E-learning has become an increasingly attractive option for schools in their pursuit of consistent education in an otherwise unpredictable time. The various E-Learning platforms provide a basis for learning for students of all ages and in many different educational institutions. The importance of E-Learning cannot be understated at this point as we try to understand the “new normal” and what it means for education.
The Meaning and Concept of E-Learning
When someone talks about E-Learning, many things can come to mind: Websites, CDs with textbooks, Zoom meetings, and other modern teaching mediums. But what are the core concepts of E-Learning and education?
Well, the main idea has always been to take the material you would learn from a traditional classroom and transfer that to an electronic medium without losing some of the benefits of in-person learning. In the early days of E-Learning, this was a challenge, but as technology and ideas have continued to improve, the ability of E-learning platforms to succeed in their mission to help students, teachers, and parents has improved.
E-Learning or any form of online-based education not only captures some of the benefits of in-person education but has been able to expand on that in a safe way. With remote classrooms, forums, chats, email, and other modes of communication, the student can still have the same level of interaction with their peers and teacher while mitigating some of the present safety and stability issues that we are currently facing. So in this way, we can continue to educate on many levels while not having to deal with any negatives.
The Importance of E-Learning
The main reason E-Learning has become so important in the last year, unfortunately, is due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, the shift to E-Learning had already begun before this in many schools, which is largely due to the possibility of it being there when it was not before.
For many parents and schools, distance learning became an important part of their study method for children who could not attend a school or even for international students who were taking classes from anywhere in the world. E-Learning will continue to be important in the future as creating fantastic platforms of remote education improves.
Distance learning and E-Learning have also become important to parents who want to ensure that their children have the opportunity to succeed, grow and improve academically regardless of the situation in the world. Peace of mind has no price tag, and that is what an E-Learning environment can provide for parents who can rest knowing their children are being educated even if schools are closed physically.
Types of E-Learning or E-Education
There are many different platforms for E-Learning, such as Udemy and Coursera. These are, of course, just a few as there are many platforms, and the number continues to grow as the market for distance learning increases.
These platforms have varying price structures and materials and course types that set them apart from each other in regard to what they can offer, and schools, parents, and private institutions can decide based on this which of these platforms will best suit their own needs.
Besides the platforms, another diverse area of E-Learning is the mediums and methods of learning that are available to choose from. Some of these are computer-managed learning, synchronous online learning, and fixed E-Learning.
The differences in mediums and methods range from the curriculum to how the course is taught to individual vs. group approaches. For example, many schools have opted for synchronous distance learning during school lockdowns, which is basically a virtual classroom with the student, their peers, and their teacher, which encourages socialization even during a time of isolation.
Benefits of E-Learning in Education
E-Learning has many benefits, such as ease of access to materials, socialization, the ability to be remote when it’s otherwise impossible to be at a school in person. Still, also there are benefits for the school itself, such as the ability to continue to organize and maintain the curriculum both in terms of pacing and quality for the sake of their students and staff.
Another side benefit is saved time for the teacher and schools since often E-Learning platforms have their own materials, and the teacher does not have to spend as much time lesson planning and preparing for class and can focus more on teaching and maintaining order as well as structure during the lesson.
One other benefit that is not as talked about is normalcy. By normalcy, I mean a sense of everything is normal even when it is not. E-Learning will continue to grow even as the world returns to a state of normalcy. While it isn’t the opportunity to continue to have a schedule and outline is important for students, parents, and faculty because it gives a sense of structure and normalcy. You can plan your day and week around lesson times and plans. The ability to create this structure allows students to thrive even in a difficult situation.
Benefits of E-Learning For Students
Although teachers and schools need to have the distance learning infrastructure available to them, the core users of these platforms are the students. The chief benefit the students gain from E-Learning is what they would get from an in-classroom education which is knowledge. The medium has changed, but the end goal is still to prepare students for adult life and future careers.
E-Learning is a good concept, but it wouldn’t justify its own use if it didn’t educate. The main benefit students get from E-Learning is learning! There are, of course, many side benefits such as the course adaptability, the ability to look at materials whenever they wish so they can study more, and the access to additional supplemental materials they would not have access to in a traditional classroom setting.
E-Learning in education has many benefits and is important and will become increasingly more important in the future due to globalization and the increased benefit for children to have the best education possible regardless of their location or situation. Distance learning helps us overcome practical challenges while exceeding what is/was possible in a traditional classroom.