Advantages of Online ELearning: Learn anytime, anywhere & on the go

     

Over the last twenty years, the world wide web has grown and evolved into the most accessible hub of information. The Internet has changed the way people shop, communicate, and socialize and learn. Online courses and learning have provided users with an innovative way to pursue distance learning with increased flexibility, which is why it’s becoming a preferred educational method as opposed to traditional classroom methods.

In this guide, we cover the main differences between the two essential training methods, online education and classroom learning. This list will also help L&D and HR professionals decide what training method will suit their organization the best, and help them get started with an eLearning program.

What is online education?

Online education definition is training that is web-based, computer-based, and internet-based. It includes online courses, online ELearning courses, mobile learning, along with computer-aided distance education. It goes by many names and different variants, but at its core, online education is an electronically supported form of education and it heavily relies on the Internet for any student/teacher interaction, this includes the circulation of class materials as well.

Even though the textbook definition of online education may be simple, it comes with many teaching methods. Internet learning can help transform any place, with a decent internet connection and electricity, into a classroom. These online learning sessions will include video, text, audio, virtual training, and animation, along with live chats with the professors. eLearning online is preferred because it offers students the ability to learn at their own pace and at their preferred time as opposed to traditional classroom sessions.

Online Education v/s Classroom Learning: Across various facets

eLearning is no longer a niche teaching method that limits itself to extremely technical topics, it has grown to include every topic and domain. Technology is dynamic and it keeps expanding to cater to people’s need to learn more, and to do so in their own time and pace. This is why most companies and educational institutions are now offering online eLearning programs as part of their curriculum.

  • Social Communication:

  • When it comes to traditional classroom learning, there is an element of social interaction between students, colleagues, and instructors. Students can choose to ask questions, clarify doubts, give presentations, collaborate with groups, and so on. This level of face to face interaction is restricted in an e learning setting.

    However, online education does encourage online participation and intensive discussion sessions. This type of social interaction occurs in various online forums, chatrooms, email chains, and discussion boards. However, for social communication to work through online learning then the instructor should be able to guide the communication by acting as a guide, participant and moderator. They must be able to answer questions, moderate discussions, and intervene if any discussions get out of hand. They must also provide clear instructions and what can and cannot be discussed to keep the communication constructive.

  • Learning location:

  • Traditional classroom sessions are held in a physical classroom, and you don’t get a chance to replay your classes. With eLearning, you can access any class you want, from any part of the world, and at any time. You can record your classes, stop and replay them at your convenience, and review your study material once you’re done with the session. One of the major advantages of online eLearning is that you can go back and review the information, whenever you want, and it allows the learner to retain the material better. This will reduce any chance of errors and enhance their overall performance in the course.

  • Instruction materials:

  • When it comes to traditional classroom training sessions, the information is usually conveyed verbally by an instructor, and it’s paired with a visual aid like a PowerPoint Presentation. However, in eLearning, the visual and written notes substitute the instructor. This means that the material is conveyed quite differently.

    Firstly, you have to be aware that when users go through online material they usually just skim through the pages. This is why formatting, headlines, bold text, bullet points, and subheadings are really important; you have to ensure that the content can draw maximum attention. Avoid writing huge paragraphs, or chunks of content, that appear overwhelming to read. Here are some ways you can make your instruction materials more engaging:

    • Tone- Ensure that the tone is friendly, yet professional.

    • Clear- The text must be concise

    • Brief- Avoid beating around the bush, and get to the point

  • Audio-Visual components:

  • Even though there are many components, in a traditional classroom, that can’t be directly transferred online, there are other tools that will help students adapt to the traditional training styles.

    eLearning has a wide range of media formats, from simulations to visual storytelling and games that can help the user engage with the content. The best part is the content can be conveyed through Video if the user is a Visual learner, through audio if the user prefers listening on the go or through exercises and games if they prefer experiential learning. This means that in online eLearning courses there’s a lesser chance of students learning a topic by rote. The students can focus on understanding the topic comprehensively by choosing the format that they prefer. eLearning caters to all VARK modalities, in the sense that they cater to Visual, Auditory, Readers, and Kinaesthetic learners.

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Advantages of online education or online learning:

  • Choose your learning path via online courses

  • Learning whatever you want to learn is one of the biggest benefits of online education. You get to pick the program of your choice without having to move to a new city or suffer through a daily commute. You can choose to absorb all the information you need from the comfort of your couch. You can choose from a wide variety of topics and mix and match as you please. You can choose three courses in economics and take electives such as Art, Ancient History or Copywriting. The sky's the limit and you’re only restricted by the amount of time you have to learn. You are not limited by a set University curriculum which prescribes a rigid learning path.

