Human resources training and the use information and communications technology (ICT) as a workforce training tool were responsible for industrial developments in Korea.
Prof Insung Jung, a leading international expert on e-learning and open distance learning, declared that Korea, with a population of over 48 million, has now 40 million Internet users, a 97.9% literacy rate, a GDP per capita of US$28,000 and an unemployment rate of 3.2%.
Speaking at the public talk on ‘Educating the Workforce Through E-Learning – The Korean Experience’ organised by WOU at the main campus, she said, “Underneath our recent developments are the policy to promote lifelong learning, continuous workforce training and innovative use of ICT in education and training. “
She added, “We spend a lot on technology and on efforts to develop our human resources, using ICT in our education and training.
Insung said e-learning as a corporate training tool not only improves overall work performance and helps develop ICT skills in workers as people become used to it, but saves the corporations lots of money in training costs. Since it allows for more diverse courses to be offered and promotes the participation of workers in on-the-job training, e-training is greatly used by corporations, in teachers’ training and in the training of civil servants in Korea.
She said e-training also promotes an awareness of ethical issues as learners realise the value of undertaking their own assignments if they are to benefit from the learning process. “Korea experimented with fingerprinting, eye analysis, and all sorts of things to detect cheating, but we found that ultimately technology cannot stop these unethical behaviours; it must come from the learner himself.”
She however conceded that with the focus on technology, there arose new ethical issues to be tackled, namely cyber addiction and cyber crimes.
Insung is a professor of education technology and communications at the International Christian University in Tokyo and currently a visiting professor at WOU.
About 100 people, including those from the corporate sector and educational institutions, attended the talk moderated by School of Science and Technology dean Prof Dato’ Ho Sinn Chye. Also present were Vice Chancellor Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Wong Tat Meng, deans and lecturers.