Sustainability is a concept that encompasses the environmental, social, economic, and human aspects of development. It is about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability is also a key challenge and opportunity for the eLearning industry, which is the use of electronic technologies to support and enhance learning.
eLearning has been growing rapidly in the past decades, especially in higher education, where it offers many benefits such as flexibility, accessibility, personalization, and collaboration. eLearning can also contribute to sustainability by reducing the environmental impact of traditional classroom-based education, such as energy consumption, carbon emissions, and waste generation. Moreover, eLearning can promote social and economic sustainability by providing access to quality education for learners from diverse backgrounds, locations, and circumstances, and by fostering skills and competencies that are relevant for the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Therefore, it is important to consider the sustainability factors for eLearning initiatives, which are the conditions that enable eLearning to achieve its intended outcomes and impacts in a sustainable way.
These factors include:
- The alignment of the eLearning initiative with the vision, mission, goals, and values of the institution or organization that implements it.
- The involvement and participation of all stakeholders in the planning, development, implementation, evaluation, and improvement of the eLearning initiative.
- The integration of pedagogical principles and practices that support effective learning outcomes and experiences for learners and educators.
- The adoption of appropriate technologies that suit the needs and preferences of learners and educators, and that are compatible with the existing infrastructure and resources.
- The assessment and evaluation of the effectiveness, efficiency, quality, and impact of the eLearning initiative on the learners, educators, institution or organization, and society.
- The continuous improvement and innovation of the eLearning initiative based on feedback, evidence, research, and best practices.
By applying these factors to eLearning initiatives, we can ensure that eLearning is not only a means to achieve learning objectives but also a way to contribute to sustainability in all its dimensions. eLearning can be a powerful tool for creating positive change in ourselves, our communities, and our world.