What Is ELearning?

E-learning, or electronic learning, is education that doesn't require students to attend class at a physical location and is often completed at the student's own pace. Read on to learn more about e-learning options.

E-Learning

E-learning is often referred to as distance or online learning. Colleges and universities usually offer e-learning classes that cover the same topics as classes that are taught on campus. During e-learning programs, students can interact with faculty via e-mail, chat sessions or Web-based applications like course management systems.

Important Facts About E-Learning

Degree Levels Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees are available
Prerequisites Varies, depending upon intended program of enrollment; associate's and bachelor's degree program usually require a high school diploma, or equivalent
Concentrations Psychology, political science, English, sport management, business administration, accounting, public health, marketing
Possible Careers Artist, power plant operator, insurance appraiser, engineer, writer, camera operator, financial advisor, budget analyst, construction manager

Types of E-Learning

Many schools that offer e-learning coursework utilize a course management system like Blackboard or Vista. Students use the course management system to upload assignments, interact with classmates and download course materials. Other schools create a course website that includes a syllabus and all other necessary information. Some schools offer non-credit OpenCourseWare, which is free e-learning that students complete independently.

Synchronous versus Asynchronous E-Learning

The terms synchronous and asynchronous learning describe the way in which an e-learning course is structured. Synchronous learning occurs when students must be present during set times. Most e-learning is not synchronous, but some online courses may require students to participate in live chats, webinars or conference calls.

Most e-learning is asynchronous, which means that students work when they wish. Although they may still have to turn in an assignments at set times, they can fit their coursework into their schedules. Some asynchronous learning is completely self-paced, and students do not have any deadlines.

Benefits of E-Learning

Students participating in e-learning can work at their own pace. Although assignments may be due at specific times, students don't have to worry about handing in work at each class session. Students who work or have other responsibilities can structure their e-learning coursework around their schedules. Students who are visual learners will have the advantage of accessing coursework that is mostly text-based; however, some electronic courses use video and audio.

Disadvantages of E-Learning

E-learning may not work for students who are not highly motivated. Instructors may not always be available when help is needed. Older computers and dial-up connections can make e-learning difficult because files take a long time to download. Students must be comfortable with computers and have access to basic software, like Microsoft Word. Lab work is difficult to emulate in a virtual classroom; students enrolled in courses that rely on hands-on training may need to complete portions of their program on campus or at other sites.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Strayer University

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