In recent years, we have heard a lot about e-learning due to the necessity that the coronavirus brought to education. This is even though this method, or rather the educational industry, until 2023, is more than 50 years old and has an inseparable link with digital technologies, especially computers. However, it cannot be denied that in recent years, and with the general development of the Internet, the definition of electronic education has expanded and changed a lot.
What is e-learning? What types are there? What are its advantages and disadvantages? Finding answers to these questions is essential for any educational organization or instructor active in this industry. In this article, while answering them, we will provide details of the implementation methods and their possible form in the future. Join us and get to know one of the most essential branches of the education industry in the age of technology and the Internet.
Definition of electronic education in simple language
The purpose of electronic education, which in English is called Electronic Learning and abbreviated e-learning or Electronic Education, is simply as follows:
“Any training uses electronic equipment, including computers, mobile phones, CDs, etc. In this method, content is transferred on a digital platform, either online or offline.
E-learning takes many forms, from short 10-minute videos on the Internet to formal university courses. Accordingly, e-learning resources include websites, social networks, software, and types of files (audio, video, text, etc.). Formal and non-profit educational institutions, private course instructors, and administrative organizations use this educational method and benefit from its benefits.
It should be noted that if there is interaction between the learner and the teacher, the electronic education will be interactive or Interactive Online Learning. Otherwise, we will witness a one-way communication during which information is sent to the learner only by the course designer or instructor. Therefore, asking questions and implementing interactive teaching methods is impossible. The mechanism was the main body of electronic education in the past, also called linear education.
What are the types of e-learning?
Before the global development of the Internet, e-learning depended on CDs, other information storage hardware, and software and internal networks in organizations. A method that is still used today. For example, a teaching aid CD for an English language learning book is part of its creators’ e-learning program.
After the emergence of the Internet and its use in the education industry, the word “offline” was added to the older methods to distinguish it from online e-learning or Internet education. Based on this general distinction, electronic education is divided into different types today, the most important of which we will examine below.
Free online courses
An online course is a subset of virtual education in which content is delivered on a scheduled schedule, just like a face-to-face course. The production of educational content is significant in these courses. So, the course designer must be able to convey the entire range to the audience using methods such as microlearning. The Skillshare and Udemy sites are among the most well-known platforms for creating and selling online courses.
But what is meant by combination in electronic education? This method is a combination of face-to-face and electronic training. This means that learners attend a particular place, But they still follow their learning process using computers, software, the Internet, etc. Combined education in English is called Blended Learning or Computer Assisted Instruction and CAI for short. Combined education in schools in developed countries has become a leading educational solution.
Computer Based Learning or CML
In the Computer Managed Learning or CML method, computer database networks’ role is prominent in providing content, managing, and evaluating them. Educational materials in this method will interact with the computer and related software using the system software provided. If you ask, what is the advantage of this e-learning method? In response, we must mention the following:
- Ability to customize training based on inclusive learning speed
- The possibility of safer storage and better recovery of information
- The possibility of automating processes such as evaluation, registration, etc
Simultaneous online training
You must be asking what the word simultaneous means in this type of e-learning. This method is called Synchronistic Online Learning in English. The technique that we know as an online class. As you know, these classes are held simultaneously. All people must enter a platform simultaneously and have the type.
To run online training simultaneously, you will need all kinds of hardware and software equipment, including online class software, a camera, a headset, a light pen, etc. The great advantage of this method is more communication between the instructor or the developer of the training course with the students and the students with each other.
Online electronic education: at the same time, it can be said that this method provides the possibility of implementing a variety of comprehensive, project-oriented, and group teaching methods and using various educational content. Synchronistic Online Learning also focuses on developing learners’ social skills more than other types of e-learning.
Asynchronous online training
This electronic education method in English is Asynchronistic Online Learning and should not be confused with free online courses. A non-synchronous online e-learning has placed educational content on a platform for a group of learners in the system, But learners don’t have to learn it simultaneously. Therefore, it is more flexible in terms of time. In this method, the learning management system or LMS plays an important role and tracks each student’s activity and learning process separately.
Four advantages of e-learning
But what are the benefits of e-learning? Why should a lecturer, organization, or a university and school use this method? This section will answer this question by examining four critical factors.
Reducing the cost of education and learning
An essential point about e-learning is its lower implementation costs. In many of its types, this method eliminates the need for a physical school. Even if such a space is needed, the requirement of having multiple classes is eliminated, and maintenance costs and energy consumption are also reduced. Of course, electronic education still needs facilities, But face-to-face training is still considered cheaper. Reducing operational expenses makes it possible to adjust the price of private tutoring and organizational courses for teachers and institutions. An issue that benefits everyone and leads to the growth of the educational business market.
Time and place flexibility
E-learning in simple language removes the time and place limitations of learning and earning money for the education parties. This method allows the learner to take the course he needs despite the lack of time and the long distance to his desired teacher and institution. At its heart, this advantage includes eliminating the time and financial cost of commuting.
On the other hand, a teacher or an educational institution can reach a broader market by presenting their course electronically. This topic will bring numerous commercial, branding, and secondary marketing benefits.
Easy management of e-learning
One of the challenges of education is its management. Whether in terms of administrative, disciplinary, and financial matters or in terms of scientific efficiency, you must be able to manage information, executive processes, and other things well. Although many schools today have learning management systems or LMS, e-learning management is generally more straightforward and accurate due to its greater focus and integration.
More attractiveness of education
One of the challenges of education in general is its lack of appeal in traditional methods. This issue is significant for children and teenagers and can even lead to academic failure. E-learning has a high potential for using numerous attractive resources and interactive and inclusive education methods such as gamification.
By increasing the attractiveness of education, learners’ participation in your classes will increase, and the financial efficiency of your business will also improve. In addition, the lack of motivation to participate in class and be alert is one reason for reducing the scientific efficiency of education, which electronic instruction can control well.
What are the challenges of e-learning?
Each form of education, both face-to-face and electronic, has its challenges. The first problem facing electronic education is the possibility of reducing attendance in classes. This challenge has become more serious, especially in formal education, and it can cause a drop in class quality and academic backwardness for students. In particular, students who are less interested in learning or have problems with concentration have more potential to avoid online classes.
On the other hand, the evaluation of e-learning faces several challenges, especially regarding the possibility of cheating by learners. An issue that can question the scientific efficiency of education.
Reducing human communication and losing the opportunity to develop social skills is another weakness of e-learning. A subject that is one of the secondary goals, education is essential, especially for children and teenagers. This challenge requires the use of comprehensive and creative teaching methods.
e-learning; The future of the education industry
In the era of corona disease, electronic education became the main form of education in most parts of the world. With the gradual exit from this period, we see the reopening of institutions and schools. Now, almost all experts are unanimous that e-learning is a definite and more substantial presence in the future than in the years before Corona. This method’s strengths have become increasingly evident to everyone, and we are even witnessing the entry of Metaverse and Web 3 into this field. Therefore, every activist in the field of education, to survive in this industry, must put the implementation of this method on their agenda.