to take ownership of their own learning. Ensuring all course dates, literature, resources, and session notes are uploaded and available for learners makes the whole process accessible and transparent from the beginning to end of any course. Blending traditional and newer methods can also increase individual familiarization and confidence with technology, which has a positive effect in relation to skills needed for life and work in the digital age. Training is essential to the successful implementation of e-learning in any organization, and, again, by pooling resources, partnerships can collectively provide more constructive, efficient development opportunities for their staff, which in turn benefits learners. Lecturers are best supported through the availability of flexible training options, delivered when, where, and how individuals require. Providing sessions online widens accessibility, and similar to the way learners have experience in blended delivery, some lecturers will increase technological skills and confidence and be able to identify possibilities for their own teaching simply by working through a training module themselves. Developing lecturers in a real environment with learners increases confidence and is an effective follow-up to more formal skills training sessions. The cascade model complements all other forms of training and is an effective method for reaching more individuals than central training sessions delivered by an individual or team. Taking time to develop motivating and interactive resources is essential to their success and effectiveness as learning tools, especially for online delivery. Electronic resources are easier to keep up to date and relevant, and by including audio files, hyperlinks, images, and video clips, materials are more accessible and enable personalization. Utilizing modules of information in different configurations enables differentiation to stretch achievers and support individuals at lower levels. Effectively composed intrinsic feedback is vital to the creation of engaging resources and quizzes. Simple extrinsic yes-no responses do not inspire further exploration or reflection in learners as well as deeper, specifically detailed comments or directions, which is what is needed to  promote  lifelong learning. Finally, while it is generally accepted that many further education organizations are well on the way to fully embedding digital concepts, it is important to remember that financial limitations often affect the ability for organizations to consistently support developments. Nonetheless, e-learning is a constantly changing landscape and therefore all practitioners working in education need to be willing to contribute to its continued integration, development, and success.

Electronic textbook is a computer educational software tool designed primarily for presentation of new information, complementary publications, serving for the individual and individualized instructions and allowing a limited extent of testing the knowledge and skills of students [2].

As in the creation of any complex systems, the preparation of the electronic textbook is crucial to the success of the talents and skills of the authors. However, there are well-established forms of electronic textbooks, or more precisely, the structural elements of which can be built textbook.

Test — the simplest form of the electronic textbook. The main difficulty is the selection and wording of questions, as well as the interpretation of the responses to the questions. A good test allows you to get an objective picture of the knowledge and skills possessed by the student in a particular subject area.

Encyclopedia — the basic form of the electronic textbook. At the substantive level, the term encyclopedia means that the information is concentrated in the electronic textbook, must be complete and even excessive in relation to the standards of education. Such characteristics of the service as: links, bookmarks, repeat animations and sound recordings, search by keywords belong to electronic encyclopedia.

Task-book in the electronic textbook performs the function of education more naturally. The most important in the task-book is the proportion of help. In the selection of tasks it is necessary to solve conflicting optimization problems. On the one hand, each task must disclose or guarantee through the assimilation of certain portion aid of theoretical materials should be build upon each of those students for whom the electronic textbook was made. On the other hand, the number of tasks should not scare the student, and deprive his self-reliance. According to Aleshkina O.V. following architectural forms can be implemented as separate electronic textbooks or grouped in a single architectural ensemble:

Creative Environment. Modern electronic textbooks should provide the student's creative work with the objects of study and models of systems of interacting objects. It is a creative work that contributes to the formation and consolidation of complex skills and abilities of the student. From a programmer's perspective, creative environment is one of the most challenging components of the electronic textbook.

Authoring environment. Electronic textbook should be adaptable to the learning process, that is able to accommodate the specific features of the school, a particular class, a particular student. Authoring environment provides the inclusion of additional materials in the electronic encyclopedia, to replenish task-book, prepare handouts and manuals on the subject. In fact, it is the similarity of the tool which creates an electronic textbook itself.

Nonverbal environment. Traditionally, electronic textbooks are verbal by nature. They set out the theory in text or graphical form. However, nowadays electronic textbooks have the opportunity to realize a methodical method of «do as I do». In this long-winded instructions are replaced by concrete actions on the object of study [3].

Having studied research works of scholars in this field , we think S.V. Volkov’s [4] identification of the didactic function of the electronic textbook is more suitable:

Information; the presence of concepts and definitions, providing information about the disciplines using text, graphics, charts, tables, audio and video clips, lighting features studied objects and phenomena, the parameters of objects exemplification, rules, and so on.

Regulating; availability list of prior knowledge and skills necessary to work with an electronic textbook, questions and problems for self-preparedness in work with the textbook, questions and problems for self-learning material, visual representation of the structure of the material being studied, control tasks.

