It is evident that eLearning has become one of the modern backbones of many organisations, improving their productivity rates and employees’ professional development one click and tap at a time. However, the claim that eLearning is plain sailing is debatable and still causes many to argue that it cannot entirely replace classic learning methods. Here, we explore the benefits of eLearning, along with its inevitable drawbacks.
A prominent advantage of eLearning is the flexibility it offers students. As a computer or mobile device and usually an internet connection are all that are required, eLearning really is accessible at any time from any place. Distance is no longer an obstacle; particularly beneficial with regards to corporate training, where employees are often expected to travel long distances for a single training session. eLearning puts learners in the driving seat of their professional development as they decide the moments when they engage in eLearning, for example, during their commute.
Professional organisations make huge savings through eLearning in the form of travel and accommodation expenses for trainers and employees. This aligns with tight budget constraints as online resources and materials can easily be reused. The same is applicable to educational institutes; students need not be provided a learning space or a professor.
3. Bespoke learning
Everyone is different regarding learning best practice. Whether kinesthetic, auditory or visual, eLearning accommodates for every type of learner. Furthermore, it takes into account learner’s individual progress and suggests activities which may help to improve their skills in areas they may be lacking.
eLearning is often a solo act, which can lead to various downfalls in a learner’s experience. Working in a team can be a great source of motivation and encouragement to individual learners. Without this, they become isolated and their drive to achieve does not equate to that provided by a sense of camaraderie. Although many LMS platforms offer spaces for online discussions between virtual classmates, not everyone will feel comfortable with this feature. Also, as time-management is not everyone’s strong suit, it may not be well-matched to those with a lot on their plate already.
Despite LMS advantages, unsatisfactory feedback is problematic. As there is no course tutor as such, feedback is often generic and does not specify areas which learners need to address. As feedback is a main driver of students’ will to succeed, this absence can lead them to fall behind and make staggered progress.
Whilst eLearning boasts accessibility in a technologically-advancing landscape, the reality is that not everyone has a steady Wi-Fi connection or devices able to host various programmes. Additionally, older students may struggle to use certain technology, which defeats the purpose of eLearning (i.e. to make life easier) entirely.
Although the advantages of eLearning are obvious, its limitations show that it may not be the best option for every learner or course. Before opting for eLearning, it’s important to remember the value of teamwork in learning, as well as engaging, relevant content. Perhaps a combination of traditional methods and innovative eLearning could be the way forward?