Is e-Learning Right for You?
As a result of technology advances over the past decade, e-Learning has become more prominent than ever before. E-Learning (or electronic learning) is defined as technology supported learning (TSL) where electronic media is utilized to deliver the learning material. In most cases, eLearning refers to Internet/Intranet based or online learning.
The Benefits of e-Learning
Both organizations and individuals can benefit from eLearning. For organizations, delivering web-based on-the-job training (OJT) can provide a handsome cost savings in the area of training personnel. In addition, it allows employees to work at their own pace to complete the online training.
Individuals also benefit from electronic learning when it comes to higher learning via online teaching. More than 3.5 million students in the United States were participating in eLearning by 2006. Consequently, almost anyone can successfully participate in e-Learning, provided that they have the discipline to undertake independent study. This number is expected to continue to grow as more adult learners make the decision to return to college to finish their degree. Among the advantages of e-Learning are:
- Reduced cost for education providers
- Flexibility and convenience for learners
- Increased access to educational resources
- Individuals can develop the digital literacy skills needed to be successful in their job or career path
How e-Learning works
In a significant number of cases, e-Learning is as simple as preparing a typical slide presentation, and making it accessible to learners via the web in the form of an online presentation. A typical electronic learning course consists of a lesson in the form of a presentation, written document, or video. Via remote desktop software, the students are able to join a distance education session and view the presentation slides of the teacher via screen sharing software and hear the lecture through a teleconference.
After the learner completes the lesson, a quiz or test may be administered through the organization’s e-Learning system. Colleges and Universities typically use third party software programs that allow both the instructors and users to easily manage the e-Learning experience. This interface allows instructors and learners to perform tasks such as post and access lessons enter and view grades for assignments and tests, send messages, chat via message boards or instant messaging, and manage multiple courses.
While such distance learning courses are not free, there does exist free online education software solutions, in the from of free desktop sharing software, online presentation software, etc.
When considering whether e-Learning is right for you, take in to account the following. Are you organized and self-directed? Do you have enough time to complete the required coursework? Do you feel comfortable approaching the instructor with questions? Ultimately, e-Learning has a countless number of advantages and very few disadvantages. As a result, it provides a great opportunity for education to individuals who may not otherwise be able to participate.