E-Learning simply means electronic learning. The world is in constant evolution at an amazing speed with technology. People now have personalized computers more than before and even use highly sophisticated electronic devices. The rate at which the personalization of sophisticated devices is increasing, is for several reasons like digitalizing businesses and increasing productivity in industries. One of the amazing uses for these devices is for e-learning. Many people at various stages of education learn or study more on their own than from lecture halls with digital resources. Information on the internet doubles every eighteen months (forbes.com). This means that in every eighteen months, digital resources will double. This is a great hope for e-Learning. Not only students prefer to study with digital resources but also corporate training can be done using this means.
Seminars, learning and lectures do not have to be confined to the classroom anymore just as we have complex content management systems used for managing our data, businesses and daily life activities. Learning and seminars can become webinars and also e-Learning respectively.
A few statistics about e-learning
According to forbes.com, IBM saved approximately $200 million after switching to e-learning. When utilizing online learning, companies can reduce costs in diverse ways. They also minimize expenses related to travel, hotel rentals, and equipment. This is especially important when your employees live in different cities, countries, or even continents. In this same mode of learning, same online resources are shared among all participants other than physically sharing different learning resources in a physical building.
According to the e-learning industry, Corporate e-learning developed by a stunning 900% between 2001 and 2017. An educated workforce is efficient and highly productive, as plenty of business owners have realized. Distance learning statistics also support this. In 2017, approximately 77% of US corporations used online learning. For comparison, statistics on online education show this number was only 4% in 1995. Companies have been quick to acknowledge the benefits of e- learning and have embraced it wholeheartedly. In 2017, 67% of US companies offered learning opportunities via smartphones (Source: eLogic Learning). Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days, and there are plenty of applications which facilitate learning on the go, as statistics on online education reveal.
According to forbes.com, the worldwide e-learning market is projected to be worth $325 Billion in 2025. The corresponding figure for 2014 was $165.36 billion, according to e-learning statistics. This means the market will have nearly doubled in a decade.
There’s a lot of demand for online learning. It is cost-effective and quite beneficial to a company’s bottom line, and academic institutions.
E-learning Trends in and out of Academia
It should come as no surprise that secondary and tertiary education institutions have embraced e-learning. Many developed countries are at the forefront of this trend, and there are several cases where instructors or teachers upload learning materials to an online system for students to access. Unfortunately for us in our part of the world, just a handful of instructors or lecturers upload assignment to be done and collected using these online systems. Actually, students can do better or retain more of what they learn if they have more power over the learning material or resource. This will also go a long way round to improve the information retention rate of many students because students have more power over e-learning resources than the physical ones. This also applies to seminars for webinars.
Impacts and benefits of e-Learning
1. Games Change the Games!
Gamification in learning helps students learn more efficiently. Computer, or video games, which demand critical thinking stimulate the problem-solving brainpower of students. In these games, players participate in realistic scenarios and anticipate collective outcomes based on their moves. The beauty of technology is that artificial intelligence plays its part as the learners improve on the game.
2. Small Chunks of Content – Microlearning
Microlearning is a big deal in the e-learning world right now. The reason for that is human brain learns efficiently when knowledge is provided in smaller snippets. A recent applied cognitive psychology study has found that gaps in learning time span increases knowledge retention. This strategic learning can be significantly beneficial to students. Learning with big pieces of textual content is often stressful, and the retention with them is often low. It is therefore very beneficial in long-term learning. Microlearning applies short videos, visuals, exercises, and presentations in 90 to 120 second sessions that are followed by quizzes and instant feedback.
3. Informal Learning Empowered Digitally
Informal learning has its own importance. It is now pretty clear that, innovations often emerge from the minds of folks who emphasize informal learning. Informal learning has largely gone digital in 2016, and 2017, and there is no doubt we will witness more of it in every field in the course of time. Hence, students must be encouraged to take informal learning along with academic education. This will definitely help them gain insights of the practical knowledge in their respective fields.
4. Power of Webinars
Webinars have been a great tool to deliver and consume informal instruction. Webinars are efficient because they can be designed or customized anytime with respect to the requirements. Webinars have been increasingly preferred because of the ease of delivering information. They are scheduled online and are also recorded for future use contrary to classroom lectures which often takes place only once. Instructive manuals, video lectures, whiteboard videos, etc. can be provided through live or recorded videos.
Author: Peter Van Kazin Ayittah (Full Stack Developer & Digital Trainer | Member, Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana)
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