Boundless opportunities? - Visions and Setbacks to digital learning in rural areas
Internet use and its impact on rural development have become of political interest in the last two decades. However, the diffusion of modern information and communication technologies (ICT) has faced some setbacks and difficulties. Also, the consequences of modern ICT are more complex and not always positive for rural areas. It is in such a context that this paper explores, on the basis of research undertaken in the context of a comparative research project in seven European Countries, barriers for the diffusion and application of modern ICT technologies in the field of continuous education and training. It is argued that the conventional view that the moderate use of e-learning reflects deficits and lacking competences has to be qualified. Although access is the major issue, it also has to be said that there are no general benefits of e-learning. E.-learning may help in some situations, while it is less attractive in many others. Thus, it is important to differentiate rural actors and identify target groups with particular needs that can be met by ICT usage.