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The Future of E-Learning Analytical Essay


Introduction

E-learning is a learning process that is developed through interaction with content that is conveyed in a digital form based on network services under the guidance of a tutor. Computer technology mediates this kind of learning. Computers may be set to receive digital information from far places, or may be set up in a classroom.

According to Wenchieh Wu (2010, p. 312), e-learning has shifted the modalities of teaching from the traditional one-on-one teaching in classrooms to information technology-guided coaching. E-learning is flexible, self-organized, personalized, and student-centered. It has few interruptions from peers and tutors.

It can be community-based. Teachers, facilitators, and learners can interact online thus saving time, energy, and space. As technology advances, e-learning is expected to take a very different path. This paper therefore discusses the future of e-learning in the world.

Changes in Learning Models

With the wide acceptance of information technology and digital migration in the world, learning models are bound to change from their traditional approach to a modern ICT-based approach. The learning environment will completely change, with learners acquiring some necessary skills that will enable them adapt to the e-learning environment. Learning model will shift to learners being independent rather than having a teacher whenever they are learning.

Students will be required to work individually with little or no direct supervision of the teacher. Koohang and Paliszkiewicz (2013, p. 109) argue that content delivery in e-learning will change the one-on-one delivery from a teacher-to-learner in a classroom situation to computerized information conveyance. This shift will be so especially in the courses that are electronic in nature, with learners obtaining all the required guidelines online.

The modalities of examining learners will also shift from classroom examinations that are directly supervised by tutors to online examinations with little or no regulation by instructors. Learners will be supplied with online examinations that they will be required to tackle and submit online. Mechanisms to check plagiarism are already in place in most of institutions that offer the e-learning option to their students.

However, there is a need for self-control, motivation, and commitment on the side of the learner. Social interaction that was much present in the traditional method is also highly reduced. This situation is contrary to the previous situation where learners would sit in classrooms to socialize directly with both teachers and fellow students. This model is time saving, efficient, and learner-centered. It also offers the learner and the supervisor time to carry out other activities.

Widely used tools in e-learning

Various tools will be crucial for the success of the e-learning process. E-learning is computer-dependent. It is therefore impossible for learners and instructors to carryout e-learning without enough computers at their disposal. Koohang and Paliszkiewicz (2013, p. 109) confirm that learning materials and content in e-learning are prepared on computers. In fact, e-learning is also referred to as computer-based learning due to its heavy reliance on computers.

Teodora, Mioara, and Magdalena (2013, p. 150) reveal that e-learning is also regarded as CPU-based training since the whole process of preparation of teaching materials, teaching resources, conveyance of learning materials, instructions, examinations, and even evaluation is done using computers and computer technology.

Various multimedia packages are also required in e-learning, for example graphic design software, video packages, audio packages, and text packages. Multimedia technology enables tutors and learners to access information. Computers cannot access some information without installation of some operating software. Different contents require different software to access.

In case of synchronous learning, various tools are used such as video cameras and audio devices. Such devices are used to communicate directly from tutors to learners. Teodora, Mioara, and Magdalena (2013, p. 150) point out that learners in e-learning use e-mails, newsgroups, weblogs, and online bulletin boards to respond to the tutors. It is therefore important to have hardware tools such as personal computers or desktop computers and their accessories.

It is also necessary for one to have internet connectivity especially with high bandwidth, the necessary software, a reliable source of power, and teachers. Information storage hardware such as compact disks, flash discs, and digital versatile disks are also important to both students and tutors. Furniture is also necessary for placing personal computers and desktops.

Changing role of the instructor and learner

Wenchieh Wu (2010, 312) observes that the learner is the most important component of e-learning. The role of the learner in the traditional learning methods was somewhat passive compared to e-learning. Teachers were also very active in preparing, processing, and explaining information to learners. With e-learning, the learners are expected to understand the expectation of the e-learning course for which they register.

Such understanding includes understanding of the content, the structure, and the format of the training. The learner is charged with the responsibility of personally understanding the requirement of the learning process. This situation is unlike the traditional learning where the teacher was in charge of the learning process and requirements. Responsibility shifts from teachers to learners with the inception of e-learning.

