The digital revolution and smartphone boom over the years has made technology the key to a new world of education. The shift from traditional learning to new – and arguably, a lot more advantageous – e-learning is luring personals committed to the field. Scholars and teachers from all across the world believe eLearning has the capability to change the instructional landscape.
Today, after years of continuous testing and studies, online learning has gained acceptance across the length and breadth of the world. From location flexibility to enormous interactive content, e-learning is actually proving to be a more efficient and effective way for students to learn.
A report on online education, conducted by SRI International for the Development of Education concluded, “On average, students in online learning conditions performed better than those receiving face-to-face instruction.”
“The study’s major significance lies in demonstrating that online learning today is not just better than nothing – it actually tends to be better than conventional instruction,” says Barbara Means, the study’s lead author and an educational psychologist at SRI International.
The report is not criticizing traditional education. Instead, it claims that online education is set to expand sharply over the next few years. The foremost goal of online education is providing learning experiences that are more tailored to individual students than what is possible in classrooms.
With such reports doing the rounds, it is sure that e-learning is not bowing down any time soon instead, will rapidly snowball in the upcoming years. So,
How will Transformation from traditional learning to e-learning impact students and trainers?
E-learning is not only about innovation and technology it is more a matter of culture. Through a digitalization of the learning experience, both teachers and students are able to improve their skills, with a common goal of creating a more engaging and effective educational process.
With digital transformation, learning is cheap as there is no more need to stop by the library to collect so many heavy books. Nevertheless, bookaholics will argue that reading from machines is often tiresome. Plus, machines do not smell like books do, which is a fair enough reason to stay roped with traditional learning.
And let us not forget about the burst of free tools that makes a task like an assignment writing or sketching a lot easier. Educational institutions can guarantee equal access to learning resources while saving money. However, you might miss drawing on blackboards or whiteboards.
Traditional learning focuses on the classroom education. It is restricted to certain boundaries and time limit. You need to attend the classes, to be a part of group activities designed to hone a student’s skills. With e-learning, you have the flexibility to choose any of your convenient time for the learning. The e-learning is more user-friendly but less socializing.
One of the most powerful and positive impacts of digital transformation today is the possibility to build learning content in a faster way. Educators can now prepare their courses and programmers after gaining insight into content, previously developed by educators from their same department but other institutions.
Customized learning for each student has surely made education more productive. Individual needs are detected quickly and progress is accelerated. However, the impact is not the same for all. Personally speaking, though there is so much of interactive content available even today a book lures me more than any form of online content.
Switching from regular studies to e-learning what needs to be done
From an institution point of view
A number of students find difficult adjusting with the new mode of teaching, after having internalized with so much of face-to-face interactions over the years. Even though online education might seem like an easy way of obtaining an education, but a sudden change from traditional learning to e-learning could confuse some students. The difference in study patterns, teaching methods, and even timing can leave many thinking.
“Having a little knowledge of e-learning is much more dangerous than having no knowledge at all.”
Thus, one-step after the other mindset is necessary. Concentrated efforts should be applied to identify the areas of weakness and the cure. Some steps, which educational institutions can incorporate at their level, include:
- Improve the quality of all online courses to make sure that the performance is at par with students of day-to-day learning;
- Conducting e-learning awareness training sessions;
- Sharing case studies of success stories.
It is essential that such measures be incorporated at the earliest in order to encourage students to opt for online courses. Also, this would prevent students from developing an inferiority complex from the students who have been trained by face to face learning.
Creating adaptive learning content
If you will ever use specialist programs such as DreamBox (Math) or Carnegie Math, you will notice how these programs adapt to the sequence and material presented after a deep analysis of student’s understanding of a mathematical concept.
Moreover, adaptivity is also seen in programs like Knewton, specially designed to adapt and personalizes its presentation based on student answers and errors.
In order to better personalize online education and increase its reach – making it more user-friendly – it is important to tailor programs and courses based on a student’s needs. This adaptivity is often referred to as branching technology, where a student’s responses and actions after the completion of a task are judged and the difficulty level of the next activity is set accordingly.
If students are new to the concept, they should not feel that e-learning is full of complications, as it will only demotivate them. Rather, building effective adaptive content should be the only focus.
Trainers need to switch as well
Trainers play a crucial role in the e-learning process. Right from helping in creating courses to explaining them to their students, the success of a course depends on them, so it is crucial to explain to them how they will contribute to e-learning.
- Help in creating online courses by lending their subject matter expertise and skills;
- Conduct online webinars;
- Guide designers in creating courses;
- Create personalized learning materials to meet the needs of individual learners.
Moreover, trainers have to also try adapting to the changing educational environment as they would be the one addressing 100s of students. Thus, if will feel left out it will probably demotivate students as well. Teachers can also join online professional learning communities to ask questions and share their views, staying connected and animating the common goal to create an evolved, high-quality standard of education.
At a time when change is faster, we must try to incorporate positive changes in our study pattern too. E-Learning courses can have a positive and direct impact on how students learn and trainers teach. If implemented properly e-learning can be very profitable and effective. But we are still quite far from achieving that feat.
Students do not want to give up on traditional education because it seems more professional and connecting, which is right. On the other hand, many students are already enjoying the likes of e-learning. It all depends on adaptability, and what you think about the two completely different learning process.
Author: Himanshi Goel has been associated as a Social Media Expert with CDR-Report.com since its start. She really loves to pen down her thoughts on mental constructs, habits, personal development and anything that pleases her eyes.