E-Learning Based on Cloud Computing

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E-Learning Based on Cloud Computing

Shahriar Mohammadi1, Yousef Emdadi2*

1Information Technology Engineering Group, Department of Industrial Engineering, K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran,


2Master of Science Student, Department of Information Technology, K.N. Toosi University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

*Corresponding Author Email: Yousef.Emdadi@gmail.com Abstract

According to some limitations that are being about E-learning application in educational institutions, such as costly and inflexible solutions and some similar problems so, we should search the way to reduce costs and leveraging the flexibility of common electronic learning system. Therefore, in this research, at first we have tried to consider Electronic Learning and the solutions are provided for the discussed problems. In follow cloud computing is introduced as a general solution for these problems. Therefore this research focuses on the ways of applying cloud computing to transfer current e-Learning to a cloud based e-Learning. In the final step of the research we consider a hypothetical case study and try to get an overview of the cloud-based E-learning in Hypothetical case. Finally this research presents a formula for showing cost-effectiveness of cloud based e-Learning. To evaluate the correctness of the formula, a questionnaires based statistics is performed and performing a survey among 50 IT professionals (with different academic degrees).

Keywords: E-learning, cloud computing, E-learning based on cloud computing. Introduction

Nowadays educational institutions are seeking to provide free or low-cost alternatives to expensive and exclusive tools for students and teachers. And according that today's browser-based applications are available through computers and even mobile platforms, and the same converts them to tools available in all locations have access to the Internet. So technology provides this platform can be one of the best options for use in such institutions. It will be changed as useful technology in field of information technology (IT) and it will be so prominent in every part of our daily life. By increasing usage of internet and computer networks in our century, cloud computing was introduced itself as one of the elegant technology, By pay attention to this point that if some institutes want to use the e-learning and its useful advantages, they should spend more cost to run, keep and related parts of it, however, cloud computing will be one selected and economical solutions for these institutes. Figure 1 represents the planned amount to move different parts of the community towards taking advantage of the benefits of cloud computing that it is a proof of claim appropriateness of this technology to the needs of different sectors from education to healthcare and financial and governments sectors.


This paper is set to examine this issue in the following form part 2 of this is a general overview of electronic educational in section 3, introduces the basic concepts of cloud computing , including infrastructure and main layers then, section 4 is expressed for the educational institutions to benefit from this technology section 5 is discussed the comparison between two styles e-learning based on cloud computing and current types in section 6 reviews some earlier work done in this field and we provide one of the samples the main part of the work ahead to section 7 has been allocated to reviews the strategy and direction of cloud computing to achieve e-learning platform and to prove the cost-effectiveness and application of cloud computing in the education sector and in the final part ,results has been expressed.


BY considering the impact of e-learning on the lives of every individual, it is not far from our mind that it is possible for people to learn these methods during their lifelong, as well as people looking for ways and facilitate them effectively more. The current discussion is one of the newest and most effective methods of Electronic Learning that Used updated technologies such as, IT and ICT and they are referred in recent years in developing countries, like Iran, we should say that electronic learning at different levels of education, especially in universities and colleges has been considered. We can mention to growth of acceptance virtual Students in universities. Among the reasons that are depended to the movement toward electronic Learning, reduction of Learning costs and decentralize issues of location and time and some limitations in educational process are so prominent as well as learners move toward enjoying this new style of Learning they do not need to be present on-site physically and they look for to save time and money and learning more easily in desirable places ,also they want to access to more educational resources fast and easily they search their autonomy to choose the time and place of learning outlined.

Therefore, by considering the advantages and benefits of e-learning we can say that method is quite extensive, and the main advantage of education is using electronic devices as media electronic (Jin, 2009). Electronic education has been using new technologies such as social networking and educational forum; they should introduce themselves as the chosen style. According to all that was expressed: e-Learning can be defined a form of education using technology and electronic devices and in the broader internet and web technology. Many of the current systems and web services distribute educational materials, but all of them suffer from problems. They must continue to be developed in the all areas of education and learning to be up dated. The updates are problematic, and require increasing memory and storage space. In addition to attracting and recruiting effective not only for training, it is an important issue in the field of system development. In this review, we will approach in order to alleviate this problem and use of more modern technologies is introduced.

