We live in perhaps the fastest growing and evolving age in human history, with technology at the helm of things. This has seen an increase in the sheer amount of change in and around us, from the workplace to home to our schools and colleges. The changes at the workplace and home are not as influential to the children and youth of today as changes in classrooms are.
The dramatic shift from the industrial era learning environments has been increasing in a gradually. Gone are the days of chalkboards, notebooks and pencils, digitization has enabled us to save resources such as paper and instead use things like electronic devices in classrooms. This new mode of learning is widely termed as e-learning, but it is a lot more than just that, and there are different terms and methods. Let us look at some of the terms to clear up some doubts you might have about e-learning.
- E-learning: In traditional methods of learning, it has to be symmetric, i.e. everyone needs to be present in order to learn the subject simultaneously. Today that is not the case anymore; e-learning has enabled us to learn with others and on our own time.
- Online learning: This is a term used colloquially in certain places and is interchangeable with E-learning. This facet also involves cloud-based learning solutions, where the data is stored online, in a virtual environment. You can access it from this database at any given time, through various web-based devices.
- Massive open online course (MOOC): These are designed with the purpose of attracting the masses for a huge course. There are usually around tens of thousands of learners, who can listen in on the lectures. They can also do this in their time, but these courses have a fixed start and end date.
- Instructor-led training (ILT): When a person takes a class in a physical classroom and requires his learners to be present synchronously, it can be termed as ILT.
- Virtual ILT: This term is similar to cloud-based learning and can be used interchangeably, as virtual Instructor-led training, is synonymous with learning subjects online. You have the option to learn the subject along with other learners, but the purpose of making it an online based system is because of the difference in timings amongst learners.
- Web-based training: Any sort of training program or class which can be accessed via a computer through the internet, is termed as web-based training.
What are the benefits of E -Learning?
- Caters to everyone’s needs: Online Learning caters to the needs of all sections of the student community. With so many streams of knowledge opening up after the digital revolution, the world of knowledge has truly opened up in the most unexpected ways to accommodate every student and address their needs. From professionals working in the industry to kids who are curious about the subject, thesheer scale of access that is opened up to everyone is simply mind-blowing.
- Classes are not restricted to Isolated Sessions: The repeat feature is probably the most lucrative aspect of E-Learning. Students get to access the learning material multiple times over a practically indefinite period of time. Revisions before exams and concepts that need to be explored again during crucial projects become easier to access because they are always available on online platforms. Unlike traditional classrooms, e-learning enables the students to revisit concepts on multiple occasions to gain a holistic understanding of the entire subject.
- Customisable Learning Periods: Students are no more restricted by the amount of time they are forced to spend on a particular lesson. The pace at which students learn is fundamentally different. This system empowers students to take lessons and learn at their own pace. While traditional classrooms do not entertain students who learn at any pace above or below the average learning speed of the program, e-learning makes it easier for all students to define their own pace and stick to their own learning methods.
- E-Learning saves loads of time and resources: Teachers and students do not have to travel to a classroom to study or teach. This makes it far more convenient for both parties. Teachers can generate a passive income by giving a lecture on the topic only once. From here, the teacher shifts his/her role to that of a guide. They simply have to interact with students and clarify their doubts instead of constantly pumping the same information into their heads. Classrooms require electricity and extensive space to function effectively. These costs are completely eliminated through e-learning.
- Teaching Effectiveness is improved: When it comes to teaching in large organisations and inculcating essential skills in employees, e-learning as a method of teaching is unparalleled. Studies have shown that results are almost instantaneous after course completion. Employees also tend to go back to the videos and relearn concepts for certain projects if they are not completely sure about it at any point in time. Even amongst students in school or college, dedicated learners are able to adapt to the new self-learning model and achieve extraordinary results both academically and non-academically. Creativity is highly encouraged and supported in this environment.
- Drastically Reduced Environmental Impact: With no need for vehicular travel or paper, both emissions and wastage of paper are drastically reduced. Students can learn in a much more environment-friendly way.
Are there any cons of e-learning?
Like most new methods of teaching, e-learning is not without its disadvantages. Although the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages in an ideal scenario, it is essential to mention a few of the cons as well.
- It is hard to track student progress and keep them motivated: While e-learning does enable some degree of monitoring, it is impossible to force anyone to learn online if they are not adequately motivated. There is a possibility that students will refrain from continuing the course without external pressure.
- Teachers might not always be available: Without adequate face-to-face interaction, students might find it difficult to keep up with the courseware if they have any doubts that need to be immediately addressed. Teachers might also not always be online at a particular time to address doubts and clarify these questions.
Most of these disadvantages are considerably easy to eliminate with proper implementation of e-learning. With so many terms it might get confusing for you, but luckily almost all of these terms are synonymous with each other. There are companies that are actively looking to implement these solutions in every sphere of education. They work with the latest in cloud technology to help reach users faster and provide them with the content they need to learn. Q3 Tech is one such company that is looking to improve things in every aspect of E-learning and cloud-based learning. It is only a matter of time before we see an instrumental change in the ways we learn.