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The World Wide Web is being seen more and more as an effective and above all inexpensive means of delivering courses in the tertiary education sector It is important however that financial imperatives to not take precedence over educational goals In the search for an effective approach to Web learning an re-examination of learning theory is required This paper examines the three broad philosophies of Behaviourism Cognitive Theory and Constructivism and reviews their potential for delivering tertiary education via the Web Problems with the Web are identified such as the abstract textual nature of current Web technology and the poor interactivity resulting from limited bandwidth One theory Social Constructivism views learning as a process of enculturation brought about through social interaction This paper proposes a pragmatic approach to the implementation of Social Constructivist approaches As the Web develops and environments rich in media and possessing a high level of interactivity become possible the need for Social Constructivist strategies may be reduced In the mean time the potential of the Web as a communications medium rather than a mere content provider must not be ignoredThe growth of the Internet and the Word Wide Web in particular are attracting the attention of tertiary educational institutions worldwide This is manifest in the increasing number of distance education courses being offered in this medium University of Texas 1997 Pagram McMahon 1997 It is significantly less expensive to produce materials electronically than in printed form and the material may easily be kept up to date Eklund Garrett Ryan Harvey 1996 These reasons combined with the cost savings of a virtual campus in real estate and contact time for the university are leading to the Web being seen as an effective alternative to traditional face to face modes of education It has been argued that students do not like to learn at a distance Simonsen 1995 but the convenience and flexibility of an external mode of delivery for those
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