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PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON Design and Implementation of Software as a Service (Saas) Based E-Learning Platform
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- Name: Design and Implementation of Software as a Service (Saas) Based E-Learning Platform
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1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
However and whatever our dispositions are to education, it becomes imperative to note that the more efficient and faster the nature of education and learning, the better and more productive the results will be.
E-learning is an extremely significant (but incomplete) subset of educational technology. The
origins of the term is not certain, although it is suggested that the term most likely originated during
the 1980’s, within the similar time frame of another delivery mode online learning. Nichols (2003)
defines e-Learning as strictly learning that’s possible by using technological tools that are either
web-based, web-distributed, or web-capable. Ellis (2004) added to this definition that e-learning
also makes use of audio and videotape, satellite broadcast and interactive TV and it is not strictly
achieved through web-based means as defined by Nichols (2003).
The e- part of the term e-earning does not necessarily mean electronic as per e-mail or ecommerce.
Rather, according to Bernard Luskin, an educational technology pioneer, he advocated
that the “e-” of e-learning should be interpreted to mean “exciting, energetic, enthusiastic,
emotional, extended, excellent, and educational” in addition to “electronic”.
This approach to learning called e-learning has been adopted by organizations in different parts of
the world for instance “Google Classroom, Coursera, Khan Academy” etc. Through these
establishments it has been seen that e-learning would provide great benefits especially in a
continent like Africa. In the light of these benefits, it is not surprising that institutions and
international agencies have been spending many thousands of dollars to pilot and implement
various e-Learning solutions in the region (Farrell & Isaacs, 2007). For example, the African
Development Bank Group (AfDB) provided a grant of $15.6 million to African Virtual University
(AVU) to build e-learning centers and train content developers at 31 partner institutions in Africa
(Adkins, 2013). Seven of these institutions are in East Africa. Similarly, the Partnership of Higher
Education Africa (PHEA) has given funding to seven institutions in Africa (three of them in East
Africa) to implement various e-Learning solutions (Hoosen & Butcher, 2012).
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
E-learning is a relatively new method of learning in Nigeria and existing e-learning facilities like
web applications are very sparse and the existing ones have shown really little efficiency as it does
not engage students in a manner that would help foster learning which is meant to be the main
purpose of e-learning. It also continues the usual trend of students typically amassing knowledge
without a viable means for application of the acquired knowledge. Also, there is inadequate
awareness of these available e-learning facilities which keeps a large percentage of the Nigerian
population oblivious of the possible benefits associated with these facilities. Also, some existing
e-learning websites have poor development for example a web application called “SIMER”, this
devices that would be able to easily make use of the webapp.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
Our goal is to promote and extend the functionalities, flexibility, awareness, ease of access as well
as the educational standard of e-learning with focus on web application. This is necessary since in
recent times, Nigerians are becoming more “Computer Savvy” coupled with the fact that ease of
access to the internet is far greater now than it used to be years ago.
Seeing the challenges posed by existing e-learning webapps, we deem it fit to harness these earlier
identified opportunities and challenges for the good of people that would like to learn things both
people in school, those out of school for whatever reason as well as those in organizations.
Here are factors and objectives we have considered in the course of our study.
1. To reduce learning costs
As a student or even a small business owner, you know that online transactions cost a fraction as
much those requiring paper or staff. It’s the same with e-Learning because there are no papers,
no delays, and no travel expenses.
To reduce the time required for effective learning Electronic learning is sometimes called “justin-
time” learning. Such learning enables both employees and students to take what they have just
learned from their computer screens and apply it to the tasks at hand.
2. To motivate Individuals
e-Learning is considered an effective way to keep up with new technology, to generate new
ideas, and to keep your scheme fresh and inspired.
3. To expand the capabilities of businesses
Small organizations need to get more out of their high-potential employees. e-Learning helps
employers take these employees to a higher level of contribution.
Other goals and objectives include the following:
• To reduce the need for classroom training
• To track the progress of employees and students
• To track training effectiveness (or absorption)
• To link training with Knowledge Management
• To reduce time away from the job
• To improve performance of individuals
• To support business objectives
• To make learning available anytime, anywhere
4. To Provide Employment opportunities for students based on their performance in courses
5. To make examinations much more effective
This is achieved as the system would not need to take the long amount of time that’s normally
required by the traditional educational process to provide results of students in the exams or
The system also notifies the students on questions they got right and those they didn’t.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
With the successful implementation of this research project, the following will be achieved:
Students would be able to learn at a very accurate pace and with the approach that that suits
Learning would be very practical, engaging, collaborative, and relevant to tackling actual
real life problems in the field that’s being studied
Students would get resources and materials for the courses in which they are enrolled for
at a very early time (Even before the resumption of the semester). Thereby enabling them
ask much more informed questions when the lectures on those courses begin
Students wouldn’t frequently be faced with the problem of idleness, time and resource
wasting after coming for lectures and the lecturer ends up not showing up as the system
provides a platform where the lecturer duly notifies the class of his/her presence or absence,
and if the lecturer would not be present, he could also give the students their lecture online
or an activity to keep them from wasting the time slated for the lecture.
