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What does e-learning mean?

In basic words, the word e-learning refers to electronic learning. It is a learning process that includes electronic devices like computers or laptops. It uses information and communication as a learning mode and delivers electronically, using database and learning management systems. E-learning offers a comprehensive range of interactive online services that give instructors, learners, and other participants access to knowledge, tools, and resources to improve the management and delivery of education.

Why is e-learning becoming popular?

The coronavirus epidemic has positively impacted the expansion of the e-learning market in 2020. It is substituting the traditional classroom teaching. Online learning or e-learning fundamentally is changing the way people learn and grow. It is highly interactive and has a high-fidelity rate. E-learning ensures that every learner learns the same amount of knowledge using standardized training techniques. Digitization of content boosts the rising demand from the corporate sector as well. Therefore, learners are inclined more towards online learning. One can use e-learning to fulfill different purposes:

  1. The ability to train a big group of people at a cheaper cost with a faster possible speed of delivery is one of the most beneficial aspects of e-learning.
  2. Due to less printing and travel by learners, e-learning has a minor environmental impact. In e-learning, everything is digital. Pen and paper are not required. Electronic devices note everything from the lesson. The learner does not have to go to the institution, so transportation is unnecessary. It shows that e-learning follows a greener approach.
  3. It connects distant learners. The use of online learning techniques makes it feasible to communicate with learners who are located all over the world. Every learner around the globe can take part in the same learning environment.
  4. Online learning transforms workforce training. It lets the employees upskill their job at a faster rate and creates significant opportunities for economic mobility. As a result, there is a shift in the company’s productivity rate.

Types of e-learning

There are three basic categories of e-learning:

  1. Online Synchronous Learning
  2. Online Asynchronous Learning
  3. Blended Mode of Learning

What is online synchronous learning?

The word synchronous refers to the same time. In Online Synchronous learning, learners and instructors are engaged in course content simultaneously using the internet. It needs all the participants to be available online at the same time. It is very similar to traditional classroom teaching. The difference is that the classroom is over the net. This engagement allows for easy give-and-take discussion via chatting, messaging, calling, and video conferencing. It can create a highly social learning environment just like a traditional classroom.

Online synchronous learning tools

  1. Virtual Classroom (Google Classroom)
  2. Audio and Video Conferencing (Zoom, Google meet, Microsoft team, Skype)
  3. Instant Chat (WhatsApp, Telegram)
  4. Virtual instructor-led training (VILT), e.g., WebEx or webinars

What is online asynchronous learning?

Asynchronous learning is the opposite of what synchronous learning is. The word asynchronous means not at the same time. In the asynchronous learning method, instructors generate online content in advance, and learners engage with it as per their schedules. In the Asynchronous learning method, learning does not happen in the same place or in real-time. It allows learners to access information whenever they need it. Instead of going online for an interactive session, the learners tend to complete the training independently in their flexible time. It supports an individualized learning environment. Enrolled learners can access their e-learning courses from different places at different times. It makes asynchronous online learning an instructor independent program. It is a learner-centered teaching method that uses online resources to facilitate learning.

Online asynchronous learning tools

  1. Email
  2. Websites
  3. Blogs/ Weblogs
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Podcasts
  6. Facebook
  7. Video streaming services, such as YouTube
  8. Twitter
  9. LinkedIn Learning
  10. Discussion Forums
  11. Courses on platforms (Coursera, Udemy, Unacademy, Skillshare, Shaw Academy, etc.)
  12. Microlearning
  13. e-learning courses on Learning Management Systems

Blended learning

In the blended method of e-learning, there are features of both types that are synchronous and asynchronous learning. It is also known as Hybrid learning. This approach is even more flexible and can easily mold any learning goal.

Advantages of e-learning

  1. Efficiency: Online learning enables instructors to use different tools such as online videos, PDFs, and podcasts. Instructors can use these tools as part of their lessons. Learners can access the resources, be it notes, theories, diagrams, or PPTs, at any time of the day.
  2. Consistency: Lessons are taught in a consistent manner using standard training. It makes sure that every learner receives the same quantity of knowledge.
  3. Flexibility: The learners can always study whenever and wherever they want to. E-Learning can allow learners to use unique tools, expertise, and course content that would otherwise not be available. It makes it easier for learners who struggle in the classroom due to physical limitations or learning difficulties to engage in school.
  4. Accessible: E-learning is ever-evolving. It is becoming less expensive and more accessible as the days pass and is customizable to meet the needs of any organization. It allows employers to make this training structure easily accessible to employees across the company, resulting in more people learning and qualifying for promotions.
  5. Cost-effective: With no transportation costs and resources available online, e-learning courses are a more cost-effective solution than the traditional learning technique.
  6. Importance of visual learning: 90% of info transmuted in the brain is visual. The E-learning environment provides the learner with a visual learning platform essential for a learning experience.
  7. Individual-oriented: By providing individualized programs, online learning gives learners a safer and more controlled environment. It generates an individualized experience for them. Also, e-learning is highly engaging and realistic to keep the learners attentive.
  8. Instant feedback: Unlike regular learning, e-learning platforms provide learners instant feedback that helps them evaluate their growth and motivates them. The learners receive feedback from fellow online learners or the platform itself. Tests conducted through online quizzes or some pre-designed software provide the learners with immediate response or feedback.
  9. Higher retention: Using digital resources, including presentations and multimedia that includes images, videos, and audio, learners learn more than any traditional learning method.
  10. Avoids commuting: Learners don’t have to worry about transportation with online learning. The learnings are available at any time and in any place. Therefore, they save much time and money on online learning during the commute.

Tips to keep learners involved in an e-learning environment

  1. New tools: Allow learners time to acquire new tools in low-stakes activities. Giving them time to explore will build their confidence with the device and help them in future projects.
  2. Add variety: Let learners choose various mediums when presenting their understanding. To keep the learners interested, use movement exercises. Combine musical components into teaching to help the learners learn. Giving them options ensures their voices are a part of the learning process.
  3. Break it up: Do not conduct class in the same way online as offline. Breaking up the lesson into chunks and delivering short synchronous lessons online allow learners to work independently or in digital groups for the rest of the time.
  4. Make it interactive: At the beginning of each lesson, tell the learners a fascinating fact. To get learners to participate in live classes, begin with a warm-up activity. Assign group tasks that require them to collaborate. Use online breakout rooms, collaborative whiteboards, and embedding games to allow learners to connect.
  5. Take breaks: Break things up with creative exercises and activities. More than 45 minutes of screen time in one sitting can be hard on the eyes and mind. Let the learners take screen-free breaks to reset the mind and the body.

Infographics

What is e-learning

What is e-learning

Conclusion

To conclude, e-learning is a unique approach that can improve learning and transform the entire education system. This method has a remarkable potential to shape the future and assist in attaining some of the most crucial and unachieved objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What does e-learning mean?

The word e-learning refers to electronic learning, a learning process that includes electronic devices like computers or laptops. It uses information and communication as a learning mode and delivers electronically, using database and learning management systems.

What is an example of e-learning?

Virtual Classroom (Google Classroom), Audio and Video Conferencing (Zoom, Google meet, Microsoft team, Skype)

What are the three types of e-learning?

Online Synchronous Learning, Online Asynchronous Learning, and Blended Mode of Learning.

What systems are used in e-learning?

E-learning makes good use of information and communication as a mode of learning.

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