The Need For eLearning
With its first mention dating back to the year 1999, eLearning or online learning is in every part a story that defined all odds and escalated to the stature that it holds today. It truly is on top of the game and is edging to a spectacular future. For starters, it challenged a tradition that was in place for more than centuries; a tradition that made students the passive recipients of the knowledge sharing process.
A section from Dr. Martin Luther King’s article The Purpose of Education (published in Morehouse College Student Paper, The Maroon Tiger, in 1947) illustrates one of the grave dangers that we face today:
The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. However, the knowledge that stops with efficiency may prove the greatest menace to society.
What if the traditional whiteboard centered classroom filled beyond capacity fails to influence students on the ideals and mottos of learning? What if the learning process turns cumbersome and converts passive minds into drifters and daydreamers? As we rage into the day where Darwinism is more than an apparent reality, the fundamentals instigated long ago in the past require a much powerful and steadfast approach to learning; eLearning.
One Size Fits All
The internet is a vast reservoir of knowledge. With over 40% of the world’s population gaining access to the internet, learning over the internet is one of the ideal ways to impart and share engaging thoughts among individuals. Over the years, the internet has experienced exponential growth in the different avenues of eLearning such as Massively Open Online Courses, Learning Management Systems, etc. Online courses have taken away the brick and mortar classrooms and made it possible for students from any part of the world experience learning along with their global comrades. With the emergence of the mobile devices, students can learn on the go. The courses and modules do not target any particular demographic; anyone with exhibiting an intrigue towards the subject, irrespective of their age, locale, and other factors can benefit from this form of education.
The traditional learning approaches are all met by time constraints; the sessions sprawl over classes that range from 30 minutes to an hour. The instructors often race against time, overloading the students with information to meet the goals of the pre-set curriculum and thus defeating the real objective of learning. Online courses have the distinction of enabling learners to learn at their pace. These courses are neither governed by a pre-set time constraint nor are tailored to fit an overburdened time schedule. Students can avail the benefits of these courses any time of the day, retake the course/module, and complete it at their own pace.
Where Learning Meets Interactive Media
Online courses and Learning Management Systems broke the stereotypes with their ability to incorporate various visualizing tools. Online courses connect learning and interactive media available to make learning interesting and engaging as possible. Over the period, textbooks and lecture notes helped students get past learning. With learners getting bored and distracted easily, the need to make the process of learning informative, engaging, and captivating became imperative. That is where online courses struck gold. From videos, presentation, and podcasts, to short docs, pop quizzes, and animation, your online course can do wonders to lessons based on complex ideas or courses that revolve around what otherwise would be a boring class on a regular day of school.
eLearning in a broader sense does not mean to remain restricted to schools and colleges. Nowadays, eLearning has slowly been replacing the trend in induction training methods. Modules are now created by recording the instructor in action during a training session. The recorded videos will suffice as the courseware for the upcoming batches. This way the course becomes reusable without losing the flare and the whole process turns economic since the organization does not have to fly with the instructor every time a session takes off.
Affordability And Applicability
For the year 2015, it has been estimated that the average student loan debt is around $30,000, and 8.1% of the students drop out of high school. One of the major reasons for students dropping out would be financial issues. Online courses open the gateway to education for eager students who cannot afford a hefty tuition fee levied by schools and colleges these days. Learners require an active internet connection and an account with a Learning Management System, and they have access to hundreds of potential life-changing courses. These courses have the means to convert your regular living room into a classroom.
The result also seems to rise. A study mentions that 17% of the employers would favor an applicant who has an online course degree. These courses can be taken up by a single student or related to a hall filled with curious souls. Online courses target a wider group and are designed to be affordable and efficient. They unite learners across borders and bring them under a single roof. From the perspective of an instructor, creating a course in a Learning Management System is very straightforward. These systems are supported by simple authoring tools whose interfaces help breed familiarity over a short span of time.
Competition Is The Key
Exams tend to agitate the competitive skills among peers and students. At the end of the day, it is all about who wins the race. However, sometimes it does not depend on the one who crossed the finish line first. Instead, it is about the journey that got you to the finish line. Competition over the virtual classroom gets healthy and turns the process of knowledge sharing fun among peers.
To bridge the interaction between peers, eLearning platforms today promote competition by enabling peers to challenge one another to complete courses. A peer board with rankings of all the learners also increases the rigor among learners and set them on a path to learn more and complete the courses quickly. These competitive inputs are added to motivate the students. However, at the end of the day, the decision lies in the hands of the learners as to whether they accept a challenge or decline it.
Interact, Acknowledge, And Appreciate
Success is satisfaction. Motivation combined with success is bliss. An effective reward system translates to satisfaction, motivation, and happiness. Nothing compares to appreciation you receive when you attain the completion of a course. Earning rewards while you learn is found to boost the morale and promote a healthy and competitive environment among the learners. It has been discovered that an effective reward system is found to pose a positive effect on students, especially among the low ranking learners or the ones who face other learning impediments.
Various eLearning platforms have reward learners with merit points or course completion certificates. Some of them even go on to grace such occasions by rewarding pupils with points that can be traded for real time gifts etc. Online learning, though doesn’t necessarily involves real-time interaction with your fellow peers, makes up for the absence by involving the use of chat and personal message settings that a learner can take advantage of to interact with teachers and peers.
Instructors can use the inbuilt messaging system or other external applications to get in touch with the students and engage in an active conversation with them. Through text, email, and video calls, these online learning platforms help improve the instructor-learner rapport and maximize the attention a learner can benefit from. This form of communication also helps instructors to track the progress of a student and acknowledge the response of a learner towards the module.
Online learning and the platforms which support them have been a fast-growing market. The eLearning industry is alone set to make $107 billion in the current year. Clearly the support for this coming of age method of learning has poured in from the ordinary man to various corporate giants. Every day, eLearning looks at the next set of tools that would help you launch your creative online module.
If you have the skills to transform the time of a learner into an unforgettable experience with just the right tools available at your disposal, you can open the doors of your virtual classroom to a global audience. Stop thinking right now and set the stones of your plan rolling, for the world deserves a creator; not just any creator, but one who is an innovator too.
This post was first published on eLearning Industry.