e-learning in Honduras: challenges and projections

What are some of the principal challenges in the area of virtual learning in Honduras in the next few months? What are the main innovations to be consolidated or incorporated in Honduras during 2015?  An analysis by an expert in b-learning and online learning.


(@americalearning) In 2015 in Honduras we hope to incorporate e-learning in classroom teaching, creating more specifically,  the "digital classroom" under the modality of b-learning. Blended learning is used mainly in language teaching, but the idea is to apply it to  other disciplines and areas of knowledge. This was the analysis of Dario Pinus, Academic Specialist for Latin America in DynEd Latam during an exclusive interview carried out by America Learning Media magazine.



"E-learning is no longer confined exclusively to the area of virtual training; rather, this will be integrated into classroom training as this will help accelerate the learning of any discipline," said the expert from Honduras.


Dario Pinus has specialized in virtual education since 1994 through educational networks such as: Red TELAR (Argentina), iEARN (USA) and Atlas de la Diversidad (Spain - Latin America).


What is the relevance of e-learning in Honduras?

Dario Pinus: First,  let’s start with the notion that e-learning is merely online “distance learning”; it is much more than that. Its the integration of technology to education through a wide range of multimedia: audio, video, text, animation, streaming video, video conferencing, virtual classrooms, digital books, virtual tutors , and so on. In fact, there is so much  technological potential that, if well-designed, can help bolster a system of education –one without spaces or borders.

Based on this concept, e-learning is still a relatively new tool in Honduras that is gradually being incorporated into the education system, and although it is not fully implemented,  it is slowly being incorporated into the universities, in vocational training institutes and, recently,  in some schools, through a project called “Smart School”, where two or more schools can be interconnected to develop classes with interactive content.

Similarly, language teaching is one of the main objectives of e-learning in Honduras, and  both companies and schools are  integrating technology to facilitate students to learn at the institution, at home or elsewhere, taking advantage of current devices such as iPads, tablets, smartphones, etc.

Therefore I can say that today,  e-learning in Honduras is still relatively new but growing each day with the emergence of new virtual classrooms, incorporation of computers and Internet in schools and training institutes.  Everyday more users are participating in virtual trainings.


What are some of the challenges in the area of virtual learning in Honduras in the next few months?

There is so much demand for virtual learning each day; technology is advancing in gigantic steps, with newer and better devices appearing almost daily –and all of them useful tools in virtual education. For the moment, these are the main challenges we face:

  • Training of specialized tutors
  • Using new tools and incorporating them into new platforms
  • Training users to utilize the tools and mobile devices in order to maximize the benefits of the technology
  • Developing specialized tutors is so important for the student to experience a positive and productive learning process
  • Training users means taking advantage of all available resources--this is important so that learning doesn’t just take place in the classroom, to read textbooks and respond to questions. Today, there is so much more, and it’s also taking advantage of a whole range of tools that the student needs for learning.

The challenge is great: not just learning for the user who participates, but also for the instructors that are helping them learn.


What are some of the innovations in e-learning that you expect to see –either consolidated or incorporated--in the coming year?

Incorporating new mobile devices into learning is key. Studying on a computer (PC) is almost history now. Each day the use of tablets and smartphones is growing so much. Therefore, the new modality will be mobile learning.  For this purpose, all platforms will need to adapt to this so they can be used effectively.



Which platform  / solutions / applications is converting better for you and which do you prefer/recommend for Online Education?

In my opinion Moodle is the most widely used that I know. I've used Moodle many times --it is very complete, free and  facilitates teaching and learning. Although at first it was hard to learn it,  it’s proved to be one of the best educational platforms thus far.  Multimedia components such as audio, image, vídeo must always be present in an educational project.  But let’s keep in mind that pictures are worth a thousand words, which is why on-line education should not exclude all that is visual. It all has to be simple but clear.  A short video with a simple animation can be effective in delivering useful information to our students.


Could you talk about some important e-learning projects in which you have participated?

I have participated in the “Atlas de la Diversidad Cultural" (Atlas of Cultural Diversity) project, initially as a virtual tutor and then as the coordinator of the project. This project consisted of training teachers on the implementation of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in the classroom, with the participation of many schools in Latin America and Spain, where the students made a “portrait” of their place (country, city, town, neighborhood), which was published in the course platform by their teacher. At the end of the project, all participants had an international meeting in Las Leñas, Argentina. It was one of the most significant and important  e-learning projects I have participated in, and certainly one of the most rewarding.

Previously I have been involved in many other international teacher training projects since 1997 in educational networks such as Red TELAR and iEARN (International Education Network).

Currently I am working on the implementation of blended learning in English teaching, applied not only in Honduras, but throughout Latin America through the DynEd (Dynamic Education) system –one in which we are also integrating "mobile learning" with great success!

January, 2015