Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning

Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning

Technology has transformed how we function in our day to day lives. Everything we do now has either a direct or indirect connection to some kind of technology. We are constantly discovering new ways of using it for the better. Hence, it is no surprise that we are increasingly making use of it for learning. E-learning is a technology-based learning tool used to acquire the same kind of knowledge that you would otherwise acquire in a classroom. But is it as effective and feasible as it claims to be?

THE CONCEPT OF E-LEARNING

E-learning is a learning system that is a combination of formalized teaching with the help of electronic resources. These include computers, cameras, cellular phones, and the internet. E-learning is a sub-set of educational technology that uses electronic software and hardware along with theory. This field is called EduTech or EdTech and the aim is to effectively bring learners, teachers, and technical means together for enhanced productivity.

HISTORY OF EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY

Finding new ways to engage students and learners through education has an illustrious history. It goes back to early tools, such as painting on cave walls. Blackboards, books, and pamphlets were the modes of disseminating information for the longest time. In the 1950s, the slide projector made an introduction to classroom settings. Around the 1960s, professors started using computers to teach subjects like arithmetic. And as the World Wide Web became popular, teachers and professors started using technology to create courses online with simple instructions for the students to follow. Thereafter, more technology-based courses developed over time.

Now, many schools and educational institutes have their curated online databases that students can go through. Online courses are increasingly popular with many opting for distance-learning degree courses and certifications. In 2020, the world is adjusting to live through the global coronavirus pandemic. Over 89 percent of the student population has to stay home due to school closures. Therefore, these universities and schools have transitioned to online-based classrooms to ensure that education and learning does not stop.

KINDS OF E-LEARNING TOOLS

There are different kinds of e-learning tools. These include classroom aids, courseware, assessment and reference software, corporate training, and video games.

Classroom aids are a type of software that can be used in a classroom, for instance, a projector that is controlled by a computer. Courseware is short for course software that is mainly useful for teachers and tutors. These are kits that have all the educational material needed for a particular course. So, this helps the educators update themselves easily. Assessment software simply translates to software used for evaluating the students. These could be through online examinations, tests or even assignments that are graded. Reference software is a type of educational software like dictionaries and encyclopedia in an online format. Hence, one can easily look up definitions and word-origins on the online formats of dictionaries like the Oxford Dictionary and Merriam Webster Dictionary. There are e-learning tools for corporates and tertiary education markets specifically aimed at enhancing industry-standard knowledge. These kinds of software aim to make education more effective.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of E-learning

ADVANTAGES OF E-LEARNING

Accessibility

The biggest advantage of the system of e-learning is its accessibility. It reaches a wider audience. With the help of the internet and cloud computing, educational institutes and companies can offer tools to their learners and consumers across the globe. Since the coronavirus outbreak, people all over the world have been stuck at home. Governments have urged companies to offer open online courses and modules for students and learners. Many international universities have shown solidarity by giving free access to their database to students. Digital libraries and databases like Scribd and JSTOR have made their content free for everyone. Publishing houses like the Cambridge University Press had also previously given free access to all their textbooks. Hence, in times of need, online learning and e-learning tools can be necessary and very accessible.

Technological Proficiency

Technological proficiency is a huge advantage for job seekers. Most companies are on the lookout for candidates with unique skill sets. Therefore, people can choose from a list of unlimited courses online to explore new avenues. Similarly, with unlimited data and information available on the internet, there is a high chance of improved productivity and performance. This helps in the overall development of the student or individual.

Low Cost

Another advantage of e-learning is that it is low cost. It removes the need for costly printed course materials and books. As a result, it also helps lower environmental impact. There is also no need for a tutor or any physical space to teach these courses. Since this is entirely virtual, people have the option of learning in the comforts of their own house at the pace of their liking.

Saves Time

With e-learning, learners do not have to rely on scheduled training. It also greatly avoids travel time. This saves overall time and energy. Alternatively, these courses and tools are designed in a way that people can study and learn at their own pace. Hence, this ensures that one does not get overwhelmed by the course materials and can work without worry.

Helps People with Disabilities

E-learning is a great tool for people whose accessibility to classrooms is difficult due to a disability. It also helps mildly disabled children who have difficulty in social settings. That is to say, e-learning courses help with developing their social skills through audio-visual learning. These include videos, games, and team-based activities for enhanced learning.

Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning

DISADVANTAGES OF E-LEARNING

Lack of Practical Training

E-learning is a great tool to get accessible and paperless course material and guides. But one of the biggest challenges it poses is that it lacks practical training. There is no scope for face-to-face interactions with a tutor or a professional. Therefore, this reduces learning through lived experience. For example, vocational courses like public speaking and personality development require hands-on training. This is not something you can master through educational technology or online classes.

Health Issues

We are aware of the benefits of technology. But too much of any good thing can be fatal. Continuous exposure to a screen can pose problems to your health. Sitting for long periods affects your spine causing posture-related problems. Working or studying from home can affect your time management. In other words, it can get difficult to strike a work-life balance. This could result in increased stress levels. So, one must strive to have a fixed schedule for working as well as for their studies.

Falls Short on Expectations

Another disadvantage of e-learning is that sometimes it is prone to fall short on the predicted expectations. Everyone is not tech-savvy and it can be daunting for some to go online. Even if an e-learning website or software is user-friendly, people can still be doubtful. Other problems like slow internet connection, browser issues, and device compatibility issues also worse the situation.

Above all, e-learning is a necessary tool that can be the future of standardized learning if it is strategically and properly implemented.

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Pros and Cons

PROS

CONS

Accessibility

Lack of Practical Training

Technological Proficiency

Health Issues

Low Cost

Falls Short on Expectations

Saves Time

Helps People with Disabilities

 

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Anchita Nair