The outbreak of the COVID-19 has forced educational facilities to switch to an electronic mode. The innumerable online learning platforms are already functioning in the market (Udemy, Coursera, Lynda, Skillshare, Udacity). They comprise entire degree programs and particular certifications which enable to take the next step in the career or to pursue a practical qualification. Harvard, MIT, Berkeley, and the University of Arizona have forged an edX website with free access to most of their courses. The studying conception has been adjusted. Naturally, many students are displeased. They experienced the burden of tuition fees and didn’t get the expected services. Once the vaccine is made and financial hardship sailed through students plan to get back to the way things were before. However, contemporaries voice their opinions and suggestions for the eLearning to be continued. This idea rapidly becomes the center of an online panel hosted by the Guardian and supported by Adobe. Will education as we know it shifts for good?
Let’s not Rush to an Answer. What is e-learning Exactly?
Astoundingly, little scientific research concerning online classes has been carried out. A professor at University College in London, Allison Littlejohn emphasizes it’s essential to differentiate between distance and online learning. Distance learning is likely to remain unpopular among the masses because students value social activities on campuses. Online learning, on the other hand, is considered to be a futuristic trend. It is a blended form of learning which utilizes electronic systems but doesn’t exclude face-to-face encounters. A compromise which unites traditional and innovative. Reasonably, online learning has a bunch of advantages and disadvantages. Before jumping to any conclusions, let’s uncover them.
The Technological Perks Land-Based Learning Can’t Boast of:
- more personalized approach. Automated grading systems can determine and evaluate your strong points and devise specific tasks to improve your areas of weakness;
- flexible cooperation. It is simpler to share theories and discoveries with other universities via Internet connection. One informative course can substitute the long hours of surfing through unordered web pages;
- more opportunities for the disabled;
- career-oriented subjects. Higher institutions can display what makes their offers distinctive;
- dedicated individuals wouldn’t commute in nerve-wracking hot wagons. Homework can be tailored to your timetable;
- less money. Scholars can be freed of the bills of pressure. They can devour enthralling books and forget sitting on two chairs;
- a chance for self-effacing or insecure freshers to stand up and be heard in online class discussions. A gathering of 200 people in the hall can cause stage fright. Meanwhile, chatting from your house, with only 15 groupmates listening to you, eases the tension;
- the gap between reality and virtue is bridged. With online education you can be a student union member, enter digital library and join artistic clubs.
The Possible Traps of eLearning
- some skeptics believe that online certificates and diplomas are not counted as reputable ones. Nevertheless, it has proven to be the opposite. Statistically, more and more employers choose the electronic version over the paper because the former implicates sheer effort and powerful motivation;
- parents worry on and off about countless distractions the Internet poses, i.e. video games, social networks, films and serials. The trouble is: students and pupils might be sidetracked by uncontrollable data flow. Researches argue and advice to look at the situation from a different angle. As a matter of fact, engaging multimedia content, no risk for the study to interfere with the personal life contribute to better academic performance. The Research Institute of America revealed shocking results of their survey: participants who took eLearning courses almost never lost their focus. Student retention rates increased from 25% to 60%. Since online lectures were interspersed with short quizzes, mind-wandering decreased by half, note-taking tripled and the overall grasp of the material ameliorated. These findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by psychologists D. Schacter and K. Szpunar;
- opponents of online learning caution about the cheating options. They state tricking a multiple choice test is a piece of cake. The problem may be solved with cutting edge technological resources. Online institutions toil to ensure cheating won’t be tolerated in any e-learning course. Platforms use advanced plagiarism detection software. Thus, assignments are analyzed from top to bottom and additionally checked by instructors. In many cases, in order to avoid unfair assessments, web activities of students are tracked during the exam as well.
- Undoubtedly, there is much work to be done in shifting the personnel to a digital format. Original methods are yet to be created, but panelists think positive and embrace the changes eagerly. Lecturers attend webinars, exchange experiences and put forward their projects.
Online learning bears the tremendous potential for future generations. It teaches self-discipline, responsibility, punctuality and allows channeling efforts in the right direction. A well-rounded education is now up for grabs even in the most remote parts of the world. The abundance of courses and programs is offered at an agreeable price. You can pick up any subject, regardless of your age. So, don’t hesitate to join the e-community and open the door to new tomorrow.
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