  • Learn in the comfort of your home

  • You don’t have to worry about waking up early and rushing for a class that’s situated across campus, and then attending it for two hours or more. With online learning, all the lectures are and required material is available online and you can access them from any place that has a steady internet connection. Comfort is one of the biggest benefits when it comes to online education, but you must remember not to get too comfortable and to set up a study environment at home; this will help you avoid procrastination as well. However, you can choose to pace learning as you please. If you learn better with 15 minute breaks after each hour you can do that, if you prefer to finish off a weeks worth of classes on a weekend, you can do that as well. You can change your learning preferences as per your schedule and your other commitments.

  • Learn on the go

  • Another major benefit of choosing eLearning is that it fits into our ‘on the move’ lifestyle. With eLearning we can choose to pursue learning at any point in the day, whether it is in the transit to office or during lunch breaks. We can even choose to log in from any location we choose, whether it’s from a cafe or from a public library. We can choose to tailor our learning schedule around our life rather than scheduling life around learning,

  • Build up your resume

  • No matter where you are in your career, an online program will always look good on your resume. When you show that you’re willing to learn online, employers realize that you are open to learning new skills and acquire new knowledge. Showing this willingness to learn will boost your chances of getting your dream job/promotion. It also helps you to keep upskilling yourself to keep pace with market demands. For eg: if you’re a copywriter, you can spend your spare time learning the nuances of Design and User experience so that you can eventually venture into branding. An ‘always learning’ attitude will help you avoid being redundant and will make your career transitions easier.

  • Learn at your own pace

  • Self-paced learning means students can complete their set targets at any time, and instructors can arrange a learning schedule that meets the learner’s needs. Traditional university schedules can take up so much time, and frivolous tasks like commuting take up a large portion of your day. When you begin to learn at your own pace, you make progress because you choose a rhythm that suits your pace. You don’t have to attend any face to face sessions for evaluation and can access the information at any time you want while dealing with other obligations such as a part time job or hobbies.

  • Minimizes the cost of acquiring skills

  • Online programs are way more affordable than traditional college courses, and this is because the average tuition rate depends on various extraneous factors such as living costs, housing, on campus food, social and curricular activities. This adds up to a massive amount, often students have to take on large debt to pursue the course of their choice. There’s also no assurance of a placement or a job at the end of a conventional university course. Hence the pressure of repaying a huge loan can put you off track financially. Online courses are a much cheaper alternative and students have the time and flexibility to take up a job or freelance work based on their financial situation.

      Online Learning FAQs: All your concerns addressed

      • Q. What are the benefits when you learn online courses?

        • Flexibility
        • Career advancement
        • Low costs and debt
        • Learning to take responsibility
        • Self-discipline
        • More variety in course topics
      • Q. What are the different types of online learning courses?

        • Flipped course- Instructors will record their lectures or use open-source resources to provide lecture content
        • Hybrid course- This is a mix of online and traditional courses, the traditional part is reduced but not eliminated.
        • Self-Learning- Students learn completely at their own pace and discretion.
        • Educational apps- Students are aided and guided through the course via an app
      • Q. How do online learning programs help in self-learning?

      • Here are some of the major advantages of online education, when it comes to self-learning:

        • Student engagement and better information retention
        • Digital literacy is improved
        • Self-learning supports flexibility
        • Offers multiple formats to absorb information
      • What are the best free online education courses on the web?

      • Some of the best free online education course can be found on:

        • Udemy
        • Khan academy
        • EdX
        • CourseEra
        • TED-Ed
        • Codecademy

      The future of online learning: Trends and tools

      • LMS & other tools:

      • Learning Management Systems, along with other online learning tools, allows you to manage every element of your online course. This includes registration, tracking, monitoring, assessing, and storing projects that are submitted by the students. When it comes to corporate environments, an LMS helps track employee productivity, keep records of training sessions, and appraisals as well. A Learning Management System will help your employees and trainees plot out their own career development and learn topics that are aligned to it.

      • Gamified learning:

      • This fun method incorporates "game thinking" and "game mechanics" into a non-game context. This also allows maximum user engagement and inculcates problem solving mindset through fun.

      • Microlearning:

      • This method focuses on learning using micro-steps, which are available in various digital environments. For eg: a tutorial for creating a support ticket can be prompted when a user makes a support ticket for the first time. Similarly, the user can be guided through tutorials for each process while interacting with the UI of their work interface. This form of e learning can be included in the learner’s daily routines. It’s perfectly suited for mobile devices and supports pace-learning too.

Manish Kachwala

Manish Kachwala is the Co-Founder of AlphaLearn, India’s leading Learning Management System. A believer in lifelong learning, he is passionate about technology, startups, blogging and tennis. He is a veteran of the e-learning industry with over 20 rich years of experience in the space.

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