Since the launch of the first MOOCs, e-learning has affected the educational process both on and off campus. As students become more engaged in the digital environment, the faculties are forced to change well-established practices through the introduction of innovative learning strategies, dynamic storytelling, gamification, and more.
These days, when the world is facing probably the most dreadful threat in modern history, online learning offers a safe passage to fulfill one of the fundamental human needs — urge for knowledge. In the years to come, it will be highlights and challenges of e-learning that will shape the global ed ecosystem.
Advantages of Digital Education
Go to Class Wherever You Are
Studying online implies that there are no geographical constraints. Regardless of their current place of residence, students can choose any education provider around the globe. All it takes to turn a big, big world into a small global village is an Internet connection and a laptop or smartphone.
This means no immigration permits, no red tape, no daily commutes to the campus. You can sit at home in your favorite pajamas while enjoying a virtual discussion with a classmate who lives halfway around the globe.
E-learning enables students to complete the task whenever they have time. Some would be able to dedicate half a day to their studies; others might only have 20 minutes before rushing to work. Going online makes it possible for anyone — people with full-time jobs, stay-at-home moms, night owls — to advance their knowledge without altering their daily routine. They can participate in the course according to their schedules at a suitable pace.
Engaging Learning Strategies
Online courses make the learning process a lot more personalized and student-centered. Listening to tedious hour-long lectures is yesterday’s news. E-learning is all about innovation and creativity. It enhances learner’s experience by means of interactive quizzes, games, discussion forums, specially-designed platforms and mobile applications, and even adoption of AR and VR technologies.
Instructions are often presented in the form of videos or podcasts. They are much easier to follow than traditional classroom activities because:
*information is often divided into small chunks that are easy to comprehend;
*if you are already familiar with the concepts under consideration you can speed up the recording or simply skip those parts;
*you can watch/listen to the content as often as necessary to interpret difficult notions or to revise the material.
Lower Price Tag
Off-campus programs are generally more affordable than traditional brick-and-mortar education. Considerably lower cost is achieved through the advantages of economies of scale. The number of learners that can be enrolled in the online course by far exceeds the capacity of a single classroom. The more customers receive the product, the shorter the payback period on the investments put into the course design. The institution can pass those savings on to its students and offer them a favorable price. Very often, online platforms even grant access to instructional materials free of charge.
Limitations of Studying Online
Lack of Social Interaction
Online courses might be an ideal solution for introverts who don’t like to be in the midst of the crowd. But for people who crave for real-life communication, it could become quite an ordeal.
There is no buzz in the back of the classroom, no whispering across the row, no teacher hounding you to complete the task. When you don’t get something, you won’t have a pal sitting by your side whom you can instantly ask for their interpretation. The only study buddy you are prone to have is your computer… and it’s certainly not a talkative one. Still, it can help you find the best place to buy an essay if you’re struggling with your writing assignment.
Online learners have to master the art of juggling between various activities so that their personal and student lives don’t clash. More often than not, at some point, personal matters start to take over. The excitement of the first classes is gone, and you begin to have trouble persuading yourself to log on. And once you force yourself to get back to studies, it’s only to find out you can’t stay on task. You might eventually get trapped in that vicious circle and never catch up.
Modern life requires everyone to be tech-capable and future-facing. Studying online is something that can boost students’ digital skillset and help them advance in their career paths.
On the other hand, the very same things that turn online students into tech-savvy gurus pose a lot of hindrances at the beginning of their learning journey. They include:
*additional expenses associated with high-speed Internet and software updates;
*getting familiar with online learning tools like group wiki, Google Docs, Canvas or Blackboard in the short term;
*communication breakdowns as all interchange happen through email or forums;
*commitment to enhancing computer and troubleshooting skills.