Benefits Of Elearning In Distance Education Information Technology Essay

Abstract— E-learning is referred to as teaching and learning by using electronic media. This methodology supports the use of networking and communications technology in teaching and learning. It is generally meant for remote learning or distance learning, but can also be used in face-to-face mode. It allows both formal and informal learning to take place and can suit the needs of people from various backgrounds. This paper provides a summary of benefits in especially in the field of distance education different along with some advantages of e-learning in others fields. Although most regions agreed on key benefits, some differences appear in the context of e-learning. Some regions focus on specific benefits of improving and extending distance learning, others emphasize the advantages of transforming the learning experience, as well as promoting blended learning strategies within the classroom.

Keywords— VLEs, LMS, Versatility, Evidence, Learner tracking,

Flexibility

Introduction

E-learning exploits interactive technologies and communication systems to improve the learning experience. It has the potential to transform the way we teach and learn across the board. It can raise standards, and widen participation in lifelong learning. It cannot replace teachers and lecturers, but alongside existing methods it can enhance the quality and reach of their teaching [1].

Learning is defined as learning facilitated and supported through the use of information and communications technology, e-learning may involve the use of some, or all, of the following technologies: desktop and laptop computers, software, including assistive software, interactive whiteboards, digital cameras, mobile and wireless tools, including mobile phones, electronic communication tools, including email, discussion boards, chat facilities and video conferencing, Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), learning activity management systems[1].

E-learning can cover a spectrum of activities from supporting learning, to blended learning (the combination of traditional and e-learning practices), to learning that is delivered entirely online. Whatever the technology, however, learning is the vital element. E-learning is no longer simply associated with distance or remote learning, but forms part of a conscious choice of the best and most appropriate ways of promoting effective learning.

The use of E-learning methods, whether in the classroom or in distance courses, implicitly required students to increase key skills as well as ICT proficiency. E-learning was seen as a key method for promoting digital and traditional literacy amongst the general population, providing the necessary tools to participate in the knowledge society.

It also created a new learning paradigm for most students, increasing their autonomy for accessing information and providing them with a safe environment to stimulate real-life experiences. E-learning-based courses provided a comfortable environment for citizens who were technology shy, learning to engage properly with ICT for the first time.

All regions reflected on the transforming and inspiring potential of E-learning for the teacher and teaching method. On the one hand, it opened up new sources of attractive, dynamic material which could be mixed and matched, downloaded, individually designed or re-purposed and presented in motivating presentations, whether for distance students or within the classroom. This included stimulating graphic material, video and other interactive material. The technology enabled teachers to provide more personalized student support and systematic monitoring.

A. Concept of E-learning

E-learning (electronic learning) is the delivery of learning content and materials to learners in digital form via a variety of technologies [2].These are:

E-learning content can include: Text, Images, Animation, Audio, Video

Ways of delivering e-learning content include: Internet, Intranet, CD, DVD, USB

Ways of accessing e-learning content include: Personal computer, Tablet computer, Mobile phone or device, Television, DVD player, CD player.

E-learning is now an integral method for delivering knowledge to pupils and students in schools and colleges. The advantages of delivering exciting, interactive content to engage learners in an immersive learning process both in and out of the classroom are widely recognized and supported by educational professionals around the globe.

Online e-learning is the most effective way of delivering training to a dispersed workforce at a fraction of the cost of conventional training methods. Embrace Learning provide complete e-learning solutions to meet all your training needs including e-learning training courses and a powerful Learner Management System (LMS).

A learning activity can be defined as an interaction between a learner and an environment, leading to a planned outcome. It is the planned outcome which makes learning a purposeful activity.

B. E-learning for Organization

For organizations operating in a variety of sectors, an e-learning solution supplied by Embrace-learning will overcome the challenges and obstacles faced by anyone who needs to provide and manage a training program to a large dispersed work force. The benefits gained by deploying an Embrace-learning e-learning solution include [2]:

E-learning provides a single source of learning materials ensuring that the content delivered is identical for all learners and is of the highest possible quality

Online e-learning courses are quick and easy to update across the board without needing to spend time and money organizing and distributing paper, CD or DVD based content and materials.

