E-learning refers to learning by using electronic modes like online education. The development and spread of e-learning is breaking down traditional barriers like geography and socio-economic status.
In the future, e-learning will enable students of K-12 system in India to receive instruction for teachers anywhere in India or even the world. The most talented teachers will use technology to deliver their services to more students.
The e-learning revolution is already underway in the U.S. Around 1 million children (2% of K12-system) are taking part in some form of online learning. In 2009, US Dept. of Education came out with a meta-analysis of K-12 e-learning programs. The study revealed that students who took their course partly or completely in the online mode, showed better performance on the average compared to conventional face to face classroom instruction.
Online learning differs from traditional learning in the following ways:
- Some online programs are full time while some are part time (supplement classroom instruction). The latter can be used to enhance the education received from school.
- Interaction with teachers: e-learning can proceed in synchronous or asynchronous mode but both will involve interaction with teachers. In the synchronous mode, students and teachers interact in real time via technology like video-conferencing. In asynchronous mode, education happens according to the personal pace of the student. Teachers will provide feedback in some time.
- Physical location: Some e-learning is exclusively online. Some others are conducted along with classroom training, which is called as ‘blended learning’.
- Nature of students: e-learning serves students of all socio-economic back grounds, all ages, all geographical locations and all levels of intelligence.
Here are some benefits of e-learning:
- Access to high quality teachers: Traditionally the quality of education received by a student depended on the socio-economic status of her family or her geographic location. E-learning breaks down such barriers. It gives students access to best teachers in the country.
- Mass optimization and customization: E-learning enables K-12 system to deliver customized and personalized education to students.
- Increased flexibility: Students can learn in a most flexible manner: the subjects of their choice and at their individual pace.
The school authorities should wake up to the tremendous scope of e-learning for students of the future and contact the best K-12 content providers in India for the solutions. It is an idea whose time has definitely come.