The e-learning ecosystem is one that is continuing to grow and evolve. In 2015, the industry as a whole was worth over $100 billion and it is projected to reach close to $450 billion dollars by 2020. E-learning is a very broad term but essentially refers to any type of learning that contains or uses electronic technologies. This blog will explore some of the advantages and tools of e-learning in 2016.
Cheaply scaling education
There are an increasing number of educational institutions opting to offer e-learning resources or courses in addition to their traditional courses or degrees. These can be complementary courses or stand-alone lectures that appeal to a different audience than the day-to-day students who learn in person and in a classroom. For institutions, there are a clear array of advantages in expanding learning offerings digitally. On a basic level, e-learning can help cut down on costs by reducing the need for physical space. You no longer need to fill seats in classrooms and can broadcast a lecturer sitting anywhere in the world to an unlimited number of students throughout the globe.
Coming to a series of lectures or classes in person at a university or college means you need to physically be somewhere at a certain hour and change your schedule to fit that of the learning institution you have chosen. E-learning empowers students by allowing them to customize and create their own learning pace and schedule. If a class is too fast you can slow it down, repeat the class, or ask questions in helpful online forums. If the timing of a class doesn’t work for you, you can simply log on and watch at a different time. It’s much easier to switch courses too; you don’t need to physically go somewhere else. Essentially, all the content you could possibly want is available at the click of your finger.
Not all learning is video
While a huge amount of e-learning is facilitated through live streaming, recorded lectures or one-on-one sessions with teachers through various voice and video streaming software platforms, there is a large arena of other e-learning materials. Within this, online discussion forums are a vital tool. There are a number of great software platforms that facilitate discussions on various subjects, for example, Blackboard. These forums are a place for students and teachers to communicate outside of the lesson material itself and for students to raise issues they are unsure of or struggling with.
Using voice as a learning tool
For a long time, online discussion boards have been text-based forums. They are a great resource for questions and troubleshooting, and one that students can easily refer back to without having to re-watch a lengthy class or lecture. However, it is often difficult to communicate the nuances of the “right answer” or of a particular lesson through text. Luckily there are now other options out there; a great way to make these boards feel more personal and for answers to be less ambiguous is to add voice comments. Voice comments allow students and teachers to communicate directly through voice snippets and work together to learn better.
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