E-learning is a huge advantage of Internet development as it gives us an opportunity to train ourselves in different areas of our interests. We’ve already analyzed the effectiveness of e-learning in education in our previous article. We know about its potential to actually surpass the traditional teaching method in the future. Now it’s time to evaluate the idea by comparing the pros and cons of e-learning classes. Why do we choose this type of learning and what are the downsides of the approach?
Online learning has much to offer. Let’s uncover some of its benefits.
Convenience & Flexibility
One of the main advantages of e-learning is the level of convenience and flexibility it offers. E-learning tools give you the freedom of choosing the place and time to start a course or listen to a lecture. You can participate in online classes from your home, cafe, or a place of your choice. All you need is an Internet connection and you good to go.
Students often complain about the limited time to ask questions and repeat the material before the exam. Lecturers usually aren’t able to devote a sufficient amount of time to explain the concept in-depth and answer all questions. E-learning offers 24/7 access to an educational platform for students to repeat the course as many times as they need. They can also finish the course whenever they have time for it. If they work in the mornings they can learn in the evenings and the other way round.
A lot of students have to spend money every day to get to university. Either on bus/train tickets or car fuel. E-learning modules don’t require a student to actually be at the university so it’s a much more affordable option. Also, this way students can save on books as all the needed materials are digitalized and can be easily accessed via an educational platform.
Active & independent learning
The nature of e-learning classes requires students to develop their own time management techniques and strong self-motivation. The skills are highly beneficial in later adulthood and once acquired they stay with students throughout their whole life. Also, the resources are prepared in a way to facilitate the learning process and make it more active. Active learning makes students assimilate knowledge better. They understand the subject in-depth instead of forcing themselves to memorize unnecessary facts.
Various learning formats
When listing the pros and cons of e-learning, we can’t forget about the range of applications it has. E-learning modules can be applied in many different formats. The platforms include not only lectures but also presentations, videos, and tutorials. Various learning formats ensure the students remember the material better as the content is more engaging and matches with the different learning techniques of students.
Disadvantages of e-learning
Despite many advantages, e-learning classes have also a dark side.
The lack of control
Online students can cheat on exams more easily as they use their personal computers in their own environment. It means without a proper identity verification procedure, they can let someone else write the exam for them. To ensure the authenticity of work, teachers have to put extra effort to prevent any fraudulent activities. They can request a camera to be turned on during the test. Also, before the exam begins students can be asked to show their ID cards in order to verify their identity. There are also e-learning tools dedicated to cheating detection such as Examity.
The risk of social isolation
Without peer-to-peer communication and activities, students can feel more isolated. The online environment is not as engaging as classroom interactions. Learning this way may lead to serious mental health issues among students such as anxiety or increased stress level. However, there are ways to prevent such situations from happening. Teachers should monitor students’ behavior and promote working in groups to increase the interaction between online students.
E-learning education is accessible only for people with a high level of technological capabilities. According to statistics, around 25% of the population of developed countries struggle with computer illiteracy. Not to mention, other parts of the world. Knowing this, switching to e-learning education won’t be easy for everyone and for some, it would be even impossible. There’s no simple solution to this problem and that can be the strongest disadvantage of e-learning education.
Practice makes perfect
E-learning classes are limited to certain disciplines. There are fields such as medicine or engineering that can’t be fully learned simply by participating in online classes. To actually become a doctor one needs to gain a lot of practical experience that cannot be replaced by theoretical knowledge. And for such conditions, a perfect solution would be to combine e-learning classes with practical training. This so-called blended learning courses have proven to generate positive results among nursing students.
Taking all into consideration
For sure, one size doesn’t fit all. But when we sum up the pros and cons of e-learning we can easily notice the number of benefits it offers. E-learning techniques and modules are very much tailored to one’s needs, they don’t impose a pace in which one has to work. At the same time, they provide students with much more than just educational knowledge.