With the advent of the internet and everything being almost fully available online, learning has changed. Now, almost anybody can easily learn even the most difficult skill right from the couch!
Along the years, many remote learning centers have developed complete e-learning models with no brick and mortar school affiliated at all. These companies have evolved into the likes of Udemy, Edx, Alison and a long list of others that we now know.
This is why many people choose e-learning.
It allows you to take charge of your learning experience, choosing what, when, and how to learn. Whether you are a visual learner or you prefer learning with experience and other students, there’s always an option with e-learning.
What Exactly Is E-Learning?
It’s a learning method where students use electronics and technology to learn. It’s mostly carried out away from the traditional classroom setting. It’s as simple as that.
E-learning is employed at the higher education level but it isn’t unusual to find e-learning programs for grade school curriculum, like with K-12 Online Academy or even Starfall’s e-learning program that target babies to older kids.
A Little History
In 1960, almost 60 years ago, e-learning first debuted in the form of “PLATO”, a CAI (Computer-assisted instruction system) which was created by Donald L. Bitzer. By 1966, it was already introduced in schools.
It did take a full 34 years since the creation of PLATO for the first higher education institution that would use an online-based curriculum to be created. From there, things got solid pretty quickly.
The 2000s saw fully online open source learning programs like Udemy springing up in full force. Businesses also began to use e-learning around that time. It didn’t take much longer for social and mobile learning to become a thing, too.
E-Learning Broken Down By Type
There are two major types of e-Learning: synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Synchronous e-Learning – With this model, both the students and their teachers have to be online at the same time for learning to take place. It is more like the traditional instructing system, except that the classroom is online.
This system makes use of:
- Chat rooms
- Video conferencing
- Live streaming
Asynchronous e-Learning – This system is more flexible with timing and allows each student the opportunity to work at his own pace. It makes use of:
- The Web
- Message and discussion boards
- Digital curriculum resources
- Social networking
- Collaborative documents and wikis
How e-Learning Happens
There are five main methods commonly employed with e-learning. It includes:
Microlearning – Because the average person can only really focus on something for a maximum of 20 minutes at a time, microlearning strives to deliver learning in small bits, called “information morsels”. This method is very effective in boosting understanding and retention by at least 30%.
Gamification – Using interactive games to boost learning outcomes outdoes the expectations of many. It boosts long-term retention 10 times more than the usual norm!
m-Learning – Because mobiles are easily accessible, in bed and even in transit, this is the go-to form of learning for most students. 99% of people think that mobile education enhances their learning experience.
Video learning – Many people are visual learners and, frankly, videos can save much more time than other forms of learning and is most suitable for busy employees.
Social learning – This is where most people who aren’t self-starters find the most return on investment. There is peer-to-peer interaction to help students who may have fallen behind get up to speed.
Advantages of E-Learning
Over the years, many advantages of e-learning over traditional learning models have been observed. The following are just a few of the advantages that students may get.
E-learning cuts down the cost of learning per person by a large margin. The average cost of learning a course using the traditional learning system has been pegged at $95 per student against e-learning’s measly $11!
With e-learning, students also save time. It has been reported to take between 40 to 50% less time to complete a course via e-learning. It also consumes 90% less energy.
E-learning actually saves the environment. CO2 emissions generated per person are 85% less than traditional learning systems.
Students find that with e-learning, they retain more (as much as 7 times more) of the knowledge acquired for a longer period. It’s because the process is mostly interactive and allows learning by practicing.
With the savings on time and overall cost and the increased retention experienced, students find that they have at least a 50% increase in the return of their investments (time and money).
The numerous unrivaled advantages of e-learning and its speedy advancement in the last few years prove that e-learning is here already. Students, as well as instructors, are embracing it.
There are more work-from-home teaching opportunities today and companies like Edx and Udemy are bound to have an even bigger impact on the shape of tomorrow’s global society.