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The Basics of e-Learning

What is E-learning?

It goes under several names. It has been called as distance learning, electronic education, distributed learning, distance education and computer assisted training. But it all means the same thing. Electronic learning or E-learning refers to computer-enhanced learning, which can mean using the most basic functions of a computer like email or CD-ROM or using its full function in enriching the learning experience.

At this time and age where computer technology is advanced and almost every one in the world are connected through online, e-learning is playing a huge role in forwarding education for all. E-learning is being utilized because of its various advantages in the most obvious of which are flexibility and convenience. Also by simply logging online, people can work anywhere and anytime there's an internet connection available. This makes it possible to hold online classes where people can participate in almost the same way they do on an actual classroom scenario. The fact that you can study at home can save you and your family some money in transportation costs and other miscellaneous costs involving your education.

And because you are using already advanced computer technologies, you have at your disposal the use of various multimedia and the non-verbal means of education materials. Such methods include video lectures, and audio MP3 recordings.

Meanwhile, among the other advantages of e-learning to the learner includes increased retention of knowledge, , reduced learning time, students are able to complete programs conveniently since they can work at it at off-hours or from home, and the self-pacing environment which is good for both quick and slow learners.

But despite the benefits of studying online or with the aid of computers, e-learning also has a couple of disadvantages. The lack of face-to-face interaction is obviously a major consideration in e-learning. Sometimes, seeing the reactions of your classmates or teachers stimulate the learning process. The lack of face-to-face interaction can result to a more “boring” online classroom experience. However, supporters of e-learning negates such arguments saying that in an electronic classroom environment students interact by other means like discussion forums and message boards.

Although, these can be ideal in individual or self-learned assignments, the same ideas will have a problem working in group collaborations. In e-learning, the needed collaborative feedback is not immediate especially if students do no religiously check their emails or online study boards. Also, the development of the system or software needed for e-learning can be a little expensive. In order to settle up-front investments, it is ideal to budget cash flows carefully and negotiate costings is possible.

E-learning processes come in different forms. It's not limited to only the usual email interactions wherein the teacher emails you assignments to do based on pre-designated reading materials or educational modules. And you email back your comments, assignments and other questions. Such e-learning style has total disregard to human interaction which is an important aspect of the learning process.

Among the type or e-learning styles are tutorials, simulations, electronic performance support systems, instructional games, and a combination of the various modes.