Career in E-Learning
E-Learning and its Prospects
Revolutions have always begun from the world of words and ideas. It comes as no surprise that education is breaking all predefined boundaries to weave its own attractive web in the Internet. The term “E-Learning” was coined in the late 1990s to describe the use of technology to deliver learning and training programs.
E-Learning is a term that means something different to almost everyone who uses it. Some think only of web – based self – study while others realize E-Learning can encompass real – time learning and collaboration. E-learning is the unifying term to describe the fields of online learning, web – based learning, and technology delivered instructions.
E-Learning does not require physical classroom attendance. Via the Internet, the learning experience is delivered to the user personably and effectively.
We are all familiar with classroom – based learning (c-Learning) which is face – to – face group learning led by an instructor or subject matter expert.
In E-Learning environments learners interact with learning materials, their instructors and other learners from various locations and often at various times using network technologies.
It has been said that there are two reasons why we learn; some leaning is essentially forced on us while the other is what we sit back and enjoy. E-Learning has brought back the joy in learning through its innovative, interactive content and delivery.
Definition of E-Learning
The development of the E-learning revolution arose from a number of other ‘educational revolutions’. Four such revolutions are :
- The invention of reading & writing.
- The emergence of the profession of teacher / scholar.
- The development of moveable type (Print Technology).
- The development of electronic technology.
E-Learning is the effective learning process created by combining digitally delivered content with (learning) support and services. It can be defined as;
- The convergence of the Internet and learning, or Internet – enabled learning.
- The use of network technologies to create fosters, deliver, and facilitate learning, anytime and anywhere.
The delivery of individualized, comprehensive, dynamic learning content in real time, aiding the development of communities of knowledge, linking learning learners and practitioners with experts.
Research indicates that students generally appear to be at least as satisfied with their online classes as they are with traditional ones. Developments in internet and multimedia technologies are the basic enabler of e-learning, with content, technologies and services being identified as the three key sectors of the e-learning industry.
Many higher educations, for profit institutions, now offer online classes. By contrast, only about half of private, non – profit schools offer them. Online education is rapidly increasing, and online doctoral programs have even developed at leading research universities.
Learners learn better through use of clear headings, limited distracters, visuals, screen – friendly fonts, appropriate white space, web safe colours, etc. Unlike the conventional distance education program that has no direct link between the teacher and the student, online education provides ample space for interaction.
The learner takes centre stage to pace the learning process, while tinstructor assume the role of a coach, encouraging the learner to achieve the learning objectives. Online learning, which incorporates tools like video conferencing, audio streaming and chatting, is gaining opinion among the student community for its flexible structure which allows them to access lessons and take tests from anywhere in the world.
E-learning can include independent, facilitated, or collaborative approaches to learning. Independent learning refers to each individual learner completing learning activities or modules on their own, in their own environment, on their own schedule.
Facilitated learning is designed to be completed through interaction with instructors or coaches. There are several ways this can work, for example, a learner might complete a section of learning online then discuss key concepts via e – mail with the instructor or with classmates. Collaborative learning relates to working with other learners in an online environment.
For example : An e – mail discussion with other learners on a particular topic or everyone posting to a bulletin board or course room.
E-Learning Technology :
E-Learning can make use of a wide range of technologies and media. These technologies can be categorized by delivery media or interaction tools.
Delivery Media :
- Print (texts, study guides and workbooks are still very common in online learning courses.)
- Audio (Streaming audio – Used to deliver the instructors comments over any network and audio tapes)
- Video (streamed, video, cable TV)
- Data (web pages, CBT computer files, online tests, interactive tools)
E-Learning Interactive Tools :
E-learning has been broadly divided into two categories; the Asynchronous (not existing at the same phase) method, which is devoid of any virtual class room interaction or time stipulations and the more popular, Synchronous method, in which the members exist in the same time phase in a cyber class room. The latter is preferred due to its convenience, liveliness derived from regular interaction and for the motivation factor.
