What is e-learning? Why does it matter?
I bet Elliot Maise had no idea the term e-learning would become such a phenomenon when he coined it in 1999. But its use has skyrocketed over the last ten years or so.
The form of teaching especially experienced staggering growth at the pandemic’s start due to worldwide stay-at-home orders.
So, we’ll cover what online learning is, how it works, types, benefits, and good platforms.
What Is E-Learning?
Now, let’s get the jargon out of the way!
So, what is e-learning?
It stands for electronic learning. People also interchangeably refer to it as digital, web-based, or online learning.
It’s a form of teaching that utilizes internet-connected gadgets, such as computers, smartphones, or tablets. It is available for groups or individual settings.
Web-based classes are suitable for anyone in the quest of acquiring knowledge. Instructors offer materials in the form of ebooks, webinars, or even live lectures.
E-learning has no geographical limitations. Both instructors and learners can participate from anywhere so long as there’s the internet.
Although most people worldwide are just learning of its existence, the concept of e-learning has been around for decades.
Well, not exactly as it is today.
It has evolved over the years from Caleb Phillip’s 1728 long-distance course via regular mail to Professor Don Bitzer’s Plato in 1960.
Nowadays, online education is available to the masses.
Even Google offers web-based learning. So does the giant professional network LinkedIn, just to mention a few.
How Does E-Learning Work?
So, what is e-learning? Electronic learning.
But how does it work?
As I mentioned earlier, you can take online courses from anywhere, as long as you have correctly configured your device.
Lessons can be network, internet, intranet, or CD-ROM-based. Additionally, they can be in the form of text, animations, audio, video, or a fusion of all of them.
Types of E-Learning
If you want to learn online, and wondering whether you’ll find a solution that will work with your schedule, worry not.
Here, we’ll cover formal, informal, self-paced, supervised, corporate, on-demand – name it.
Without further ado, let’s get into it.
Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) or Computer Assisted Learning (CAL)
This is one of the best e-learning methods on this list because it offers the highest level of interaction between learners and instructors. It is suitable for people of all ages.
The computer program enhances instructions from the teacher. Think of it as a remedial class.
This education technology uses different approaches to communicate concepts:
Teachers can set accuracy scores to help students know if they’re on the right track. In addition, CAL has testing mechanisms to ensure that students actively participate either individually or in groups.
The e-learning system allows feedback for quizzes/tests to be given in real-time to enable students to know if they passed or not. In addition, results come with instructions on making amendments.
That’s not all:
This creates a competitive environment for participants. As a result, they will be likely to pay more attention and get it right.
Computer Managed Learning (CML)
CML acts as a database that stores and manages information such as:
- response sheets
- monitoring learning
- finding the necessary resources
- report retrieval
Unlike CAI, this e-learning system doesn’t use computers as tutors. In other words, the gadget will not relay any instructions to students.
Usually, educators prepare their courses and evaluations, then pre-install the material in software for use on a network or computer. After that, they can allocate the content to groups of students or individuals.
With it, teachers can access a learner’s weak spots and offer suggestions for improvement.
Fixed e-learning lets teachers predetermine the course material. It doesn’t offer any tailor-made alternatives, so all students have to use the same content.
For example – YouTube educational videos. You can watch them whenever, but you have to follow every instruction.
NB: This will not be a good option for you if you’re looking for a solution that can adapt to your needs. Fortunately, there are lots of other choices on this list.
Synchronous Online Learning
What is synchronous online learning?
This online education method requires teachers and students to sign in simultaneously once a week to communicate concepts. In other words, they receive live instructions at a preset time only.
It utilizes tools such as web and video conferencing technologies, live chat, or webinars. It gives learners the same engagement they would get in a brick-and-mortar classroom.
With synchronous learning, people can participate in live discussions, bringing forth an essence of community.
Note, however, that you won’t be able to reschedule classes with this approach. Therefore, you must attend sessions according to the timetable.
Asynchronous Online Learning
Asynchronous learning is the opposite of synchronous learning. With this e-learning system, you don’t have to log in simultaneously as anyone else. You can also access educational material at any hour.
