One of the most significant learning technologies that has come onto the scene in the last decade is eLearning, also known as blended or hybrid learning. eLearning has been made possible thanks to the rise in technology and its growing accessibility.
Why Has eLearning Flourished?
Many of today’s students have access to computers and WiFi, so it’s not a problem when a lesson requires the use of a computer. Years ago, this wouldn’t have been possible because the large majority of students didn’t have reliable computers at home. Today, many homes are equipped with some type of computer or laptop as well as a dependable internet connection.
Also, with the availability of computers, students are more comfortable using them. This means that educators can easily incorporate computer work into their lesson plans without having to take the time to teach students how to use the necessary technology. In the past, this would have cut into their class time.
It’s obvious why eLearning has gained a foothold in the education sector, but is it a worthwhile advancement for students and educators?
eLearning has had a major impact on the way students learn, and it will continue to do so, especially as educators are required to modify their lessons and assignments to accommodate their diverse body of students.
How eLearning is Impacting the Way Students Learn
Let’s explore some of the ways that eLearning is changing the learning environment for the better.
eLearning encourages collaborative learning over individual learning.
Students used to learn primarily through individual-based courses and classroom activities. I’m sure we can all recall sitting in class and doing mostly individual activities such as taking notes, reading silently, working on projects and practicing writing. It was only on certain occasions that group work would be assigned.
It’s not that educators didn’t like the idea of students working together. It’s just that it was a challenging thing to do. With the help of technology, however, many tasks can be done collaboratively.
There are many benefits to collaborative assignments, including working on problem-solving skills, reflecting on the material and engaging in meaningful discussion. These are essential skills in the learning process, and they can now be fully embraced thanks to tools like Dropbox, Evernote and Google Drive. These tools encourage cooperation and communication.
eLearning is active rather than passive.
Not long ago, most classrooms featured rows of desks that all faced the teacher’s desk and a blackboard at the front of the classroom. Teachers would stand at the front and could talk for hours, if they wanted to. This traditional model of learning was largely passive.
While the visual appearance of the modern classroom may not have changed much, the way that students are absorbing information is. Rather than students sitting in their desks and being passive listeners, they now have active, engaged roles. With these different roles, however, come new expectations.
Students now have the ability to participate in discussions and plan for future lessons. They can access mobile apps to further the learning process, or they can turn to the internet to research various topics or discover answers on their own. In other words, students are largely responsible for their academic journey.
eLearning facilitates differentiated instruction.
It’s been noted for a long time that students learn in different ways. While educators are aware of this, the challenge they face is being able to deliver a lesson that all students identify with. There’s just not enough hours in the day to be able to give each student individualized attention.
Differentiated instruction is a way of teaching that embraces individual student strengths. With the implementation of technology, differentiated instruction is made possible. For example, online learning programs can be set to different learning styles. Students are able to understand classroom content in a way that relates to them while also benefitting from collaborative work.
A flexible and personalized teaching style is an important tool when trying to help students fully grasp the material. One person cannot do this on their own, however. It’s only with technology that this is made possible.
eLearning gives students the option to receiving tutoring at home.
A last feature of eLearning that we would like to address is online tutoring sessions. Some students need extra help, and they can get it directly online. This means that they don’t have to sit at a tutor’s home or a tutoring school after a long day in the classroom. Technology gives these students the option to enrich their learning at a time that is convenient for them.
Online tutoring also takes away the stigma for students who are embarrassed of their grades or the fact that they aren’t learning as quickly as their peers. Additionally, online tutoring programs allow for personalized learning so that no two program is exactly the same. Instead, it helps students work on the lessons in a way that appeals to them.
eLearning is having a positive impact on the way students learn. Today’s students are more collaborative and active, and as a result, they are getting more from their lessons. They are also able to benefit from personalized learning that is tailored to their needs. Rather than a student feeling badly about not being able to understand the content, hybrid learning programs deliver the information in a package they can open and relate to.