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Chapter 2. Background and Related Work


During the last decade the amount of literature published in the field of eLearning has grown noticeably, as has the diversity in attitudes and viewpoints of people who work on this subject. The general background presented here with regard to eLearning includes the definition, details of different types and the concept of quality.

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Information quality within information systems (IS), web mining and information extracting techniques are the main areas on which supporting literature is primarily focused. However, an in-depth explanation of each branch of these research fields is outside the scope of this literature review. The literature presented here is particularly focused on the subtopics of these large research areas which are directly applicable to this research. The structure of this chapter is divided into three main parts: a general view of eLearning including definitions of eLearning, an overview of eLearning types and the concept of quality in eLearning; information quality (IQ) within ISs; and information extraction methods. Each section includes a number of subsections which address the factors that are relevant to this research.


In this part of the literature review, we focus on eLearning by providing a discussion about the definitions of eLearning, eLearning types and the concept of quality in eLearning. Moreover, in this section we lay the foundation for the general concept of quality in eLearning upon which the research will be based. This section also presents a discussion about the relationships between technology, users and content in an eLearning context.

ELearning Definition

The term eLearning is used in the literature and in business to describe many fields, such as online learning, web-based training, distance learning, distributed learning, virtual learning, or technology-based training. During recent decades, eLearning has been defined in several instances in different ways. In any publication in the field of eLearning, it is important to ensure that the author’s understanding exactly matches that of the majority of the readers, therefore, the specific definition used should be stated first. Moreover, to reach a clearer understanding of what eLearning is, in this part of the thesis we present numerous definitions of eLearning as mentioned in the literature. In general, most of the definitions of the term eLearning are used to express the exploitation of technologies which can be used to deliver learning (or learning materials) in an electronic format, most likely via the World Wide Web (WWW). Psaromiligkos and Retalis consider eLearning to be the systems which utilise the WWW as a delivery medium for static learning resources, such as instructional files, or as an interface onto interactive The previous definitions look at eLearning in general; in more detail, eLearning can be in the form of courses or in the form of modules and smaller learning materials –

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