So, if you have a rigid work schedule, asynchronous learning offers the flexibility you need.
To maintain a running dialogue, your teachers can use messaging boards. There’s no standard way of marking attendance with this method, so teachers can improvise.
Additionally, they have click buttons to let instructors know if you have engaged with the material.
Although teachers of this e-learning training technique will give you an order of operation, you have the liberty to choose the time to spend on each.
Collaborative Online Learning
You might have heard of “online groups” or “online teams.” They both refer to collaborative e-learning.
This method of digital learning is a hallmark of traditional education – teachers assign group work. It lets instructors create courses that groups of students can participate in, only this time it happens over the internet.
It uses web conferencing tools like Zoom. They help the teacher monitor things like who contributes, arising issues, most cooperative members, etc.
Interactive Online Learning
This e-learning technology lets you choose the level of difficulty or topics you prefer.
It also gives you the freedom to provide feedback on any areas you might have an issue with or what topic you would like to add.
This approach follows a step-by-step introduction to topics.
Unlike the interactive method, with this one, students don’t have the liberty to choose what they want to study. So, they have to follow a predetermined structure. In other words, everyone must start from the foundation, all the way to the advanced level.
Individual Online Learning
This e-learning experience is all about the personal approach. Although other students can access the same learning material, it all depends on your own motivation levels.
As you’ll have no supervisors, how fast you progress will be up to you.
Benefits of E-Learning?
There are lots of advantages to learning online. Here are some of them:
Saves Time and Money
Statistics show that an online education program takes up to 60% less time than regular training modes.
You don’t have to spend hours on traffic traveling to school or getting ready for class. Neither do you have to pay for fuel, train, or bus tickets.
Increases Retention Rates
E-learning improves learner retention rates by more than 50% compared to traditional methods. That’s because it offers a flexible schedule. Therefore, students get time for other areas of their life like family, work, and course work.
No Geographic Limitations
You only need to access e-learning content on an internet-connected device. Just create an account in a digital learning platform of your choice, and you’re good to go.
No Need for Textbooks
Textbooks are pricey, not to mention the stress they bring to the environment. Luckily, you will find all the content you need online.
E-Learning Platforms Worth Your Attention
There are tons of electronic learning platforms available in the market. Here are a few examples:
LinkedIn Learning is ideal for business, creative, and tech courses. If you’re looking for a solution to help you track your goals, this is an excellent choice. It sends you reminders whenever you start slacking.
It’s an affordable option, with rates ranging from $24.99 to about $299.99 per year.
Udemy is ideal for marketplace-based learning with about 4000 professional courses. This e-learning course platform offers classes in a variety of fields such as:
- political science
- dog training
To join Udemy, you could end up paying $0 to $199.99 per course.
Coursera is one of the top Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) on the internet. It even gives course recommendations!
For individuals, the prices are from $39 -$79 per month. Small teams pay $400/team member while larger groups get custom pricing.
For more alternatives, check out this list on TechJury.
What is e-learning?
Online education comes in all shapes and forms.
Unlike traditional schools, e-learning offers many benefits, such as higher retention rates and the freedom to take classes from anywhere. It is also cheaper. And you can find a variety of courses!
What’s not to love, really?
Online, digital or electronic learning – it’s all e-learning. It requires a device that you can connect to the internet.
Advantages of e-learning include:
- lower costs
- saving time and money
- higher retention
E-learning works by delivering content to students in the form of video, animations, text, and audio. Individuals or groups can access content from anywhere and at any time if they’re connected to the internet.
The purpose of e-learning is to allow people to access education at their convenience.
Online courses also aim to provide affordable learning at a fraction of the time regular schooling takes.
What is e-learning and does it have a place in schools?
E-learning in school environments is a form of schooling that allows students to access educational material outside physical classrooms. This form of learning utilizes electronic technologies to deliver content to learners.
Most schools take a dual approach, where they fuse physical and digital classes. Others offer them as an option.