E-Learning, or Electronic Learning, is about moving traditional classroom classes online and make it be accessible at the convenience of the students by allowing them to attend class online via digital devices, such as a personal computer, iPad, Mobile Phone, etc.
As the access to the internet and technology for learning system improved, studying online is becoming more and more popular worldwide. Even Ivy League universities like Harvard, MIT, etc. have been seen to embrace this mode of learning with a range of programme available online for anyone who is interested to learn.
However, there is still resistance by educators to move their classes online entirely due to various reasons. It may be fear of not being able to teach in the most effective way possible, causing the students to fall behind, or simply due to the insecurities of being replaced easily in the future.
These reasons may be unfounded and, with the escalation of the COVID-19 situation, make an education institution lose more market share to their competitors in the short term and long run.
With the improvement in internet connection with 5G connectivity already happening in a few countries, e-learning could just be what the education sector will have to embrace entirely to not be made irrelevant in the near future. Here are some of the advantages of moving to e-teaching:
1) Self-paced Learning
One of the biggest advantages of having online classes is that it allows the students to study at their own pace.
With the digitalization of the economy happening at light speed, many jobs are slowly being made redundant and workers will need to acquire new skills in order to stay relevant.
For example, a bank security guard may want to take up a digital marketing course to prepare himself for a career switch in case his job is being replaced by the rapid automation in banking. However, as he still needs the current job, which requires shift work, there is almost no way he can stick to a fixed schedule to acquire this much-needed skill to upgrade himself.
As self-paced learning doesn’t need to be fixed into a specific schedule since it can be pre-recorded, the student can now study at any time after or before work. With the advancement of technology, the student can now also make sure he is keeping up with the course by completing exercises and quizzes, discuss groups project with students via messaging app, etc.
Apart from using e-learning for students who cannot commit to a fixed schedule, schools can also implement blended learning where students who have attended classroom classes can go still online to learn more about the lesson after class for further revision at their own pace.
In some countries where public transport is not as efficient, travelling to and fro school can be a real challenge for some students from poorer families.
With e-learning as an option, these families may be more willing to let their children continue with their education and potentially breaking the poverty chain.
This can be said the same for students who want to study in a particular educational institution in a different country but is unable to do so. With e-learning, these institutions can now reach students from different parts of the world easily and expand their market share without the needed to set up a physical presence in more than one country.
E-learning has eliminated many educational constraints conducted in classrooms and time is one of them. With e-learning, students can now easily access their educational resources from the comfort of their home and that cuts away the travelling time needed to go to a brick-and-mortar school. With the time saved, students can access other pre-recorded learning materials and learn much more with the same amount of time.
The same can be said for trainers. Since trainers cannot be there conducting classes 24/7, pre-recorded training videos actually helps eliminate the need for the trainer to be available when the students are, and allow this skill to be taught to an interested student anytime, anywhere.
4) Educational Effectiveness
It has been shown that online education has proved to be very useful and effective for both the student and the trainer. With pre-recorded videos, trainers can use their time, which was previously used to teach in class, to update the presentation of their class with more useful materials like better reference video, updated content, infographics, etc. This has been something that was always being procrastinated due to the busy schedule of the trainer but can be easily mitigated with the doing away of physical classes conducted on a regular basis.
As e-learning also allows the student to revisit the course if needed, the update of content by the trainer will also greatly benefit past students who get learn more on the revisit of the module.
5) Cost Reduction
With home-based learning, there will be huge cost savings in terms of the cost of travel, accommodation, classroom rental & overheads, printed learning material, etc.
The trainer can also afford to spend more time on 1-to-1 consultation for students without having to incur additional cost for both the school or the trainer. All these savings could, in turn, be passed on to the students with lower course fee due to the competitive nature between institutes of learning.
Also, with travelling being taken away for an entire class, imagine the carbon footprints that will be reduced on a daily basis.
With the current situation of COVID-19 virus, many companies are also thinking about how to continue with training for their staff during this trying period. With e-learning, they will realise that, not only will it prove to be more productive, there will be saving in costs as well as compared to the traditional classroom way.