Reference: providing guidance for students in the primary sources on the subject through the preface, table of contents, index, glossary, tables, and so on.

The implementation of these functions in an electronic textbook contributes to the improvement the quality and effectiveness of training.

Electronic textbook as any learning tool, has its advantages and disadvantages. There are 2 significant deficiencies in the electronic textbook:

  1. The need of additional special equipment to work with electronic textbooks, first of all the computer with appropriate software and monitor, and sometimes additionally also the CD-ROM drive and / or network card or a modem to work in a LAN or
  2. Unusual, unconventional electronic forms of information and fatigue of working in front of the

There are advantages of electronic books are as well:

  1. Ability of adapting and optimizing the user interface according to the individual needs of the In particular, it refers to the ability of usage either text or hypertext, and frame the structure of the textbook.
  2. The ability of using additional means to influence on the student that makes it easier to learn and remember training material better. It is very important to include animated aids to the text. The positive effect can also be achieved with the help of sound, relevant training
  3. The possibility of building a simple and convenient mechanism for navigating an electronic The electronic manual uses hyperlinks and frame structure or card-image, which allows without flipping through pages quickly jump to a specific section or fragment thereof and, quickly go back, if it is necessary. Students do not need to memorize pages on which the appropriate sections were placed.
  4. Optional automated control of the level of a student's knowledge, and on this basis, ther is an automatic selection of the appropriate level of knowledge of textbook layers .
  5. Ability of adapting to the level of the material being studied students' knowledge, resulting in an improvement in the perception and memory information. The adaptation is based on the use of a layered structure of publication, and, in accordance with the test results given layer pupil corresponding to the level of his knowledge.
  6. The main advantage of the electronic textbook — it is the possibility of interactive communication between the student and the elements of the textbook [5].

Analyzing above discussed points, we consider some of the principles of the electronic textbook and its design:

  1. Electronic textbook must contain at least textual information in connection with the fact that a long text from the screen reading leads to considerable fatigue and consequently to reduce the level of perception;
  2. Electronic textbooks should contain a large number of illustrative It is advisable to use compressed graphics file formats (GIF, JPEG) and a limited palette of colors or vector graphic files in order to limit the scope of the textbook;
  3. Using video clips allows students to pass in the dynamics of processes and phenomena. Despite the large size of the files, it is advisable to use them, because it increases the interest of students and  improve the quality of knowledge;
  4. In traditional teaching, verbal means dominates in presentation of new In this regard, the use of audio fragments in an electronic textbook allows not only bring closer to usual methods of submission information, but also improve perception of new material, and activates not only visual, but also hearing centers of head brain at the same time;
  5. Electronic textbooks should contain hyperlinks on the elements of the textbook, and may have links to other online tutorials and It is preferabe to have content with a quick transition to the necessary chapter or page;
  6. It is possible, for example, with the help of technologies OLE (Object Linking and Embedding), start other computer programs to show examples, testing and other purposes;
  7. The exclusive arrangement has a didactic value of text, graphics and other material. Quality perception of new information is the ability to synthesize and analyze, speed memorization. Learning information is largely dependent on the location of the information on the computer screen. There are three main modes of operation of the electronic textbook:
  8. Education without checking;
  9. Education with checking, in which at the end of each chapter (section) the student is invited to answer a few questions to determine the degree of material acquisition;
  10. Test control, which designed for total control of knowledge with setting

Hence, the main problem is the complexity of a large building quality electronic textbooks and the majority of teachers who teach subjects of not informative cycle, the absence of sufficient qualifications for independent creation of electronic textbooks. The main task of evaluating electronic textbooks in universities is to identify educational and didactic advantages of their use in the educational process in comparison with the classical textbooks.

Undoubtedly, the biggest plus of the transition to using multimedia e-books is that the electronic textbook replaces heavy paper books, which greatly reduces the physical strain on the spine of students. 



  1. Lewis Driving factors for e-learning: An organisational perspective. Perspectives: Policy and Practice in Higher Education, 2002, 6 (2), р. 50–54.
  2. Tyshchenko B. New computer-based training tool — an electronic textbook. Computers in the classroom, 1999, 10, р. 89–92.
  3. Aleshkina O.V. Application of electronic textbooks in the educational process. Young scientist, 2012, 11, р. 389–391.
  4. Volkov S.V. Pedagogical conditions of use of email textbook in the educational process of a technical universities. Thesis of doctor of art. 13.00.08. Stavropol, 2003, p.
  5. Voul V.A. Electronic resource. Center of distance learning / available by: http://www.hi-edu.ru/e-books/xbook119/01/parthtm
Year: 2015
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy