Zeqr’s official 2017 scholarship awards were handed out to students enrolled as high school or college/university students. The first one was for students studying within the United States or Canada (the US & CA scholarship), and the other scholarship was for students living in the EU and Australia & Oceania.
Applicants were required to complete the student information and submit their 800 to 1,200 word essays on the topic of e-learning.
The questions we asked our applicants to answer were:
- How and why is e Learning shaping the future of education?
- How will this change the way students learn?
- Who will benefit most from this new way of learning?
And with over 550 received scholarship applications within 4 months, we proudly present the top essays we handpicked with care:
I can clearly remember sitting in the living room and “over-hearing” the conversation going on in my kitchen. My parents were discussing my brother and his grades, and the conversation wasn’t going well. My brother isn’t a bad guy, but he is a horrible student. He struggled with teachers who treated students differently, and what he saw as unfair treatment. He was frustrated about kids who were “smart” being exempt from tests, even when he had witnessed them cheating, and the teacher turning the other cheek. The “life isn’t fair” adage didn’t impress my brother, and he rebelled by simply not doing the work, and his attempt at solving the problem had my parents in a serious state of distress.
That was when my mom started talking about online classes. She thought they would be good for him due to the fact that he would control when he listened to a lesson, and while there were still assignments and due dates, he could decide when he did the work. He wouldn’t know if another student was given a free pass, or an F, and he wouldn’t have any excuses for not feeling like everyone had the same workload. Our school wouldn’t allow it unless he withdrew from the traditional classes, so the option went away, until that summer.
His lack of effort culminated in his not passing three classes. My parents were furious, but also determined to make sure that he graduated on time, so my mother enrolled him in summer school, with online classes. He wasn’t thrilled about “wasting” summer on school, but no one offered any sympathy, since clearly, he had no one to blame but himself. So he started the classes, and something happened!
He watched lessons, and sometimes, once was enough. But other times, when the lessons were difficult for him, instead of shutting down, and coming home to attempt homework and have nearly no recall of the lesson from earlier in the day, he could replay the lesson, once, twice, even three times, until the lesson made sense. You could see the triumph in his eyes. He had found a way that worked for him! He never missed an assignment that summer. He did more in that session than he ever had before, and he felt in control of his performance. He passed both classes, not just by the skin of his teeth as he often did, but with a solid B and an A!
After that, he wanted to take all his classes online, but again the school refused, saying that if he did that, he would not be able to attend any school activities as a member, and he was not willing to give up sports, so he stayed in the traditional classroom and continued struggling. Ever since then, I have thought about the stupidity of not allowing a system that works for a student to be utilized more consistently. Clearly, a course that was approved and mandated by the state education council existed, so why was a student being denied?
In this case, I think it all came down to money. If the school “lost” a student, they would not receive funding for that student. My brothers’ education and what worked for him played second fiddle to the magic of money. I know that more and more schools are offering online courses, and some colleges have programs that are now 100% available online! I myself am a hands-on learner. I like being in the classroom, and asking questions, but I know that my brother, my twin, by the way, is exactly the opposite. He doesn’t want to hear questions asked that he already knows the answer to, and he doesn’t want to raise his hand to ask a question because he expects everyone around him to think his question is equally daft. He doesn’t take great notes, so he listens to the parts he needs to hear as often as he needs to. I take explicit notes and can remember what my instructor was wearing on the day we discussed a particular theory. All this means is that we all learn differently, even twins, who are literally given life in the same place, raised with the same rules, the same foods, the same opportunities and hardships.
As children are becoming more and more technically savvy, and are taught computers in kindergarten, we need to be open to the variety of ways a student can learn. Some will be like me, and will always want to have a teacher they can see, and touch and talk to. Others will be fine with a text book, an exam, and their perfect memory. Still others will be like my brother, who can go at their own pace: quickly when things make sense, slower when they don’t.
