With the technological development, learning has become easier, cheaper, and flexible. E-learning enables students to attend classes online, without having to travel to school. Compared to traditional classrooms whereby traveling is involved, students can acquire the same quality education at home, as long as there is availability of internet connection. Despite some criticisms associated with e-learning, such as lack of socialization and interaction of students, its advantages overweigh the demerits. For instance, students gain computer skills at an early age and in addition, they have a variety of academic sources to choose from the web. This essay elaborates the importance of e-learning and its effectiveness and reliability, as compared to a traditional classroom.
According to Liao, Martocchio & Joshi (2010, p.204), e-learning involves forms of electronically supported education, which includes the use of internet, intranet, teleconferencing, computer conferencing, and chatting among other tools to enhance effective delivery of instructions from the instructor to the learners. E-learning has proved to be beneficial in the modern world, with the emergence of online learning, and it has become easier for students to choose distant education that rhymes with their work and social commitments. Moreover, online learning has become effective especially since it is offered at an affordable price and it incorporates quality in its practices.
Using electronic media ensures flexibility in vocational education, as it includes easier accessibility to downloads, and web resources, both at the place of work and at home (Choy, 2007, p. 2). E-learning has proved to be effective in acquiring skills that are applicable in modern organizations. According to Bartley & Golek (2004, p.176), e-learning is “valuable for students who juggle demanding work, familial and social schedules that necessitate access to learning in special forms.” In early days, online learning was limited to a few people, but due to technology, today, internet can be accessed by almost everyone.
In addition, online learning is flexible such that, students can take their classes anytime and anywhere as long as they are connected to the internet. Another advantage of e-learning is that a student’s class work can be scheduled around his professional and personal work. In addition, travel costs are reduced and time wastage is minimal. Bartley & Golek (2004, p.169) add that e-learning reduces the training process especially in organizations,
Is e-learning more powerful than traditional classroom?
Until recently, training was never done in front of a computer; instead, learning was conducted in classrooms by qualified instructors. However, today, due to the advancing technology, e-learning has been adopted by not only learning institutions, but also by organizations. E-learning has therefore come a long way and there seems no end to e-learning in the near future. Nevertheless, E-learning provides learners with certain benefits, one of them being cost-effectiveness, as well as giving the learner a chance to plan his/her time well. Indeed, the learner is able to plan based on his/her financial strength, as well as being allowed to conduct learning from any location at any convenient time and place. Therefore it is less expensive than attending a traditional classroom (DelVecchio & Loughney, 2006).
Flexibility is another advantage associated with e-learning, since classes can be taken anywhere. In addition, online education is available whenever it is needed; it can be done at home, workplace in a cab, for 24 hours a day and seven days a week. It is also possible to conduct assessments on students and keep a record and track of the students’ performance over a given period of time. Moreover, e-learning allows students to learn through different modes and under different environments that are convenient to them; this is in addition to allowing students to learn at their most convenient pace as well as incorporating other tasks that can reinforce their learning progress.
In addition, learning can take place even during the night, just as the student prefers; however, in traditional classroom, learning cannot take place throughout the night due to rigidity of learning program, which must be followed strictly. Moreover, the student may not have any influence on the program used in traditional classroom, unlike in e-learning where point of reference in relation to time lies with him/her. E-learning enables students to have access to worldwide web, hence finding information that is relevant and having a wide variety of information to choose from (DelVecchio & Loughney, 2006). Knowledge of the internet enables the students to be effective in their future careers. Nayak & Kalyankar (2010, p.208) emphasize that, e-learning is effective to child development and learning, and it bears opportunities to support and strengthen professional learning.
In the modern world, e-learning is believed to shape children’s lives at home and in schools, as e-learning technologies have a great impact on education. In addition, ICT assists children in child’s language development, in terms of listening, reading and writing; for instance, word processors enable children to compose and write sentences without having to write by hand. Therefore, internet promotes flexibility, convenience, and accessibility especially in learning. According to Mupinga (2005, p.105), cable television enables broadcast of online courses, hence, students are able to watch classes online while at home, and they can submit assignments online.
Online education boosts distance learning by enabling students to gain knowledge and skills, as the case with traditional classrooms; however, students do not have to necessarily travel. Distance learning fosters flexibility in terms of when and where they prefer taking their courses. Choy (2007, p.12) adds that, e-learning offers students a rich, motivating, and compelling learning experience. Concannon, Flynn & Campbell (2005, p.502) emphasize that, changes in the market for delivering education are also being witnessed; therefore, most diplomas and degrees especially in the United Kingdom are offered via ICT. E-learning has also been beneficial to the students based in remote areas, where access to schools is not possible. With this kind of technology, a teacher is able to reach such students and they get an opportunity to learn subjects required at school.
Disadvantages of E-learning
Despite e-learning effectiveness, there are claims that it hinders student’s interaction and socialization, as they are glued at home and on the internet, hence, they lack the opportunity of meeting and interacting with other students at school (Mupinga, 2005, p.107). E-learning demands the presence of a computer and internet connection as well; computer skills are necessary such as word programs and emailing, such that, the absence of such skills can contributes to failure in e-learning. Students may also have difficulties installing certain software that are required in class, therefore contributing to poor performances. In this case, it is becomes more expensive in the short run, as the student is forced to learn computer application programs first, which actually cost money, before embarking on their preferred career programs.
In addition, students are expected to dedicate their time to effective learning, a similar case in traditional classes, failure to which, it may cause low performance due to students dragging behind academically. There is also a possibility of time conflict between the students and the instructors such that, when the student may be in need of instructor’s attention but the instructor may not be available at the time (DelVecchio & Loughney, 2006). Unmotivated students with poor learning habits may perform poorly academically; unreliable & slow internet connection may be a challenge to the students. Broadley (2007, p.8) adds that implementation of e-learning in schools may play a role in changing the role of teachers.
In e-learning, softwares need to be regularly updated to avoid any problems. This is because technology keeps on changing with time, which means that even the software applications used in e-learning have undergo upgrading process in order to keep up with the technology. In addition, students can use internet connection failure as a scapegoat for not finishing assignments, while slow internet connection may prove to be a nuisance. Therefore, the student must ensure that the internet service provider is reliable in order to avoid any inconveniences caused by poor connectivity. In addition, instructors can hardly notice a student’s lack of concentration, such as day dreaming; however, in a traditional classroom, a teacher is likely to notice such behaviors that could compromise a student’s academic performance.
Change is necessary at some point in our lives, as the technology advances day by day. It is necessary that e-learning is introduced at the early ages of learning. Traditional classrooms have been in existence for a long period of time; it requires class attendance, time to travel, and a substantial amount of fees. E-learning enables one to be flexible in learning, as classes can be attended anywhere and at anytime. In addition, distance learning has become easier and effective. Time and costs are saved and the student has a wide variety of academic sources in the web. Judging from these differences, e-learning is effective especially when studying, and mostly for the working group who have no time to attend classes. In addition, e-learning enables one to be effective in computer skills, which are an advantage to their future careers. Therefore, E-learning has a future as technology continues to advance, hence demanding change especially in the educational field.
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DelVecchio, K., & Loughney, M. (2006). Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning; E-Learning Concepts and Techniques. Web.
Liao, H., Martocchio, J., & Joshi, A. (2010). Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management. NY: Emerald Group Publishing.
Mupinga, D. (2005). Distance Education in High Schools; Benefits, Challenges, and Suggestions. (Attached document).
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