What is e-Learning?
e-Learning is a short form of ‘Electronic Learning‘. As the name suggests, electronic learning implies the form of learning which is imparted, aided or supported by any electronic devices, media or resources. In the simplest sense, e-Learning is the learning which is facilitated by using advanced learning technology primarily demanding the services of computers, networking and multimedia.
In the simplest sense, e-learning makes purposeful use of information and communication technology, in imparting synchronous and asynchronous learning and teaching activities. It includes online learning, distributed learning, virtual learning, web-based learning and so forth.
Basically, it incorporates all the educational activities which are undertaken by individuals or groups, be it online or offline. It facilitates people to learn anytime and anywhere, by connecting teachers and students who are not physically present at the site, i.e. they are miles apart.
Characteristics of e-Learning
The characteristics of e-Learning are discussed as under:
- e-Learning is a comprehensive term, which implies computer-enhanced learning.
- It is purely restricted to online learning, undertaken by way of the internet or web-enabled technology.
- It has a wider implication than computer-based learning or computer-aided instruction.
- It is not a synonym of audio-visual learning, multimedia learning, distance learning as these are just complementary.
- It has to be clear that the word ‘e-learning’ is confined to the form of learning undertaken, facilitated and supported via Web-based instructions and Internet-based communication.
Types of e-Learning
There are three main types of e-Learning:
- Text Driven: In a text-driven e-learning course, the content is simple and comprises text, images, audio, power-point presentation and text questions
- Interactive: In an interactive e-learning course, interactive components can be found which enhances the value of learning. It may include graphics, charts, diagrams, videos, etc.
- Simulation: It is a highly interactive kind of e-learning, which includes graphics, video, audio and games too.
Benefits of e-Learning
The advantages of e-Learning are discussed below:
- Accommodates Everyone’s needs: It suits everyone’s needs, i.e. be it a working person or housewife or a student, anyone can have access to the information, as per their own pace.
- Lectures can be taken multiple times: In contrast with traditional classroom teaching, one can have access to the content any number of times, required during revision while preparing for exams.
- Quick delivery of lessons: It enables quick delivery of lessons as the lessons start quickly and summed up in a single lecture, and the learners can determine their own speed of learning. Also, it saves time for the students, they don’t need to travel to the institution.
- Scalability: It facilitates in developing and communicating new training policies, concepts and ideas, be it for formal education or entertainment.
- Consistency: It tends to enable the teachers to reach millions of students in one go and communicate the message to the target audience. Moreover, all the students get the same training at the same time.
- Reduced Costs: It is cost-effective, in the sense that people don’t need to spend more on travelling, course material, accommodation, and trainers.
- Environment-friendly: This mode of learning is a paperless way of learning which protects the environment to a great extent.
E-Learning is just a means of learning that integrates technology, communication, efficiency and self-motivation. As there is little interaction between the teacher and students, they are required to keep themselves motivated. It facilitates the learners to incorporate learning around their lifestyles, allowing people to further their career and acquire new skills.