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Improving Social Competence via e-Learning?

The Example of Human Rights Education

Sandra Reitz

This book analyses whether improving social competence via e-learning is possible at all. Therefore, an e-learning program for human rights education is developed and evaluated with pre- and post-tests. Social competences as well as human rights education are often divided into areas of «cognition», «attitudes» and «behaviour». In order to achieve the pedagogical goals, all three areas have to be considered. In contrast to the cognitive area, the attitudinal and behavioral areas pose a particular challenge: so far, hardly any programs exist that explicitly consider these areas – most e-learning programs focus on the dissemination of knowledge. Thanks to the participation of over one hundred learners, some generalizing conclusions can be drawn from this program.

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5 E-Learning

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“I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my te- lephone.” - Bjarne Stroustrup, computer science professor (1950- ) At first sight, the term e-learning seems to be yet another buzzword. Deriving from e-business,273 the focus on vocational training and training within compa- nies was as natural as the wish to save costs – especially travel and accommoda- tion costs for the training participants. Popular examples of the enormous hopes related to e-learning are two quotations by John Chambers, President and CEO of Cisco Systems in 1999: “There are two fundamental equalizers in life - the Internet and education. E-learning combines these equalizers to revolutionize the way organizations around the world communicate and train their people.”274 Chambers is also quoted saying: “The next big killer application for the Internet is going to be education. Education over the Internet is going to be so big it is going to make e-mail look like a rounding error”.275 In the past few years, these high hopes have turned into disenchantment in that sector, because the expected savings were sometimes unrealistic, and also because of very high course drop- put rates.276 E-learning requires a high motivation and a high competence for 273 There have also been earlier usages of the “e-”, such as e-mail, but the link to company strategies and e-business is closer than links to other terms, such as e-mail or...

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