It is reliable, dependable and accessible around the clock via an internet connection.

It is easy to manage and control online via our Learner Management System (LMS).

This flexibility means that E-learning is increasingly seen as one of the most powerful tools in any training strategy especially where a large dispersed workforce is involved. A good e-learning training course is easy to use, is stimulating and engaging and has an element of fun. It changes thinking and behaviour, provides better qualified staff and makes a significant difference in helping to promote good practice.

People learn and absorb information in different ways and at different speeds. E-learning courses provide a flexible and versatile learning system that enables organizations and learners alike to tailor their training to fit with their own specific circumstances. Furthermore, when e-learning is coupled with instructor-led training, it can bring additional dimensions and enhance the learning process overall. More and more learners and organizations are choosing to learn online using e-learning technology [2].

C.E-learning for Distance Education

Traditionally, education in which teachers and learners are separated by time and distance has been referred to as distance education or distance learning. Distance education could be explained as planned learning that normally occurs in a place that is different from where the teaching takes place. It requires special techniques of course design, instruction and methods of communication by electronic and other technology. Distance education could be offered at the basic, secondary or higher level of education. It could also be for formal or non-formal educational programs. The term e-learning on the other hand is relatively new in the field of education. Much as it has its roots in relatively older fields such as correspondence course, distance education/teaching or distance learning, it is an educational practice that is gaining prominence in the world of education for the past 15 to 20 years. E-learning comprises all forms of electronically supported learning and teaching. It covers a wide set of applications and processes, such as web-based learning, computer-based learning, virtual classrooms, and digital collaboration. E-learning is essentially the computer and network-enabled transfer of skills and knowledge. In e-learning content is delivered via the internet, intranet/extranet, audio or video tape, satellite TV or CD-ROM. It can be self-paced or instructor-led and includes media in the form of text, image, animation, streaming video and audio [3].

Benefits of e-learning with the Natural Step

The Natural Step’s courses are rich multimedia experiences designed by professional educators for maximum accessibility and learning. They offer a number of benefits compared to conventional training approaches [4]:

Lifelong learning for all learning styles. E-learning is a key means of delivering lifelong learning, cultivating a culture of innovation and expanding productivity. E-learning environments allow learners to move at their own pace and can be more effective for learners who are shy, reflective, or require more time to absorb information.

Quality control and consistency. E-learning provides a consistent delivery of material and builds a shared language and understanding in the workplace; it also allows employers to customize content and monitor employee’s progress. With long-term licenses, employees can also review material at their convenience thereby ensuring uptake.

Increased productivity and decreased expenditures. E-learning can be completed at the time and place that is most convenient for the employer and employee. This saves time and reduces or eliminates travel and printing costs. E-learning is the most cost effective means for training large numbers of employees and allows follow-up training to be more focused and effective.

Online Learning offers qualifications and short courses that focuses on individuals performing better in the workplace and helps them build new skills, self confidence and knowledge. We encourage and support you to take the plunge into e-learning. E-learning has significant benefits to both learners and businesses including [2]:

(a) Reduce your carbon footprint: By reducing or even eliminating the need to travel for staff training, hotel accommodation, printed course material and training room hire you could see a dramatic reduction in your organizations carbon emissions.

(b)Flexibility: E-learning can take place anytime, anywhere, making it convenient for learners. Learners have the option to choose when they wish to learn. E-learning can be delivered via the internet, your organization’s intranet, employee’s mobile phone or via CD-ROM.

(c)Increased Retention: Since learners can work at their own pace, they can retain more information than with traditionally instructor led training. This is because of the many elements that are combined in eLearning to reinforce the message, such as video, audio, quizzes, simulations, webinars, live tutorials and discussion forums. Also in the eLearning environment it eliminates the visual and social barriers that may hinder some individuals in expressing themselves. In addition, the learner is given time to reflect on the information before responding.