Like anything in life, there are no magic answers to the way things need to work in a society, and there can’t ever be a single way that students learn. As educators, parents and students, we need to continue pushing for alternative methods of teaching and learning, and be open to new ideas and strategies. There is no real downside to e-learning. We should support it wholeheartedly, and allow its’ popularity and its’ value to continue to grow.
For the past century, the traditional education model has functioned in providing the most basic knowledge to get students prepared for the workforce. Evidently, millions of students around the world are alienated due to a failing system that was created for a different era. Rather than aiming for individualized mastery and the development of skills, the traditional education model shoves all students to mindlessly listen to lectures, finish homework, and complete assessments. When students lack in a certain topic or fail to understand a concept, they are forced to move forward onto larger and more complex areas of study. In the 21st century, the needs of the constantly changing global economy, the ever-growing needs of children around the world for a basic education, and the requirement for all students to learn and grow at their own pace has been met with the extraordinary capability of online learning.
As a child growing up in an immigrant family, I found it extremely difficult to adapt from the peaceful, family-oriented lifestyle of Kerala, India to the foreign environment of Ontario, Canada with its cultural, traditional, and linguistic differences. When I was four years old, just one year after we immigrated to Canada, I was introduced to the hectic commotion of a kindergarten classroom knowing only two words in English: “washroom” and “water”. My teacher had to frequently call my mother to my school because I had such a hard time fitting in with other children resulting in bad behaviour and constant tantrums. The pace at which my teacher was teaching English was too fast for me to learn so I had to resort to my mother completing my homework in a disappointed and defeated mood. When I went to the first-grade other students were moving on to reading whole books while I could not even complete full sentences. There was this one time where it was my turn to read a paragraph of the Paper Bag Princess to the class and in utter embarrassment, I started to weep and throw a tantrum to the point where my mother had to be called in to take me home. That was the day my mother decided to introduce me to the education tool of online learning.
Every day my mother would show me videos online to teach me the fundamentals of English such as pronunciation, the identification of verbs and nouns, and even very simple comprehension. I was terrible at first, but it was clear that I had begun to make progress. My mother would sit with me and after I had finished some activities to help me understand the concept at my own pace, she would read a story to me. Slowly, by the end of the year, I went from being a below-average reader to a reader who could read whole Robert Munsch stories with pride. As time passed, my desire for learning increased and my success in academics grew; I still utilize online platforms to develop my skills and continuously learn. Several organizations such as Khan Academy and Crash Course are the sole reason why I can succeed in courses like math and physics as I can grasp knowledge at an individualized pace and achieve mastery in what I desire to learn. Online learning had opened a door for me to gain confidence in my abilities, utilize the skills that I had developed to accelerate in the classroom, and it has encouraged me to grow in my educational endeavours. It transformed an immigrant child with no skills, no ability to speak, and no selfconfidence into a 98.3% average student that has brought home medals in an international business casestudy competition and has created a huge impact in the community.
Online learning continuously proves to shape the way students around the world can learn as witnessed through its impact on my life. It is a revolution that takes into consideration the millions of students around the world that have problems in regards to not being able to follow along in class, not being able to learn at the same pace as other peers, or even the misfortune of not being able to afford or access a basic education. Global leaders such as Bill Gates are investing millions of dollars into education so that millions of educators around the world can harness the power of online learning and provide opportunities to students and shape the future generation.
In the past couple of decades, technology has improved at an astronomical rate and slowly has crept into classrooms to assist with teaching. There has been a change in the student and teacher relationship as the role of a teacher has changed from being the sole source of information to “facilitating the learning process rather than simply teaching” (Pazzanese). Students are actively collaborating in classrooms and utilizing technology for making the research process more efficient and effective. Platforms such as Google Classroom also assist teachers to collect, distribute and post information online so that all students can easily access it and avoid problems such as losing work and forgetting deadlines. The largest and most reputable institutions in the world such has Harvard has recognized that technology serves as a tool to “focus on higher-order thinking skills that are related to judgement, analysis, and creativity” opposed to “lowest-order thinking skills like memory and procedures” which are commonly emphasized in the traditional education model (Pazzanese). Harvard has also introduced “i-labs” which are technology innovation labs that provides students with technology to solve problems in a group effort (Pazzanese).
