What Are the Benefits of ELearning?
Over the past few years, eLearning has become both more available and more popular as a class format option. Read about the advantages of eLearning to decide whether taking an online course is a good option for you.
Benefits of eLearning
Electronic learning, most commonly called eLearning, typically refers to online study, wherein students enroll in degree programs or take courses conducted entirely over the Internet. While eLearning may not be for everyone, this method does have some distinct benefits over traditional classroom learning. From reduced costs to frequent communication between students and teachers, eLearning provides a few advantages over a brick-and-mortar education.
Perhaps one of eLearning's top benefits is the flexibility it offers students. In many cases, students can access lectures and notes when it's convenient for them. Assignments are often posted on message boards. In some programs, students don't have to adhere to any class schedule and generally can work at their own pace. However, there are programs that require online attendance at a specific time. Students may also need to hand in assignments by a specific date, just like students on campus. Similarly, some online schools allow students to obtain degrees within the timeframe that best suits them, though many schools require completion of coursework by a certain date.
While tuition might generally be similar to that of on-campus learning, eLearning does provide some cost benefits. Students don't need to travel to classes, thus saving on fuel or public transportation costs. Students also have the liberty to select colleges or universities in other states or even other countries without having to pay room and board. In some cases, class materials can be downloaded, which saves the cost of textbooks and other materials.
Though face-to-face communication is stressed in traditional classroom settings, many students enjoy the text-based communication typically found in eLearning environments. Commonly, eLearning programs can provide higher levels of communication because fellow students and instructors are more easily accessible. E-mail, discussion boards and chat rooms are some of the online tools students use to communicate with instructors. Students and instructors can generally communicate during the day, evenings or even on weekends.
Communication in an eLearning setting may also be easier for some students. Shy students can be more open in online conversations, even if the subject matter might be challenging or uncomfortable for them in person. In addition, writing words instead of speaking them gives the student more time to reflect on what they want to convey. Yet another communication benefit comes from the forum setting commonly used for eLearning courses. Forums usually allow students to return to conversations or add to them ad infinitum, whereas in-class discussions may change direction or be cut off before everyone gets their comments in.