In order to analyse if e-learning is effective and can people really learn through e-learning, let us first answer the following questions.
- What do learners really want?
- What is e-learning?
- What is the motivation behind e-learning?
- Why is e-learning important and what are its advantages?
What are the basic requirements of a learner?
Every learner would like to have mobile content which can accessed anywhere at any point of time. In short, learning material should always be accessible. A learner is comfortable and can grasp more when there is no stress of time limit. This means, learning time should be self paced as every individual has different and unique understanding capability. Learning material should also be personalisable.
What is meant by e-learning?
Learning conducted through electronic media or in other words learning online is called e-learning. e-learning can also be called as web based training or online learning. It is basically the usage of technology to study or train at anytime or anywhere to any number of persons. e-learning can also be referred as a form of education or teaching with the use of computer and internet. e-learning can also be called as transfer of skills and knowledge to large number of recipients at the same time.
Below are some of the common forms of e-learning
- Online course material which can be in the form a presentation, word document, pdf file
- Live interaction with subject matter experts.
- Pre-recorded lecture or video which is available on internet.
- Live classroom with online participation in discussions and teaching.
- Online quiz or tests with true or false and multiple choice questions.
- Online demonstrations like software simulations with click path or navigation.
Why has e-learning gained so much importance?
With technology advancement learning systems have also experienced exponential growth. Moreover, time and again, research says that, human brain easily remembers and relates to what it visualises and hears via moving pictures or videos. It has also been found that visuals, apart from holding the attention of the student are also retained by the brain for longer periods. These visuals can be in different forms of videos, infographics, plain text, text with images, presentations and many more.
Every living being on this planet is characterized by a sense organ. For example – a dog relies on sense of smell, a snake relies on sense of touch and similarly human beings rely on visuals. Human memory is divided in two parts namely short term memory and long term memory. Every piece of information is initially passed on to to short term memory. This information when aided with visuals are moved to long term memory.
Hence, we understand that visuals are utmost important to retain information for longer duration. However, the question still remains unanswered ‘can people really learn through e-learning’?
In order to understand more, let us go through primary advantages of e-learning which helps people learn faster and effectively.
- Flexible: This form of learning is flexible. One can study irrespective of their major subject. For example a mechanical engineer who is interested in writing, can study and earn a journalism degree online. Online learning is not only about web based training or earning certifications but a common platform for knowledge and information. For example a higher secondary student who aspires to become a pilot can study about different aircrafts and can channelize their career accordingly.
- Comfort: As online learning is self paced, it is comfortable for a learner in every way. One can ditch tension and stress to certain level which tradition form of teaching offers. For example, there is no tension of getting dressed quickly for the class or there is no tension of attending the lecture on time. There is no stress of travelling all the way to attend certain class and the list goes on. Therefore, e-learning is quite comfortable as all it needs is focus and study atmosphere.
- Job profile: Most of the employers require their employees to be in ever learning mode. This makes them explore new methods and gain more information. As online degrees have gained equal or more importance than traditional degrees, online certifications boosts one’s job profile. It shows the prospective employers that you are eager to gain additional knowledge and skills.
- Lower costs: Online programs are often cheaper than the traditional courses. There are other means of free information too through different websites like wikipedia, knowhow.com and wikileaks.
Conclusion: Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India has a dedicated department that promotes it. People can really learn with the help of e-learning because it fulfils most of the requirements of a learner. It is also memory friendly as it is more of visual content which is important for human brains to analyze and retain information for longer durations.