Along with changing the classroom dynamic in developed nations, online learning has proved to play an important role in the development of education in developing countries. Dell’s Youth Learning initiative and the Text to Change project are examples of endeavours that help provide technology to connect young people in developing nations to their political situations and serve as tools to enhance their learning. Over a “150 000 young people across Africa” were engaged in the TTC project that helped them voice out their concerns with hashtags such as “#GhanaDecides” and exposed them to the benefits of technology (Kelly).
The changing paradigm in global education has been evident through the power of online learning. The ability to have access to an unlimited source of information has proved to be life-changing for me along with millions of students around the world. The problems that the traditional education model has including a disconnect between students and their teachers, a lack of interaction in the classroom, and the disregard for students with specific learning needs are all being met by the revolution of technology. Online learning is beneficial to every individual that has a desire to learn and is a ship that brings one to the sea of knowledge. Studium, eruditionis, crescat. Let the zeal for learning flourish.
The concept of online education, at large, marks the edge of an era. eLearning allows for students to abandon the concept of traditional learning - the idea of a teacher and a blackboard standing in front of thirty to forty students - and begin to grow closer to the idea of essentially self-taught education. Self-taught information has a tendency to remain with a student far longer when compared to information fed to students through the pipeline, slow and steady but eventually ready to leave.
In a traditional learning environment, students are taught in the same method by a teacher that is rarely yielding for the different capacities and needs of diverse groups of students. Within an eLearning situation, the ideal is different - the student is able to learn at their own pace, with their own style of learning and in a situation in which the student is perfectly at ease. This style of teaching and learning allows for greater collaboration between a student and their teacher - a student has the freedom and the space that they need to ensure that learning occurs and the teacher as an available resource for greater learning.
eLearning also offers greater opportunities for students that may not bloom under traditional learning ideals. eLearning offers students opportunities to reach out for help under situations at which the student is comfortable. Programs such as FLVS that offer students a method to learn in the comfort of their own home give students a place in which they feel safe where they might not at school. This can allow for a growth within students in terms of the information they learn and the success to which they may learn. This is largely due to the fact that studying outside of an intensive school environment, where students can face very real hardships such as the presence of bullies (something that can extend beyond the school-day with the help of modern technologies), and a crushing sense of peer pressure that can build onto the shoulders of students across the globe. However, in the safety of home, a student would be able to feel safe in order to reach out for any help they may require as well as understand the information being presented to them in their own manner, while having their teachers just the click of a button away.
eLearning has benefits for students of all kinds. Precocious students, who need a faster pace of learning or teaching that may not always be available to them through traditional forms of learning would now have a resource in which they would be able to access and learn the information they need while going through the schooling required at a pace they prefer. For students that need a slower pace, eLearning would also offer a place for them to comfortably learn - these students would be able to access all the resources eLearning can offer and learn at the pace they need; there would be no pressure for the students to keep up with others. In this manner, eLearning can be beneficial for the whole range of students. For example, the students that get bored within traditional learning environments - because the speed at which the information is being taught appears to be too slow for them - can now successfully move through classes and work loads in a speed at which the students can succeed. The students that need extra time or attention from teachers would now be able to reach out for the assistance and would not have to fear the inevitable negative attention they would receive from other students as eLearning would offer a medicrome of privacy for students to access the resources they may need.
eLearning carries with itself a great deal of benefits. For students, it offers an opportunity to learn in an environment where the student feels safe and has every possible resource available at hand. For governments and teachers, eLearning also brings benefits. With the concept of eLearning, government money would be able to pull away from the physical cost of building schools, and instead allow them to pay teachers more for the quality of learning. This, in turn, benefits the students as they would have teachers that would be more motivated to teach and ensure that their students are doing well.
