One of the biggest revolutions today is taking place in the field of education thanks to e-learning, or online education. While online education is not exactly new, its popularisation during the pandemic, and at all levels, has put the spotlight on e-learning. Is it better or worse than face-to-face education?
According to Forbes, the global online learning market is estimated to reach $325 billion by 2025. This would be a significant growth from the $107 billion it reached in 2015. Virtual education has been growing for several years now, especially at the university and professional learning levels.
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Universities such as Stanford and Harvard, as well as numerous platforms such as Coursera and Platzi, have popularised online learning. This, coupled with the new needs for basic education that emerged during the pandemic, has put the focus on this type of modality. It is therefore important to analyse what strengths it offers, as well as the drawbacks it may have.
THE POSITIVE ASPECTS OF ONLINE EDUCATION
As mentioned above, online education can have several advantages related to time, access, quality of education, learner participation, among others. Let’s look at them in detail:
FLEXIBILITY OF TIME AND SCHEDULES
Especially with the asynchronous mode, online education allows for flexibility of scheduling. You can choose when to watch the class, and how much time to dedicate to each module. Also, the fact that you do not have to travel or leave your home requires less effort and also helps you to use your travel time for other activities.
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RESOURCES AVAILABLE AT ALL TIMES
In e-learning, lectures are often recorded, and materials are available for students to access whenever they need them.
Online classes generally rely more on the learner to review materials and process information on their own, with the teacher or tutor acting as a guide rather than a knowledge provider. This forces the learner to develop essential skills such as organisation, discipline, critical and analytical skills, porno français, among others.
ALLOWS FOR COLLABORATION
Just because students do not physically meet in a classroom does not mean that interaction and social learning is neglected. In online classes, participation can also take place seamlessly through live classes, forums, group activities and chats.
IT IS ADAPTABLE
Online education can allow technology to be integrated, especially for the younger generation, in practical and entertaining ways to engage attention. Also, it is not limited to resources such as space (many people can be allowed in the same class), or time (the class remains recorded for whoever needs it).
DISADVANTAGES OF E-LEARNING: NOT EVERYONE HAS ACCESS TO IT
THE (STILL EXISTING) DIGITAL DIVIDE
Although e-learning is seen as a solution to many problems, as in traditional education, it is limited by the socio-economic situation of many families who do not have access to communication technologies.
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This is most often seen in developing countries or in rural areas, where access to the Internet can be problematic. Therefore, as evidenced during the pandemic, many children may be left behind because they do not have the necessary resources.
THE LEARNER REQUIRES SKILLS FOR AUTONOMOUS LEARNING
Although, as mentioned above, online classes help the learner to develop skills on their own, not all children (and even adults) have the organisational skills necessary to meet the goals set, or the learning expected.
Lack of teacher experience
One thing that was particularly noticeable in the pandemic is that this type of education requires extra effort to capture students’ attention, as well as creativity in proposing activities suitable for the new modality. Lack of technology training for teachers can lead to poor quality courses and content.
If in a classroom you only needed a chalk and a blackboard to teach, in online education you need to have different resources for both access and assessment. Likewise, any connection failure or difficulty with the use of platforms can hinder the class.