What is eLearning? And what are the Benefits of eLearning?

Posted on May 3, 2013 · Posted in How to Study

What is eLearning? And what are the Benefits of eLearning?
eLearning has become very popular with some educators and a lot of students over the past several years.  It is actually a term that refers to using assorted types of computers and other electronic media, couple with communications devices, as well as the Internet to provide the training on any particular subject.  Students can attend many of these on-line classes at any time – day or night – and they can take part in classes that are hosted by an instructor where there are interactive questions with other students, or they can use it solely on their own time.  It’s generally self-paced training and is very flexible for adults who have a full time job and want to continue their education.

Terminology

There are a variety of terms that have evolved with eLearning that includes:

  • Computer-based Training (CBT)
  • Digital Educational Collaboration (DEC)
  • Internet-based training (IBT)
  • On-line education
  • Technology-enhanced Learning (TEL)
  • Virtual training or virtual education
  • Web-based training (WBT)

Each of these can provide streaming video, audio, interactive participation, text, images, and even animation via CD-ROM, satellite transmission, cable learning channels, video tapes, and internet or intranet channels.

Benefits of eLearning

For participants in the eLearning classes there are a number of benefits, such as:

  • Costs are Lower – Students don’t have to travel to class, find lodging, or be away from their jobs when they are attending on-line classes.  The classes are also less expensive themselves than standard in-house classroom style training classes.
  • Faster Updates – When students can attend eLearning they have an advantage that the updates are more frequent than updates for standard classes, because for standard classes course material has to be updated and the instructors have to be trained on the new processes/procedures/technology and that takes more time than just updating on-line training materials.
  • Effectiveness – For some students eLearning is more effective because they can attend the classes on their own time rather than have specific hours of the day to attend classes.  Some people believe that these classes are more effective in the long run, and that students retain the information longer, but there are few long term studies with data to prove that they retain the information longer or do better on the exams.
  • Shorter classes – Generally webinars and internet-based training classes are shorter than standard class room courses, because people are covering the material one module at a time, and on their own time.  When they can cover a module in an hour or so and go on to another module, it certainly seems shorter.
  • Decreased cost for the course material – For some training classes that must be set up in a specific environment, such as an Operating Room, or test lab, setting up to record the audio/visual course eliminates the necessity to have the exact same facility set up at a customer site.  On-line environments allow the student to “see” and hear the procedures/processes without ever leaving their home or office.
  • Standardized courses – Even though instructors are trained on the material being presented, each instructor presents the material differently (some great, some average, and some just not so good).  eLearning courses ensure the material is presented the exact same way to every student.
  • Unlimited methods – There are numerous ways that different course material can be shown to students with these assorted electronic learning techniques.  By using audio, video, graphics, and animation, it’s much easier to get some components over to some of the students.

Learning Styles

Since students have different learning styles, whether they are auditory, visual, or kinesthetic learners, for many students these on-line courses are ideal for their preferred learning style.  Visual learners can enjoy the graphics and animated images, auditory learners enjoy the vocalizations and explanations that are available with these assorted on-line courses.  Kinesthetic learners may find it a bit more difficult because there are simulations of what they are learning, but they don’t get “real hand-on” and may find these courses a bit more difficult.  The advantage is that on-line learning provides a more personal method of learning that applies to many students, and the options to put material on-line is virtually unlimited.

Successful Methods

Since repetition has always proven to garner the best long term retention and results, one final benefit is that the students can replay the on-line material multiple times if they didn’t understand it fully the first time.  eLearning has been shown to be effective because of the different approaches that can be used to explain and show each topic covered and the flexibility allowed in covering the course material.

 Natural memory enhancer