Much has changed since, in November 1999, Elliott Masie coined the phrase e-learning at the TeachLearn conference to refer to that which is now commonplace for many students and teachers. Back then, distance learning did not yet offer the same benefits which we rely on now thanks to technological progress. In 2022, to speak of e-learning is not only to speak of the future of learning, but the present; and to live on the fringes of it is to dwell in the past, comparable to getting around on a donkey rather than going by car or by plane. It is undeniable that online learning has become a pillar of education-according to Skill Scoulter, has grown more than 900% since the year 2000- and it is very possible that the fact that it has lead to a series of improvements with regard to face-to-face learning has a lot to do with it.
For the student
Gone are those early rises no longer necessary to arrive at your centre of studies, now there is no problem accessing this incredible teacher who delivers their lessons in another country and makes the juggle between work and studies more manageable. Fortunately, e-learning has brought flexibility to the lives of its students, as well as new opportunities for growth. According to professor Eva Martinez Caro (Polytechnic College of Cartagena) in an article for the Spanish Association of Higher Education Distance Learning, some benefits that online education affords are:
- Access to a wide range of a formative experience that supercedes geographical barriers: that which was only a fantasy, with online classes is a reality. Now it is not necessary to reside in the same locality as the teacher. Now this obstacle has been removed opportunities have opened up and it is possible to choose from teachers who live thousands of kilometers away, something which in times gone by would have been impossible. Can you imagine what it would involve for a young guitarist to learn from a great maestro located in The States? In the event of it being possible, it would have involved a huge economic commitment in relocation, time spent abroad, time, etc. Now it is as simple as turning on your computer and connecting to the lesson.
- The protagonist of the formative process: the student is in the centre of their own learning, becoming an active subject who chooses the pace, the content and can rely on completely personalised tutorials. This makes the result much more straightforward when combining it with other duties, such as, work, for example. Now you don’t have to choose between going to class or revising their notes on their own. You can have it all: count on having all the material, access lessons in real time or including being able to see it later on.
- Greater means of communication: the student no longer feels alone in the face of uncertainty, but backed up by the guidance and support of the teacher: distance is no longer synonymous with being alone and new technology enables communication to be much more fluid, without having the constraints of face-to-face learning. The chat feature, emails and other elements make resolving doubts straightforward.
For its part, the report OBS Business School 2020 adds, also, the following characteristics:
- Better cost-benefit ratio: reduced spending, access to learning becomes cheaper without affecting quality.
- Greater diversity: by not adhering to a concrete geographical area, group lessons are enriched with people pertaining to different ethnicities and cultures, which leads to teams with greater creativity.
For the teacher
Similarly, as for the students, e-learning also offers tremendous benefits which makes the teacher’s life more easy:
- The elimination of geographical barriers: the same that was seen for the student also applies to the teacher, that new students can be acquired without having to stick to their locality. Never before has it been so easy: with internet connection and registering for free to a platform like Wordiix it’s possible.
- Flexibility of schedule: it is the teacher him/herself who organises his/her schedule, depending on their interests and needs.
- Cost Savings: that occur as a result of avoiding unnecessary journeys.
- Improved pedagogy: the online universe is replete with unlimited resources that the teacher apply to their lessons, making them more effective and attractive.
Businesses also benefit from the virtues of online education, cost-cutting being one of the more favoured ones, but not the only:
- Growth in productivity: one study by the American Heart Association calculated that e-learning is capable of increasing productivity in employees by up to 25%, a figure more than appealing for whichever company.
- Flexibility: employees can connect to learning when they deem it opportune and from whichever device, they can refresh knowledge whenever needed.
- Retention of talent: by implying a lesser cost, businesses can increase teaching and avoid in this way resignations due to a lack of learning. It contributes, moreover, to improving motivation in employees.
However, students, teachers and companies are not the only beneficiaries of the virtues of online education, it is also beneficial to the environment:
- According to The Open University (United Kingdom), online education consumes 90% less energy and produces 87% less greenhouse gases: for there being no journeys to make carbon emissions from transport are avoided.
As you can verify, e-learning opens up a world of possibilities of learning which only a few years ago would have been unthinkable and fortunately, the tendency is that it is becoming integrated more in our lives. Platforms such as Wordiix make the encounter between teacher and student a reality, promoting knowledge and learning and definitively, making for a better world.