Can eLearning Create An Engaging Experience?
The role of computers and the internet is taking a prominent place in the lives of students. The internet is rapidly growing to reach the masses, and teaching methods have shifted from traditional blackboards to the use of PowerPoint slides with a projector. Students use digital notes to learn in the current world, either through their smartphones or computers. Teachers and instructors use online video conferencing to communicate with the students. The whole learning experience has become internet based. Although eLearning is becoming widely popular, is it creating an engaging learning experience for the students? We will try to analyze this main question by exploring the types, advantages, disadvantages, and student feedback on eLearning. Let us dig into the subject.
It is very common for students to use Google to answer their queries. There can be multiple websites or blogs that students can refer to. eLearning methods vary since different people use different eLearning methods. But, by combining them, we can divide eLearning systems into three types.
- Low interactive capabilities
This eLearning model consists of more text and multimedia materials for learning. For example, PowerPoint materials, eBooks, audio, and videos.
- Moderate interactive capabilities
Online quizzes with feedback through mobile apps, and interaction with people on social media.
- High interactive capabilities
Virtual classrooms from a distance through video conference, streaming live videos on different platforms, online group communication, blogs, and social media.
Advantages Of eLearning
eLearning systems provide some major advantages to students. The use of mobile apps for learning is increasing. An analysis for MedicalEducation.nl showed that it increased from 0.47 to 2.29 % in the past 4 years . The increase is definitely because of the advantages eLearning provides. Let us understand them to further move into our article.
1. Convenient Mode Of Learning
eLearning is self-paced learning, and the learning results and speed depends upon the students. Students have the flexibility to download the materials anytime and anywhere they want, making it a very convenient mode of learning.
2. Costs Lower Than Traditional Learning
If you visit online course sites like Udemy, you can find courses as low as $5. eLearning methods are highly cost-efficient for the students, and once owned, the students have lifetime access to the courses.
3. Learning Materials Can Be Easily Updated
With books, the printing press has to print new books to update the content, and it requires a big budget. Whereas with eLearning materials, all you need is to update the material on a computer and replace the old one, which takes a few minutes.
4. Worldwide Availability Of Material
eLearning requires a smart device and the internet. Whether you are using a smartphone or a computer, you just need the internet to power the eLearning systems, and you can learn anywhere and on-the-go.
5. Fun Learning With Better Retention
The audio and video material used in the eLearning model helps students to understand the illustrations better. Further, the learning experience is engaging for the students since they can connect, play, and challenge their friends for the top spot on the leaderboard.
Disadvantages Of The eLearning Model
To analyze the main question posed in this article, we have to understand the disadvantages of the eLearning model.
1. Procrastination In Students
Since students decide on their study schedules and organize their study material, it makes them responsible for their learning. Unlike schools, there is no authority to monitor their schedules, leading to laziness and procrastination without any deadlines and fixed schedules.
2. Dependence On Technology
Poor internet connection acts as a hindrance to the students since eLearning systems are completely mobile or computer-based. Also, some students might face problems in loading content on their mobile devices as compared to the students loading it on their laptops.
3. Same Material For Every Student
eLearning materials are the same for every student, meaning geniuses and less intelligent students all have the same material to learn. It is possible that one student might not be able to learn effectively from the material, as compared to someone else who will be learning it effectively.
4. Isolation From Real People
The eLearning model promotes video conferencing between teachers and students. Although this mode of learning is convenient for both, it decreases the real face-to-face interaction that helps in personality development.
5. Inconvenient For Disabled Students Or Students With Low Smart Device Knowledge
eLearning materials target large user groups with an expectation of computer knowledge. Imagine if a student is visually disabled or doesn’t have the knowledge required for operating smart devices, they will face hurdles in learning with the eLearning model.
What Do Students Say About The eLearning Experience?
Students have a different perspective on the experience that they had with eLearning, depending on different parameters. We have selected a few parameters, such as accessing courses, time management, emotions, learning, etc., and will see what students have to say about these parameters.
- Accessing information
It was easy for students to view everything directly from the blackboard website. The information was at their fingertips.
- Time management
Since there was no fixed schedule in the eLearning platforms, students had to stay online most of the time to remember and gather updates.
- Emotional experience
Some students felt frustrated to be scrolling through the internet to find their queries and some of them stated that they enjoyed the fast experience.
- Learning experience
Students had to contact other students or faculty to receive answers to their queries. But, they reported that they had to send too many emails, and the discussion forums were not that active.
We have explored the topic of eLearning in detail, with its types, advantages, and disadvantages. We have also learned what students feel about the eLearning experience based on different parameters. Now, with this collected information, we can analyze the article’s main question.
Is The eLearning Experience Engaging?
The answer, as of now, will be a “no,” but we cannot say that the model of eLearning has failed. We have to implement the following suggestions to create an engaging and successful learning experience:
- Strictly implement a schedule for students
- Make the discussion forums active so that students can enjoy interaction with other students
- Prepare on-demand material for the students who have difficulty understanding the material
- Quick query answers from faculty for students
- Ensure active leaderboards so that the students stay engaged in the eLearning activities
- Implement metaverse-based learning with the use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies, which will create a brilliant experience full of student engagement
Do Not Ignore mLearning
The above-suggested improvements are necessary to build an engaging and successful eLearning experience. The types of eLearning are diverse, but there is one more suggestion for the eLearning industry. The current era has high demand for the mLearning model. We cannot compare the importance of laptops or computers with smartphones, but smartphones create an engaging learning experience for the users because of their small size, accessibility, and availability. So, colleges, instructors, and institutions must also maintain their mobile apps for eLearning by contacting eLearning mobile app development companies.
 E-learning any time any place anywhere on mobile devices