It’s 2021, and by now you’ve probably heard of the term ‘eLearning’ (also known as online learning or web-based learning). eLearning is currently one of the fastest growing industries, and it’s only going to continue growing. But what is eLearning? Why is it gaining popularity so quickly? And should you jump on the eLearning bandwagon? This article will answer all the questions you may have about eLearning.
While the origins of eLearning took place solely within an LMS (learning management system), eLearning in 2021 is dynamic and innovative. Basically, eLearning can be defined as being educated or trained on any digital device. This includes:
An important thing to understand about eLearning is that eLearning is not the traditional educational method transferred to an online format. eLearning is an entirely new way of learning. Additionally, eLearning supports the different types of learners in a way that traditional teaching methods do not.
The concept of eLearning has been around since 1999, when Elliott Masie mentioned in a speech at the TechLearn Conference, “eLearning is the use of network technology to design, deliver, select, administer and extend learning.” Since then, eLearning has evolved with the technological breakthroughs we’ve witnessed over the past twenty years. Mobile phones transformed into smartphones, allowing people to use their mobile phones not only for making calls, but for browsing the internet, instant messaging with friends, and performing the many tasks that once required a physical, in-person experience. This includes education.
The revolutionary aspect of eLearning is in its inclusion of all learners. Traditional teaching methods place emphasis on aural and linguistic learners, delivering lessons mainly through lectures and written tasks. But eLearning provides a more holistic approach, as there are many different types of educational tools available for students to use.
When addressing a classroom, teachers generally move at a pace that suits the majority of students. This means that the students who already understand the material, or alternatively, need more explanation, don’t get as much out of the class as other students. eLearning fixes this problem, as it allows students to set their own pace. Lectures can be paused, rewound and re-watched. Slideshow notes can be saved, rather than hastily written in a live lecture. Studies show that self-paced learning reduces students’ stress levels, increases self-satisfaction, and leads to higher levels of engagement.
Traditional teaching methods place emphasis on the teacher’s role and view students as a single entity rather than a group of individuals. On the other hand, eLearning is based on student-centered learning (SCL). eLearning is allows students to make the following decisions about their education:
In recent years, it has come to be accepted that there are several learning styles, not just one. Traditional teaching methods assume that most students are auditory learners (those that learn best through lectures and speeches). However, there are many more categories of learners, including:
eLearning uses a variety of platforms and formats of learning which focus on accommodating the different types of learners.