Education across the globe is changing rapidly, largely thanks to the impact digital technology has on the sector. For years, higher education institutions relied on one-dimensional board methods for teaching and learning. However, this has seen a radical transformation, with institutions embracing technology and online tools to enhance learning and, in many ways, change how learning takes place. E-learning has been a result of this shift. Let’s look at why so many higher education institutions are choosing to embrace e-learning.
What is E-Learning in Education?
To understand the value and, in many cases, the benefits of e-learning, we must first understand what this is. E-learning is simply a structured learning experience that is delivered or facilitated electronically. This kind of learning often makes use of pre-recorded lecture content, videos, quizzes, simulations, games, other interactive activities, and elements.
It must be noted that there are various types of e-learning methods that institutions can choose. Some of the most popular choices include:
- Computer Managed Learning (CML) – this is where computers are used to manage and assess learning processes.
- Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) – combines the use of computers and technology with traditional teaching applications.
- Synchronous Online Learning – utilises technology to enable students to participate in an activity simultaneously from anywhere in the world. This often uses online chats and video conferencing to facilitate collaboration and interaction.
- Asynchronous Online Learning – is a flexible student-centred approach. Students can utilise technology to study independently at different times and from various locations without real-time communication.
- Adaptive E-Learning –in this type, the learning material is adapted and redesigned to suit individual learners’ needs.
The Benefits of E-Learning
No matter what method of e-learning a higher education institution chooses to utilise, there will be several benefits that both the institution and its students will experience. For example, e-learning has been known to improve productivity, enhance focus and ultimately better academic results, positively impacting both the institution and students. We take a look at some of the benefits of e-learning below.
The benefits to the institution:
- Enhanced efficiency – when managed correctly, e-learning will allow you to have one consolidated platform where students can access course content, upload assignments, take assessments etc., which enhances operational efficiency and the overall learning experience.
- Better engagement and retention – e-learning enhances collaboration and interaction through gamification, messaging forums, video, personalisation and more. This enhances student engagement and their learning experience, which ultimately improves student retention. Research has suggested that e-learning can boost retention by as much as 25-60%.
- Saves time and money – e-learning has been known to save up to 45% of an institution’s time compared to on-campus learning. This is based on the concept that students can learn at their own pace and at different times. Both students and educators save on both time and cost of commuting.
- Analytics Offer Unique Insights – e-learning reporting and analytics enable you to effectively analyse information related to courses and students to better tailor it towards success.
- Scalable – e-learning is often scalable, making this perfect for institutions that aren’t 100% sure of their enrolment numbers and class sizes.
Benefits to students:
- Personalised learning pathways – e-learning allows for the personalisation of learning experiences which offers students different ways to learn. Students can understand the material in the best way for them.
- Learning accessibility – with e-learning, learners can learn from anywhere, even on the go. Since the content is always available, it is accessible no matter where you are.
- Foster strong virtual collaboration skills – with the number of professional jobs globally turning remote, students must master this skill. E-learning fosters this and develops a student’s virtual collaboration, and communication skills, which set them up for their future.
How To Use E-Learning Effectively?
The benefits and value associated with e-learning are clear from the above, but the question remains: How does an institution utilise e-learning effectively? The answer lies in the tips below.
- Define and align goals and objectives – when deciding on an e-learning type, it must be aligned with the institution’s goals and objectives for learning and teaching. These goals and objectives need to be thought out and defined so there are key performance indicators that can help guide you in choosing the right e-learning type to suit the institution and its learners the best.
- Choose the right Learning Management System (LMS) – the learning management system facilitates e-learning and makes it all possible. With so many different LSM solutions on the market, it is essential to find the right one to suit the institution’s e-learning type and goals.
- Student and education training – for e-learning to be as effective as possible, students and educators must have the proper training and understanding of the e-learning LMS software. This will ensure usability and that the learning experience runs smoothly.
E-learning is transforming education sectors across the globe. This digital form of learning and teaching not only enhances the institution’s efficiency and student retention but also creates personalised learning paths and accessibility for students. The value an institution gets from e-learning will only be as good as the utilised LMS software, so institutions need to choose wisely to reap the benefits. There is no doubt that e-learning is the way of the future, and we cannot wait to see how this develops and evolves in the coming years.