E-Learning and Economic Development


Kelly CAREY
Stanko BLATNIK


ABSTRACT
In this article, our experience in the development and realization of e-Learning courses in Slovenia is described and discussed. Slovenia, the most developed republic of former Yugoslavia, became an EU member in May 2004. In 1991, after its independence from Yugoslavia, Slovenia’s transition to a free market economy resulted in lost jobs and an unemployment rate of 12%. In 1999, as the Institute for Symbolic Analysis and Development of Information Technologies, located in Velenje, Slovenia, we decided to offer several online courses to help unemployed people gain the skills and knowledge needed for employability in information technology. We drew on our previous experience teaching online courses at Sarajevo University after the Bosnian war and on the experience of West Valley College from Saratoga, Silicon Valley in e-Learning. Over the last four years, we organized and delivered e-Learning courses in digital media design and production, with good results. Several students found jobs and changed their perception and attitude as they became more self-confident. We believe e-Learning can efficiently enhance lifelong learning and support economic development, especially in new member countries transitioning from former socialistic to free market economies.


KEYWORDS: e-Learning, Distance Education, Economic Development, Unemployment, Transnational Learning.

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