The issue of unemployment would be tackled by the system as it has a platform for referring
students for jobs in organizations that need the service of people who have excelled in the
courses they hosted on the platform.
Through the online lecture proposed by this system, students would not necessarily miss
lectures if for one reason or the other, they could not make it to school
Funds of conducting examinations will be reduced to a considerable minimum as costs for
producing and printing question papers and answer booklets will no longer be paid for.
Work load involved in sorting and marking the examination scripts by the instructor will
be eliminated as the process will be automated by the system.
With all these, it is quite clear that this system, if adopted, Intends to revolutionize the
learning process from the usual traditional approach to a much more effective one.
1.5 SCOPE OF STUDY
The concept of e-Learning is one of both broad implications and applications. This is so because
there are different methods through which e-Learning is achieved. These are some of the methods
applied for e-Learning:
1. Web-Based Training
2. Computer-Based Training
3. Interactive, Online Training Support
Each of these methods have their areas of strength as well as their weaknesses too, but our focus
would be on the first and third methods listed above.
In Web-Based Training, Learning take place via the Internet, users get the convenience of
participating from wherever they might be located users also get the bonus of having
reduced training expenses. Nevertheless, users who lack internet connection are unable to
access the services provided by this method
Computer-Based Training (CBT) provides many of the same benefits as online training
solutions, this method is delivered via CD-ROM, intranet or local area network. Computerbased
e-Learning solutions require no connection to the Internet. Users can experience
more graphic- or audio-rich learning without the distraction of audio and video streaming
Interactive, Online Training Support is a supplemental service to e-Learning courses that
provides an Interactive Support System (ISS) with each training. Users will have easy
access to answers, simulations of tasks and more – all in a safe and private environment.
We however deemed it fit to limit the scope of our study, and invariably, our implementation to
the Web-Based e-Learning Method (which implores the countless possibilities of the internet) with
major consideration on webapps and mobile apps.
Our system is designed to interlace between tutors (primarily, those who offer genuine courses for
study which could either be free or paid-for) and Students (any individual willing to enroll for a
course available for free or for sale).
Individuals can only access the services of the intended application if they have created an account
with the application. Accounts are created from either the mobile app (web-based hybrid
implementation) or the web app (a website). Through this platform, the accounts can be funded by
purchasing “SLATE CREDITS” with real money through a payment gateway such as “PAYPAL”
by creating an API that links out webapp to this gateway. In turn, the purchased slate credits can
be used to pay for resources that require payment such as books and courses.
The cash flow process for purchasing a resource is noted below;
1. Tutors create the definitions of the resource
2. Interested individual discovers their target resource and request its description
3. Customers Instantiate purchase
4. System displays billing info
5. Customers authenticates billing request
6. System checks customer’s account.
7. If cash balance is greater than or equal to the desired product or service, the system bills
the buyers account with the required cash otherwise, it informs the buyer of their inability
to purchase the item due to balance insufficiency.
8. Once the transaction is successful, the system then credits the tutor’s account and updates
their inventory if necessary.
1.6 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
We have made tireless effort and have worked relentlessly to ensure that this system is both
realistic, practicable and easily adoptable by a wide range of users. However, we have only chosen
to adopt the Web-Based Training and Interactive, Online Training Support methods of e-
Learning due to the very limiting time frame, and seeing that there are three primary methods for
e-Learning as noted in the scope of study, it is therefore obvious that individuals who would have
preferred the other method for whatever reasons would be cut out of this system.
We have put this limitation into consideration but are placing our bets especially after watching
recent trends in smart phone adoption rates, and believe that in the next 2 to 4 years mobile devices
without access to the internet will become obsolete and virtually everyone will have access to the
internet thereby exposing even more persons to our e-Learning System in order to solve the
learning challenges currently being faced with the conventional learning method existing in the
society especially as our solution involves convenience.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
API: Application Programming Interface
SaaS: An acronym for Software as a Service. It is a software distribution model in which
applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers
over a network, typically the Internet.
Satellite: A well-structured piece compactly engineered mechanical and computational
masterpiece orbiting in space and designed to acquire information and transmit to a base
WebApp: Website Application