Technologies evolve through refinements in new versions and upgrades to products. Usually the enhancements are minor, but eventually older systems or hardware are no longer compatible or supported and soon become unusable. Leading edge software often contains bugs or is not robust when used outside the laboratory. Later releases become increasingly stable and appropriate for novice users. From the first telephone call to the mobile phone, telephony has evolved in imperceptible steps punctuated by a few grand leaps. So it is with the technologies for distributed learning.

One of the acknowledged truisms of educational technology is that technology evolves much more rapidly than the willingness of teachers, learners, and educational institutions to exploit those technologies for learning. In short, there is usually a long lag time ...

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