Flexibility, time to reflect, situated learning and cost effective learning are the advantages of asynchronous learning while motivation, good feed – back and pacing are the advantages of synchronous learning.
1. E – mail : Used for questions and discussions.
2. Web Forums : also called discussions forums or bulletin boards. They are probably the most common form of interaction in online courses.
3. Newsgroups : Public forums that use the Usenet system.
4. BBS : a computer bulletin board that you dial like a web forum + email + file transfer.
1. Chat Rooms : can be either moderated by an instructor of un-moderated for class use.
2. Shared Whiteboards : allow class members to write on the same digital white board.
3. Application Sharing : The same program and file can be shared for demonstration or collaboration.
4. Teleconferencing : Could be used to deliver instructor audio, or for collaboration.
5. Videoconferencing : Either from expensive, high quality, dedicated systems, or from less reliable desktop versions.
6. MMOs & MUDs : Virtual worlds where users take on avatars and interact in various ways.
E-learning lessons are generally designed to guide the students through information or to help students perform in specific tasks. Information based E-learning content communicates information to the student.
- There are lots of good reasons to consider an online E-learning program :
- Online learning is more affordable than traditional classroom learning, with savings of 60% or more.
Online courses can be taken in multiple sittings and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to better accommodate your busy schedule.
Online learning is as mobile as you are! Your learning can take place on the road, in the cafe, or any other place you have an internet accessible computer.
Prospects of E-Learning : As per William Glasser.
- 10% of what we read.
- 20% of what we hear.
- 30% of what we see.
- 50% of what we see and hear.
- 70% of what we discuss with others.
- 80% of what we experience personally.
- 95% of what we teach someone else.
Prospects of E-learning can be summarized as follows :
Dynamism : Learners progress at the pace that suits them best, at the time that suits them best while getting the information that they need.
Real time : have access to information that is correct and up to date through the web, information databases or university or company intranets.
Collaboration : Learners are able to meet in a virtual space with other members and practitioner experts to discuss issues, answer questions and even participate in simulations and management games without having to leave their office or home.
Speed of delivery : Learners benefit from learning when required, learners are able to access the right sort of training at the right time with the right people.
Convenience : Learners have access when they want it.
Consistency : Learners have access to the same materials.
Global reach : Learners regardless of where they are receive the same message and are able to engage other learners and practitioners globally.
Future of E-learning :
The world is shrinking rapidly. The Internet has brought the world together in ways that nobody would have expected. You can now attend a college half way around the world, with students from any country with Internet access.
Knowledge is expanding at a tremendous rate. Just – in – Time learning that meets the needs of individuals as they occur, makes learning more meaningful and effective.
It will be heartening to know that the Indian E-Learning industry is estimated to grow up to $182 billion by 2009. The Indian government has also taken significant steps towards dissemination of information through a number of e-Learning projects, not only for rural students but for the community at large.
E-Learning has created a new dimension in education, both within and beyond the curriculum and is still looking at further opportunities of becoming more useful via new emerging technologies. We are really on the threshold of new opportunities and this is just the beginning of a new horizon of education.
The power of e-learning lies in its potential to provide the right information to the right people at the right time and place, and not only due to its “anyone, anyplace, anytime model”. Technology advancements will continue to reshape learning over the Internet with increasing use of streaming, TV – quality video and simulation based e-learning.
The same technology is bound to make major inroads in schools in the coming years. One of the clearest directions that e-learning has taken in the last few years is in the development, promulgation, and adoption of a range of technical specifications and standards for e-learning.
The creation of technical specifications and the development and adoption of technical standards are key activities ultimately underpinning the success of e-learning globally.
World over, the online education market is booming, and surveys by leading market research firms indicate that online education will follow an upward moving graph and that more and more institutions, organizations and individuals will implement this mode of learning.
As per the recent remarks of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, 11th five year plan will be dedicated to “National Education”, clearly indicates the future of e-learning in India in coming years.