eLearning or electronic learning is defined as the delivery of training or education via electronic media. This form of learning is most commonly used in academia to teach students, as well as in the professional and corporate settings, to provide new employees with orientation and appropriate skill training. eLearning can be acquired through many sources; YouTube, Google classroom and Udemy are some of the most popular platforms for eLearning, however the options are countless. To put it simply, any kind of resource that can be accessed via a laptop, phone or a digital device in hand can count as eLearning.
Following the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a considerable rise in e-learning methods. In fact, online learning has prevailed to the extent that it is now expected to replace traditional learning permanently. But, how true is this claim and what is the future of eLearning in the post-pandemic world?
Read on below to find out.
The rise of eLearning during the pandemic
With the rise of cases in the pandemic, authorities were required to impose strict lockdown to implement physical distancing. This meant that educational institutes that required their students to attend classes on campus had to switch to online alternatives. Therefore, all forms of course work, assignments and video lectures were all delivered by digital media and students were required to complete their tasks and submit them online.
With more students switching to online schools and programs, asynchronous learning became extremely popular. For those new to the concept or wondering about what is asynchronous learning it refers to the principles that specifically apply to online learners.
Ideally, asynchronous learners are required to study, complete assignments and quizzes at their own pace. Unlike regular classrooms where students are required to abide by deadlines, asynchronous learning follows a more “self-regulated” based pattern. This form of learning has proven particularly helpful for those who manage their household or work jobs as well.
The pros and cons of Asynchronous learning
Apart from the flexibility the asynchronous learning environment offers, it also allows for a more efficient way of absorbing information. According to a survey conducted, asynchronous students were reported to have a better idea of their concepts and even had better test scores than synchronous learners. This further indicates that not only does self-regulation helps students manage their time better, but it also helps them retain information for more extended periods.
While asynchronous learning seems to be beneficial for the most part, it does come with a few notable disadvantages. For starters, it can actually demotivate students and put them in a cycle of procrastination. When given no deadlines, students are given the idea that they can delay their work as much as they like, which can turn into a toxic cycle before realization. Another disadvantage of this form of learning is the likelihood of students feeling “disconnected” and “distracted”. It is a known fact that learning at home will indeed put you at risk of procrastination given many distractions compared to in a classroom. This can make you less productive and affect your work ethic.
Methods of eLearning
There are many methods by which eLearning or asynchronous learning can be established; some of the most popular ones being Web eLearning, video-based eLearning and app-based learning.
Web eLearning: This form of learning involves the use of the internet to teach content. Many applications like video streaming, lectures and group discussions are supported through the web. This has been the most popular form of eLearning during the Covid-19 crisis.
Video-based eLearning: This form of learning depends on videos and video-based platforms like YouTube or Daily Motion to teach the audience of the required knowledge. The prime benefit of video-based eLearning is its ability to animate graphics and text, which ultimately enhance uptake and proves to be engaging for both learners and lecturers alike.
App-based learning: Application-based learning utilizes mediums like Google classroom or Khan Academy to teach concepts to students. These highly interactive apps come with sophisticated features like real-time learning, chatbots, and personalized accounts that create an interactive learning environment for the students.
What is the future of eLearning?
Seeing as how technology has revolutionized every aspect of our life, it is safe to say that eLearning will likely take over in the future. With COVID-19, we have already witnessed a mass transition from traditional learning methods to online alternatives. Therefore, we have sufficient data to claim that eLearning will indeed become the future.
An excellent means of delivering content, eLearning is beneficial to teachers and students alike. For starters, all parties can save resources in terms of time, place and costs when opting for online learning methods. There’s more flexibility for students who, in case of emergency and missing classes, can catch up by recording lectures to be consumed at a later time. Alternatively, students can take courses while working, commuting or hanging out with friends and easily adjust class schedules into their daily routine. Moreover, the content being taught online eliminates the need for paper material, making the platform environmentally friendly.
Lastly, attending online classes can also help young adults manage their time wisely and focus on other activities that serve them personally. As technology advances and blended learning methods become popular, eLearning will only become more accessible, convenient and easier in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic created numerous challenges for our society. From managing the general health of each individual to tackling the crisis of maintaining education standards, the authorities had to face immense pressure while sustaining the order of the society. In order to maintain physical distance and to comply with SOPs, schools and workplaces were shut down, which led to methods of eLearning being adopted.
Some of the most popular forms include web-based, application-based and video-based eLearning. Even though the pandemic and associated risks have lowered, one thing is certain, eLearning is here to stay and will continue to evolve in the coming years.