Today, the computer is here to stay in all forms of teaching, from primary and higher education to continuing education. Because to remain in the labor market, people need to keep themselves more active “in working form.” It is not always possible to do this without the Internet and a computer. It is impossible to imagine a higher education institution or an educational enterprise that does not have a computer class or does not use the Internet to publish its educational materials. Learning online has recently been known collectively as eLearning. The Internet allows students to expand their capabilities significantly.
When getting an education online, however, the expansion of technological capabilities is only one of the sides of the learning process.
Another significant aspect is didactics, that is how to prepare materials, what should be the possibilities of communication, how to organize forums, what should be the possibilities of self-control, and, finally, how to ensure actual conduct of examinations/tests. There are indeed enough problems, but opportunities for higher education and additional training are expanding.
Naturally, there are specialties where direct communication with a teacher, such as medicine, aviation, sea navigation and so on, is necessary for mastering the material. However, computer simulations can also be used to some extent in these specialties. Nevertheless, it is clear that starting from a certain level of skills, and one must have direct experience to learn a profession.
The Understanding of eLearning
Because eLearning is a relatively new type of thinking in the area of education, the understanding of the features and applications is somewhat different. Without getting deeper into the different kinds of organization of the educational process in this case offered by various schools of pedagogy, note that that absolute truth, that is, one and the best teaching method does not exist. One approach and a student is close by one approach, the other by another.
In general, eLearning is a relatively wide area of the educational process, starting with the use of audio-visual objects in the classroom and ending with conducting electronic training courses in a particular Internet environment, essentially never meeting with the teacher indirectly. Also, to improve your skills and cope with specific tasks more successfully, you can use the additional functions of the software (installation procedures, hyperlinks, various tutorials, etc.).
Lecture materials in universities have recently been considered eLearning, loaded into the educational information system. In recent years, however, people believe that one can view eLearning as a learning process through universal eLearning environments. eLearning systems, of course, are many, as the specialization and accents can be very different. Moodle, IVA, Edutizer, etc. mainly use the method of higher and secondary specialized education.
The main characteristics of eLearning
If to somehow generalize and systematize the approaches above, then the main characteristics of eLearning are the statements:
Within the software (Microsoft, Linux, etc.) some opportunities give users the chance to learn and use all sorts of additional features and options.
Educational information systems and homepages where teachers can upload their materials; there are also simple knowledge testing systems in some educational information systems.
Unfortunately, the process of developing such systems is time-consuming, and therefore their number is small, but they are the most effective means of learning the material. Universal eLearning environments that are designed either at the request of large universities or for commercial purposes, such as WebCT, Edutizer, Luvit, Moodle, IVA, etc.
Along with the existing social networks (Facebook, Twitter, various blogs, Second Life environment, etc.), object-oriented Internet environments are emerging that will allow students to study subjects much more efficiently, using the principles of “learning by doing.”
For the above list, it is difficult to make a rating, and it is preferably the evolution of the learning process as a result of the development of technology and our own beliefs – from simple to complex. At the same time, the less direct contacts between teachers and students take place, and the more motivated the student should be.
Independent work that requires willpower and concentration is an integral part of eLearning. Unfortunately, these very traits of character are very different for students. When comparing student motivation, it is interesting to note that, on average, students are more motivated when studying career subjects and less motivated when studying basic education subjects. During advanced training, where students choose the field in which they want to fulfill their knowledge, motivation is much higher in comparison to students.
Video lectures as a part of eLearning
There are many discussions about video lectures – whether to use them and to what extent. Since the audio-visual technology is developing very rapidly, students likely have the opportunity to listen to video lectures. However, talks at a technically poor level or, even worse, with a poor methodological level of explanation, will not attract anyone. Thus, preliminary preparation of lectures and technical support should be at the level. Moreover, a lot depends on the artistry of the teacher.
All this should give an acceptable learning outcome. Worries that video lectures will be in use by the best specialists only, whose talks are audible are as unreasonable as fears about the disintegration of theaters after the invention of sound recordings. A direct display will always be, because the nuances of the presentation and the disclosure of professional problems, which is characteristic of each teacher-personality, are not still possible to track in the recording.
Problems may arise when using aids to check the level of knowledge, which is relatable to motivation. If there is a desire to acquire knowledge, then the students will do the tests by themselves, if the goal is only to get a high mark, then the experience will remain in the background, and there will be attempts to use dishonest approaches.
In conclusion, we can say that eLearning has its positive and negative sides. If we consider the positive aspects, it is important to note that eLearning allows students to use their time more rationally, to study when they have the opportunity to do so and pay more attention to those parts of the subject that they consider essential. Students who for some reason cannot attend regular lectures will find their way to education.
Within the framework of the modern paradigm of lifelong learning, this is an excellent opportunity for many to improve their skills and knowledge for sustainable competitiveness in the labor market. On the part of the organization of training, you can bring savings in training and educational activities; you can note the financial savings for students, in the form of lower transportation costs.
Skeptics believe that the negative side of eLearning is, first of all, reduced opportunities for communication. There are fears that communication skills will deteriorate, anonymous e-acquaintances with whom they never meet face to face will replace personal contacts. The personality of the teacher, the role of an example, which is to experience during direct listening to lectures, because it is impossible to transmit emotions via electronic channels, will also disappear. Besides, they often underestimate the costs associated with developing new courses, as this is an entirely new approach to the construction of the material.
One should always keep in mind the fact that eLearning is not just automatic copying of traditional learning within the framework of new opportunities. eLearning requires an entirely new approach, and this already concerns the field of didactics. Thus, the preparation process is very long.
One has to pay some serious attention to the organization of feedback since all students should be able to get answers to their questions. There are probably expenses in this area, as the teacher is not physically able to communicate with everyone, so it is imperative to use the help of advisers.
Melisa Marzett is a writer of guest post articles living in Phoenix, Arizona and working for my papers and findwritingservice. She was a journalist and a translator for about ten years has a particular interest in translation techniques, and keep an ear to the ground. She focuses more on writing and composing for the last four years.