How Can We Benefit from eLearning Today and Tomorrow?

Multimedia-based Electronic learning has become a tool used to provide access to education for multiple segments of the population, which otherwise would have little to no access to it. While eLearning is integrated it into curricula early in the digital revolution, in many countries, it is just beginning to address the opportunities and challenges web-based learning may bring.

(The article is from Lucubrate Magazine)

eLearning  of Today and Tomorrow

eLearning is learning to utilize electronic technologies to access the educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom.  In most cases, it refers to a course, program or degree delivered completely online.

eLearning is an Internet-based teaching system, a teaching system consisting of video, audio, and written material designed for a person to use in studying a subject at home[1].

Photo: Burst

One of the broader definitions of eLearning is “learning that is supported by information and communication technologies (ICT). eLearning is not limited to ‘digital literacy’ (the acquisition of IT competence) but may encompass multiple formats and hybrid methodologies, in particular, the use of software, Internet, CD-ROM, online learning or any other electronic or interactive media.” [2] “eLearning” has many names like e-Learning, e-learning, online learning, virtual learning, online instruction, or educational technology. The word eLearning means electronic learning. This means using an electronic device like a computer, smartphone, or tablet to deliver a part or all of a course, whether it is in a classroom or as a full distance course. [3]

eLearning is an area of permanent evolution. To identify the emerging challenges, we can look at the new pedagogy and cognitive approaches, ICT technologies to enhance teaching and learning, management support, gamification, massive open online courses and, quality frameworks and standards for eLearning systems. Many different challenges exist in other fields whose application to eLearning maybe of paramount interest in the near future, such as, for example, the Internet of Things (IoT), the Artificial Intelligence and the neuroeducation. [4]

eLearning is as effective and has numerous benefits

The development of multimedia and ICT technologies have created opportunities for traditional or classroom-based learning notions to be developed into eLearning notions. The paradigm of eLearning is as effective and has numerous benefits as compared to classroom-based learning. Educational institutions could use online eLearning methodologies for the education of their staff without having to spend for their travel elsewhere. The universities could reach out to a wider audience globally and implement these technologies, therefore offering a remarkable development chance.

Technology is the foundation, backbone, and catalyst of eLearning all in one. Technology provides endless opportunities for learning through apps, smartphones, videos, search engines, and other real-time information sources.

Some of the best uses of technology for eLearning are found in the new code, with things such as the following:

  • HTML5
  • Responsive design
  • Videos
  • Social integration
  • Personalization
  • Just-in-time support

Learning is a process

The main part of eLearning is not the technology, but the learning. The technology is not the target.  The technology is a tool we can use for learning. Learning is a process with different elements. Berkeley Center for Teaching & Learning suggests that learning is a process that[6]:

  1. is active – a process of engaging and manipulating objects, experiences, and conversations in order to build mental models of the world. Learners build knowledge as they explore the world around them, observe and interact with phenomena, converse and engage with others, and make connections between new ideas and prior understandings.
  2. builds on prior knowledge – and involves enriching, building on, and changing existing understanding, where “one’s knowledge base is a scaffold that supports the construction of all future learning”.
  3. occurs in a complex social environment – and thus should not be limited to being examined or perceived as something that happens on an individual level. Instead, it is necessary to think of learning as a social activity involving people, the things they use, the words they speak, the cultural context they’re in, and the actions they take, and that knowledge are built by members in the activity.
  4. is situated in an authentic context – provides learners with the opportunity to engage with specific ideas and concepts on a need-to-know or want-to-know basis.
  5. requires learners’ motivation and cognitive engagement to be sustained when learning complex ideas, because considerable mental effort and persistence are necessary.

The conditions for inputs to learning are clear, but the process is incomplete without making sense of what outputs constitute learning has taken place. At the core, learning is a process that results in a change in knowledge or behaviour as a result of experience.

The idea with eLearning is that technology helps us in the learning process.

Photo:  Tirachard Kumtanom

Can we Benefit from eLearning?

Inside the e-learning model, the learners move at their own pace, and if needed, can watch a module more than once. To keep the learner engaged throughout the course, content developers include quizzes, matching games, multiple-choice questions, interactive content and video. Combined, these generate an effective learning experience.

Because this method of learning can reach anyone with access to a computer, be delivered in multiple languages, and reach a broad audience efficiently, the cost-benefit outweighs that of instructor-led training. The consistency of the message with e-learning also ensures each learner is receiving the same information, every time – undoubtedly creating a more effective way to share the vision of your company.

Blending Learning is best described using the Flipped Classroom concept. In school years past, teachers lectured as we sat at our desks, and homework was assigned at the end of each day. I recall sitting at the kitchen table hurrying to complete the assignments so I could go do the things I really wanted to. Today, with the use of connected devices, educators leverage technology to push the content to be completed at home via web-based platforms, leaving the classroom time for completing and reviewing the homework. This allows students to learn outside of the classroom and the subject matter expert (teacher) available to assist them during the hands-on practice of those new skills in the classroom. This immediate feedback and coaching strengthen the participants’ confidence and ability to perform.

Photo: Pixabay

The eLearning Industry is listing advantages of eLearning [7]:

  1. You are able to link the various resources in several varying formats.
  2. It is a very efficient way of delivering courses online.
  3. Due to its convenience and flexibility, the resources are available from anywhere and at any time.
  4. Everyone, who are part-time students or are working full time, can take advantage of web-based learning.
  5. Web-based learning promotes active and independent learning.
  6. As you have access to the net 24×7, you can train yourself anytime and from anywhere also.
  7. It is a very convenient and flexible option; above all, you don’t have to depend on anyone for anything.
  8. Not only can you train yourself on a day to day basis, but also on weekends or whenever you have the free time to. There is no hard and fast rule.
  9. Through discussion boards and chats, you are able to interact with everyone online and also clear your doubts if any.
  10. The video instructions that are provided for audio and video learning can be rewound and seen and heard again and again if you do not happen to understand the topic first time around.

eLearning has become a tool used to provide access to education for multiple segments of the population, which otherwise would have little to no access to it. More and more people get access to high-quality training using their own smartphone. We have just seen the beginning of a movement, a new wave of education.

References

[1] British Dictionary

[2] Cedefop Reference series, 2001

[3] Bozkurt, A. et al. (2015). Trends in Distance Education Research: A Content Analysis of Journals
2009-2013. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning.

[4] Moncef Bari: ELEARNING CURRENT SITUATION AND EMERGING CHALLENGES (July 2018)

[5] Muhammad Farhan et al: Multimedia based qualitative assessment methodology in eLearning: student teacher engagement analysis. Springer Link. (February 2018, Volume 77)

[6] Berkeley Center for Teaching & Learning (https://teaching.berkeley.edu/resources/learn/what-learning)

[7]  Isabelle Clover: Advantages And Disadvantages Of eLearning, elearningindustry (February 2017)

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