Kok (2013, p. 20) affirms that it is also the role of the learner to acquire the necessary skills for operating the computers in order to communicate with tutors and even to access information online. This case is unlike the traditional models where information was delivered in print form or written on the blackboard by teachers as the students copy it. Teachers will only prepare the content and send it to the learners online.

The role of the learner will also shift because he or she will be supposed to have some technical skills and hardware to access information on computers, process it, and use it for the right purpose. The teacher changes from an information processer to an instructor. Contrary to the traditional teaching methods, students would only be required to have books, pens, and other reading materials. With e-learning, it is the role of the learner to have or to access the hardware.

Aasen (2013, p. 11) observes that the traditional learning environment involved the constant control and supervision of the learner by supervisors. With the inception of e-learning, the learner is charged with the role of self-supervision and management. He or she should time him or herself besides having other personal initiatives to learn.

Ways of judging the effectiveness of e-learning

For e-learning to be effective and feasible, there is a need to invest in it in terms of money, time, faculty, and leadership. The effectiveness of e-learning can be evaluated through process appraisal and outcome assessment. Process assessment will involve examining the limitations and vigor of the curriculum. It is possible to appraise the process through peer reviews of the program’s content. One can also evaluate the ability and speed of navigation through online documents for e-learning.

The learning materials can also be checked for compliance with the standards for learning. Use of multimedia in sending and receiving information should also be evaluated. According to Kok (2013, p. 20), the ability of the learner to open, navigate and use the materials should indicate understanding of the process. It is worth noting whether the learner has the required hardware for e-learning.

The ability of him or her to use various software/tools that are required for e-learning should also be evaluated. Tsai (2011, p. 146) affirms that the outcome evaluation method uses parameters such as change of behavior after learning and satisfaction. Aasen (2013, p. 11) asserts that one can evaluate whether the learners were satisfied with the content, the method of delivery, and the impact through the level of knowledge that the learner seems to have gained.

Tsai (2011, p. 145) asserts that learning is said to have taken place when there is a change of behavior. It is therefore possible to know whether the learner learnt through e-learning by behavior observation. Learners can also be evaluated through examinations. Good performance is an indication of learning and understanding.

Conclusion

E-learning is a fast developing educational model that is likely to replace the traditional learning. This model will change the methods of instructions, as it is more learner-centered relative to the traditional model. Learners will access information via computers, interact via computers, and be evaluated via computers.

Various tools such as computer software and hardware will be required in e-learning. The role of the learner will change from a passive receiver of processed information to an active processer and manager of self and information. The tutor changes from an all-time supervisor and processor to an instructor. Finally, effectiveness of e-learning can be evaluated through process appraisal or result assessment.

Reference List

Aasen, M. (2013). E-Learning as an Important Component in “Blended Learning” in School Development Projects in Norway. International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning, 6(1), 11-15.

Kok, A. (2013). How to Manage the Inclusion of E-Learning in Learning Strategy. International Journal of Advanced Corporate Learning, 6(1), 20-27.

Koohang, A., & Paliszkiewicz, J. (2013). Knowledge Construction in E-Learning: An Empirical Validation of an Active Learning Model. Journal of Computer Information Systems, 53(3), 109-114.

Teodora, V., Mioara, U., & Magdalena, N. (2013). Quality through E-Learning and Quality for E-Learning. Journal of Knowledge Management, Economics & Information Technology, 3(1), 150-160.

Tsai, A. (2011). A Hybrid E-Learning Model Incorporating Some of The Principal Learning Theories. Social Behavior & Personality. An International Journal, 39(2), 145-152.

Wenchieh Wu, L. (2010). The Effectiveness of E-Learning for Blended Courses In Colleges: A Multi-Level Empirical Study. International Journal of Electronic Business Management, 8(4), 312-322.

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IvyPanda. "The Future of E-Learning." October 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-future-of-e-learning/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The Future of E-Learning." October 1, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-future-of-e-learning/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Future of E-Learning'. 1 October.

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