Comparison of e-learning with traditional learning

E-learning in the Internet or other digital content be used for teaching and learning In this case, the benefits of modern educational technology and rich source are utilized and A new way to teach is open (Singh & Somani, 2012). At present, the most common forms of training are not adequate to meet the needs of education, some forms is not suitable to change some opportunity for learners. So the computer networks provide opportunities for appropriate changes in the mentioned. Systems .such as e-learning and traditional differences can be pointed to the lack of need for physical presence in e-learning. These advantages lead to student to access information resources at any time and they will be in some places. And according to one of the most important features of e-learning, sharing of resources, the possibility of share cooperation is considered. Internet-based e-learning is a process that uses Internet technologies. In fact, Internet-based e-learning is a learning process that is used Internet technology to design, implement, select and manage and develop learning.

This learning is not suitable case to be instead way of common education, but it can optimize education efficiently and it will greatly improve the efficiency of training. Since e-learning involves a lot of advantages such as flexibility and freedom, measurement, diversity. Therefore, this process will become the main method of learning in recent century. Virtual learning methods are seeking greater influence over the course attendance in the training group. E-learning in compare with traditional teaching method has more up to date content, which will result in the issue of pushing students to take advantage of this learning in everyday life and thus develop their abilities and emerge their hidden potentials. And e-learning gives options to students for educational resources and increase learning opportunities with their rich resources. The following table represents a comparison between traditional teaching and e-learning.

Table 1. Compare the traditional learning and e-learning.

E-learning Traditional learning Features compared Student-Centered Teacher-centered Focus on learning

Create a spirit of cooperation and teamwork in learners Create a spirit of competition and

jealousy in learners Motivational Features

Period of time, which is determined by the receiver and Every place that the receiver is able to access the Learning

content (no limits) A timeframe for all and A special place

for all (limited) Time and Place limit

Reconstruction of replies when confronted with the problem

Predefined responses. How to respond

Change According to the users. In the initial shape and remain



Virtual space to save educational resources without the need for physical

space to locate the student. Physical space for students and physical

space of educational resources. Educational prerequisites

Dynamic content and usually update Fixed content and usually old

Up to date educational resources

Multiple learning content (audio, video, multimedia) and interactive Educational content was

one-dimensional and focus was on book. Forms of educational content

The concept of cloud computing

The emergence of the fundamental concepts of cloud computing dates back to 1960, When Professor John McCarthy stated that computing may be organized as public industry (Garfinkel, 2011). But in fact cloud computing is a relatively new concept style Computation cloud that was born in 2007effiecintlly. In fact it is general concept that called change according to needs. When the needs of users are changed, producers should supply hardware software, and related services based on their needs. Nowadays, by rapid growth in internet area, users’ needs are accomplished by internet and it will be formed one base for cloud computing. Here, to present the strict and correct concept of cloud computing, we use the presented concept from NIST. Although many other concepts were offered, but, this conceptual concept include all of the main specifications about cloud computing cloud computing is available model based on demand and shared network involved computing sources that are available. Computing resources include server configuration, network and storage devices and applications, and other services are resources that are used to provide fast. They are released with minimal effort and cost (Mell & Grance, 2011).

Cloud computing service models

The various client services cloud computing has several divisions. Figure 2 has three main models of service delivery in the cloud along with. This will show prototype systems in each category. Totally, to separate services, XaaS model or anything can be used as a service. we can say that three model for presented services are most known (Rimal et al., 2009).

Figure 2. The main service delivery models in cloud computing The reasons for the move towards e-learning based on cloud computing

With the advent of technologies such as cloud computing and the benefit of it, When implementing e-learning is happened, other software and hardware dedicated more temporary and do not need to unforeseen needs .In fact, the e-learning causes Cloud and it has great potential to make a significant change in educational environments. Due to storm the scalability, flexibility and cost reduction, it keeps providing cloud eLearning. Cloud e-learning shows how to implement a faster, easier and less costly and more substantive solutions are developed and installed as well as the development of simpler, easier and less expensive to provide Ideal case based to an e-learning platform using Infrastructure work as a service (laaS) completion and development, platform as a Service (PaaS) utilizes hardware and software environments and virtual elastic demand and provide Based on demand and delivered as software as a service-level functionality works Implementation of E-learning systems and according to basic needs such Including high storage, capacity, and processing power reporting systems and heavy costs in terms of hardware firms training will be. The same factors that lead away from this technology are the institution enjoys them.

But according to those in the previous section about the relatively new technology, the emergence of cloud computing will provide e-learning and solutions can be implemented in the context of cloud computing. Some firms reduces the cost of implementation and maintenance of these systems, thereby increase the institution's desire to move towards e-learning based on the expected. Then the next section to examine and compare conventional and e-learning, e-learning system based on cloud computing will be considered.


Common e-learning vs. e-learning based on cloud computing

Capabilities based environment include: Supports the creation of a new generation of e-learning systems and run on a wide range of devices hardware devices and maintenance data into the cloud. Hardware devices and maintenance data into the cloud computing. Existing e-learning systems are not scalable dynamically and separation of it is very hard. In addition, integration with other e-learning systems is too costly. In this research, we have tried to cloud computing as a way to increase scalability flexibility and availability of e-learning systems are presented and the possibility of removing the e-learning systems, schools and organizations to enter the cloud computing infrastructure are considered.

And separation of units and low costs should be evaluated .The above approach, educational institution are responsible for the management and delivery of the training process and content. While the cloud computing service provides issues, construction, maintenance, development and management system, covering using a learning management system is scalable and high costs. To avoid spending on cloud computing systems conform to and benefits of cloud computing technology based on web services will be utilized. Comparing conventional e-learning and new competitors, it can be named based on the type of that the majority of these cases based on the cost-effectiveness of e-learning have been proved and educational institutions using cloud -based e-learning should be encouraged. Table 2 mentions number of these cases that will be discussed.

Table 2. Common e-learning vs. e-learning based on cloud computing.

E-learning based on Cloud Computing Common E-learning


Low cost of maintenance High cost of maintenance

Hardware costs

Dynamic capacity Fixed capacity

Storage capacity

Using a computer technician Use of E-learning professionals

Requires specialized knowledge within the enterprise

Shorter than the common method Very long

Implementation period

In terms of demand Initial and fixed

Processing power

External maintenance = reduced security and trust Internal maintenance =more Security

and trust Security, Trust and Related Issues

pay-per-use Initial investment, fixed and up

Overall costs

Related works and typical of e-learning architecture based on cloud computing

Cloud-based e-learning is a new approach to implement e-learning. Instead of speaking about using expensive and complex hardware and software that are implemented, e-learning cloud can be used with less expensive cost. This possible will be considered that we can use them in each place that connected to web and browser. This model is called SaaS. No need to install software or purchase hardware when the user needs more resources to the resource system, automatically they transfer to user. By choosing cloud computing, users can develop their services in a flexible manner in cloud, these solutions all have come together in a single integrated unit, and It has brought a cost-effective platform to respond the educational needs of modern society. Little previous work in this area has been done. Each had specific point to evaluate e-learning. Related issues have been integrated with cloud computing for example, Méndez and González (2011) we pay attention to the construction and maintenance of the common education system in, educational institutions.

This leads to the occurrence of issues such as requiring considerable investment without any capital gains and finally shown that it also destroys the development potential .In contrast to equal model -based learning approach that is more efficient: transfer process of e-learning system enables suppliers to introduce cloud computing. In this case, providers and users of strategy implementation both are winners. Current e-learning architecture is focused on the model (Chandran & Kempegowda, 2010). Current issues in the application of the process shows the article is a mixture of compounds in the training model. Traditional classroom training is provided on-line. Its customization for e-learning applications in a cloud computing infrastructure has been. By Masud et al (2011) summary of the effects and consequences of the development of e-learning services are offered. In cloud computing environments, such as web access, without any need for the client to access to this web; .client pays money to the software based on usage SaaS and server supports multiple educational some in situation and several others enjoy some benefits. And in the same box (Ouf et al., 2011) is mentioned to a number of potential benefits of cloud computing in educational services (Liang & Yang, 2011) speaks about of the new model that enhance personal productivity in a virtual learning environment. The objective of the resource allocation system also creates a virtual classroom learning and personal choice. The following is an example of an e-learning architecture based on cloud computing is presented in figure 3 which is derived from Fernandez et al (2012).


Figure 3. An overview of e-learning cloud architecture (Fernandez et al., 2012).

Strategy and the path to achieve e-learning based on cloud computing

Cloud- based E-learning was introduced in the previous section. And the necessity of such a system is introduced. In this section a strategic direction to achieve such a system is provided. And steps to achieve a hypothetical example of this strategy were prepared. Below is an overview of the process of achieving this goal and it is presented in more detail in the relevant section.

Figure 4. Path to achieve E-learning Based on cloud computing Analysis of educational processes

In order to analyze the educational processes and identify the resources and the steps, they have the ability to move to cloud. Therefore: the organization's educational goals should be analyses by cost-benefit analysis and other important aspects of the learning process.

Selection of the optimal solution

In this step, the list of the different solutions are provided to the evaluation and selection of the optimum solution based on the desired options. They are redirected to the educational institution in the end, we aim to select the best option they are available to use and achieve.

Design and implementation stages of the cloud-based e-learning solution

In this section offered the design of the cloud-based e-learning for a samples educational institution. Below you can see the sketch of the data stream to provide the consideration and entity relationship diagrams and sequence diagrams are used. In order to

path to achieve cloud-based E-learning Analysis of educational processes Selection of the optimal solution Design And Implementation Of Cloud-based E-learning Solution Evaluation and Validation of process


provide the above-mentioned scheme: Data flow diagrams, entity relationship diagram sequence diagram and use case diagram is used. We will explain each of the following in detail.

Data flow diagram

Data flow diagram for software engineers makes it is possible to complete the information model simultaneously In the work scope more and more detailed levels of DFD was broken . Business Analyst will perform implied systems analysis functions.






Cloud Service



Institute performance report and billing

Allocate Software and hardware resources

to the Institute. Student Assessment

Authentication and authorization access to the educational system Create profile

View Courses

Teachers and students performance report Authentication and authorization access

to the educational system

Taking courses Authentication and authorization access to educational resources Resource update Course Offer

Request software and hard ware resources requirements

Set and change the access levels of managers of enterprises Granted the level of access to users.

Registration Process Management

Figure 5. Example of data flow diagram of a hypothetical institution.

Entity relationship diagram

Entity relationship is used to represent the data structure of the system ER model, entities and relationships are composed of two parts , which are characteristic And all entities that are same and they have common characteristics.


Is a

Cloud Service Provider


Director Learner Teacher

Learning Process

Coordinator Resource allocation



Management The synchronization process

E-Learning Cloud

Figure 6. Example of entity relationship diagram of a hypothetical institution.

Use case diagram

Use case Diagrams actually explain how to use the system. And for use case, analyst must first starring role in the types of systems that will be used to identify .It should be noted that actors are defined using of case from the perspective of the system role play. Below is presented an example of a use case for a hypothetical example.


Cloud Service Provider and Administrator Teacher Institute Director Coordinator Learner Log in to Cloud Add education resources Request Cloud resources supply

Set user access levels Updates educational content Log in to Cloud Cloud Management Supplying the needs of enterprises Authentication and authorization Institute director Software update Create Profile Taking courses Log in to Cloud Add education resources Assessing learners Create Profile Help Lerners Viewing and Evaluating User Performance Create a new course Coordinating roles

Figure 7. Example of use case diagram of a hypothetical institution. Sequence diagram

Another sequence diagram charts are available. The trend shows a use case step by step or in other words, a sequence diagram that is showing the flow of time in a use case is so important. An example of this diagram is presented in the following.

LDAP Tools E-Learning

Cloud Learner Coordinator

1.Enter To Cloud 2. Verify the authenticity of the input data

3. confirm or not confirm the user


5.Requests taking course

6. check the user access level

7. send obtained information

8. Request needed resources from the cloud

9. provide course content and obtain approval


Evaluation and validation of process

After the completion of step 3, go to step 4, which consists of two subdivision cost-benefit analysis and validation of the formula is provided. As mentioned in the previous section, by using cloud-based E-learning implementation costs to train against the current E-learning increasingly reduces the amount of the maintenance department and other relevant departments to use cloud computing infrastructure. And increasing productivity will be possible .In this section we try to make the total profit of indicators. We implemented two types of cloud solutions and compared the current learning. And the amounts of benefits from implementing E-learning cloud are presented against a common type of E-E-learning. And then the validation steps through the survey by questionnaire of 50 experts from the field of information technology (with different academic degrees were performed and the results is presented in the chart.

Introducing a new formula for evaluating cost effectiveness of cloud based e-learning

In this subsection, first we try to offer the assumptions needed in order to evaluate current e-learning against e-learning based on cloud computing and presented formulas to prove the cost-effectiveness of e-learning based on cloud computing then in the next subsection the validation process of this claim through the survey was conducted.

Table 3. Assumptions of current e-learning an e-learning based on cloud computing.

E-learning based on cloud computing Common E-learning

C1C : The initial cost of implementation

C1E : The initial cost of implementation

C2C : Maintenance cost C2E : Maintenance cost C3C : update costs C3E : update costs C4C: Re-engineering costs. C4E : Re-engineering costs

VC :Value of E-learning solutions obtained

VE : Value of E-learning solutions obtained

TCC : Total Cost

TCE : Total Cost

LC : Approach life cycle

LE : Approach life cycle

IC : Total Profit

IE : Total Profit

Based on the assumptions the formula for calculating total profits for both approaches is presented in the following. Continuing the comparison has been made between both of them.

TCC = ∑ CnC

 The formula for calculating the total costs and profit of E-learning

based on cloud computing: IC = (VC – TCC)*LC

TCE = ∑ CnE

 The formula for calculating the total costs and profit of common

E-learning: IE = (VE - TCE)*LE

Since the implementation of E-learning in the cloud needs to purchase hardware, software, employment specialists are dropped .Today it is much reduced in compared with the conventional method. C1C < C1E. Because of the costs of current cloud approach is

much lower. In this section, the formula C2C <C2E is correct And this method can be proved the cost of a cloud approach in all

aspects of the current approach, it is much lower than the suitable cost for users (because the Service users paid amount of rent to their account) We can conclude that as regards existence of a cloud-based solution the total cost of the solution is much more than common type.

(1) C1C < C1E ˄ C2C < C2E ˄ C3C < C3E ˄ C4C < C4E

(2) ∑ CnC < ∑ CnE

(3) TCC < TCE

Also, with regard to the life of cloud-based approach is much more common than Type (Due to the premature aging of hardware and software purchased against hardware and software offered as a service on the cloud platform) It can be concluded that the life cycle of cloud-based approach is totally much more than common type .

(4) LC > LE

Finally, the following result is obtained from the above formulas. The total represents Optimum of cloud based E_Learning than its common E_Learning the context of cost-benefit.


Validation of results

In the following section, in order to prove the cost-effectiveness of e-learning based on cloud computing (in terms of all costs, life cycle, etc. mentioned in the previous section) the survey using a questionnaire was designed for this purpose have been completed. figure 9 represents the results of the questionnaire analysis of comparison two available approaches.

Figure 9.Comparison the characteristics of common e-learning with cloud-based e-learning.

Questionnaire was prepared in two groups of questions and answers, The first group of questions related to the characteristics of the common E-learning style and the second group of questions related to the characteristics of E-learning based on cloud computing. Also experts participant in the research process were in four academic levels from Bachelor to postdoctoral that nearly 51 percent of these professionals has Master’s degree in information technology engineering. In the end after collecting the results of the questionnaire, the received response averages for each of the questions in each section was calculated and the obtained result are presented in the above chart. Asshownin the above chart,the results ofthe questionnaireanalysisreflectsthe veracity of claims oflowoverallcostsandhighlongevityand capabilityis acloud computing-basedstyle; Of course other results can also be picked up is that of including the low level of trust in the use of cloud-based technologies that same subject can indicate directions for future research that will be discussed further in the conclusion.


In this research at first the concept of a cloud computing based among with its benefits is introduced. Then, a new formula is suggested that showing the cost effectiveness of the cloud based e-learning. A group of 50 IT specialists is used to validate the formula via questionnaire. The results showed that while the trust on the common e-learning is more than cloud based e-learning the overall costs (i.e. implementation, maintenance, update and re-engineering) are less than half of the common e-learning and it shown in figure 9. It is hoped that the approach could be a turning point in the present work, and motivates educational institutions to take advantage of e-learning based on cloud computing. At the end this research suggests the following future works: 1-reasearch of various aspects of security and trust in cloud based e-learning and 2-to discuss all the risks involved on the trust of the users to such a system.


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