(d)Cost Effectiveness: One of the most obvious benefits is the potential to reduce costs associated with training and development of employees without the need of travel and accommodation for them at a centralized location. Other benefits are some educational objectives can be conveyed in a shorter timeframe than Instructor led training, reducing the time an employee is away from the job. Because eLearning can be taken anytime, anywhere, it doesn’t interfere with critical operations of the employee.

(e)Consistent Quality: E-learning is standardized for every learner has access to the same high quality instruction. E-learning eliminates the problems associated with different instructors teaching slightly different material on the same subject. This also ensures all learners receive a consistent message.

(f)On Demand Access: E-learning is available to learners whenever they need it, wherever they need it, this allows organizations to effectively deliver mission critical information to their employees in real time.  Dynamic content keeps learners up to date in fast paced industries, with no need to collect outdated materials, distribute updated materials, and validation that learners, indeed, are accessing the latest information available.

(g)Motivates and Engages: The quality of interaction and collaboration in an e-learning environment provides the learner with the motivation to participate and engage in the learning experience. E-learning can take many different forms such as eLearning courses, chat rooms, discussion forums, simulations, quizzes, and instructor led webinars.  Whether you are working alone or in a group, you can contribute ideas, perspectives, and comments on the subject you are studying, and read about those from your fellow learners.  The immediate feedback and personalized attention built into an eLearning application enables the learner to take an active approach to learning and encourages them to be responsible for their own learning development.

BENEFITS OF E-LEARNING IN DIFFERENT ASPECTS

There are lots of reasons for choosing e-learning as option in distance education. Following are the key points [2]:

Save money: Learning training courses are extremely cost efficient. With classroom / instructor costs continuing to increase, plus travel / refreshment / staff cover all required, e-learning makes obvious sense at a fraction of the cost.

Flexibility: Learning can be done at a time, place and pace that suit you. Downtime at work, organized learning periods, working at home - there are many possibilities that courses are available 24 / 7. Learners are not pressured to keep up or conversely feel that they are waiting for the stragglers, they can dictate the pace. And they can do the e-learning course all over again if they wish - at no extra cost! Read more about this below.

Evidence: Downloadable certificates provide evidence of learning and assessment success. Embrace-learning certificates can be downloaded to verify both course completion and passing the assessment.

Up-to-date: Training course materials are detailed, accurate and relevant. These training courses are always up-to-date and for as legislation changes do it by relevant references within the training course. You need take no action as the amendments are applied automatically.

Learner tracking: Employers can track learning (learner progress, log in / out times, assessment results etc) and run reports on all aspects of training. Learner feedback is also available.

Versatility: Training courses can be delivered in a variety of ways to cater for different learning situations, for example, in classroom style with projection screen individual learner at their desk or individual learner at home. Even on the bus to work, using our new mobile learning (m-learning) course technology.

Overall, it is observed that conventional training has more immediate benefits to trainees in all the examined categories, while E-Learning is considered by a large number of E-Learners as an investment for the future. Provider of E-Learning offers special packages of E-Learning to rural inhabitants. They have designed their products for everybody, irrespective of their place of residence, rural or urban. Also, the fact that a large proportion of respondents, who have reported the development of a personal interest, as a real benefits are very encouraging for future. It is also interesting to compare the benefits achieved to the initial expectations of learners, before they started the training course, as reported by them [5].

IV CONCLUSION

E-learning provides the high time for the teaching community to develop passion towards the application of new technology in teaching and learning process, in order to make the process simple, easy and understandable. E-Learning is found to be highly emerging knowledge tool today. It has wide scope in developed as well as in developing countries especially in the field of distance education. The areas which are undeveloped and not so educated get attraction of e-learning. E-Learning provides a method of delivering knowledgeable contents through CD, DVD, multimedia and other tools in the field of distance education. The main constraint identified in this process is availability of proper bandwidth, willingness of E-learners and some sort of skill set to deliver the material to learners. E-Learning is beneficial to rural gentry for knowledge, better job opportunities, and promotions and to learn new developing technologies in the market.