However, eLearning can also pose certain negative possibilities. eLearning can isolate students from interacting with their classmates in an environment that could be necessary for social learning. Traditional learning environments are a place where the growing generation is offered the opportunity to interact with peers near their age. It offers students an opportunity to deal with high-stress environments and teaches them valuable social skills. For example, skills such as dealing with unfavourable people in a group setting in which each member of the group must contribute is something offered solely within a traditional learning environment. This skill is especially beneficial to students as it prepares them for later working environment life, in which students would be forced to work with people they may not like or are unfavourable to work with. Within an eLearning environment, this skill would not be fully developed as it would be in a traditional learning environment. eLearning may also fall short in situations where students need a physical teacher in front of them. For these students, learning from an online environment may have to be alongside a teacher physically showing the student the information, and allowing the student to learn. eLearning may fail these students’ needs as well.
While eLearning does have negative aspects to it, it can be reasonably understood that the benefits that eLearning brings forth are far more plentiful. As such, it can also be reasonably understood that the development of technologies that is sending society down a path towards the integration of eLearning into schools and learning environments can be especially helpful for students in the future. Currently, society is at the line between two eras of education - between traditional learning and the integration of eLearning. As society continues to develop in a manner to integrate eLearning into the traditional learning environment, it can be understood that countless benefits will emerge.
E-learning is empowering people to seek knowledge and growth in a world that is everchanging. This means the average person can pursue skills in a comfortable environment. It empowers those with disabilities, low self-esteem or the awkward person the ability to learn in a nonthreatening environment. This experience is a win/win for the learner and the facilitator and will encourage those individuals that have challenges in the academic area. It will Diminish the number of learners that may lose confidence in the standard classroom or training facility. It provides an opportunity for facilitators to have a one-on-one with each participant and identify learning objectives.
It has given opportunities for people to learn at different times and locations. These tools enable people to learn from anywhere in the world. They are self-paced, classroom directed, and remote locations. In the past, people had to go into a brick and mortar to learn. It allows for people to learn on an individual basis without distractions and enables the participant to feel empowered.
Now, one of the more popular e-learning systems involves classroom type groups with an instructor and a group of participants, each participating remotely from anywhere in the world. This is a cost-saving mechanism for schools and businesses. It removes the traditional classroom setting and individuals are able to communicate and learn in their own time, space and schedule. These type of learning enables the facilitator to continue to move forward with learning without impeding the process for the entire class. Often times, objectives are set for a project or an assignment and the participants are allowed to move forward upon completion of the project or assignment.
With the emergence of internet access, there has been an increase in e-learning opportunities that has openly given the rise to online tutoring, honing in a specific skill, creating insight, and personal growth. The popularity of internet-driven academics such as Khan Academy, Udacity, CodeCombat and Udemy people are given a vast innovate way to learn. These selfdirected, interactive, video-based learning tools have excelled the learning process. In the past, the library was the source of information and people were forced to read. Now, these learning opportunities have modernized the experience and will reach a diverse group of people in a short amount time without compromising the learning environment.
As E-learning continues to grow, the look of the typical learner will change. Learning was once a traditional teacher-centered method focused on rote learning and memorization. Each student has different learning styles and rote learning or memorization may not always yield success in an academic environment. Many times children are taught to a specific test but not taught to learn and build knowledge through practical exercises and concepts. Children aren’t robots. Children learned through play, role play, build and design. Once school-aged children enter public school the art of learning is turned into the hearing, say, speak and write. The tools that are necessary to recall and retain information are lost almost immediately. Public schools are taught to focus on success through required testing and memorization. The children aren’t taught the other alternative, the other option to solve a problem, or the mere idea to think outside the box. Public school should adhere to the requirements of the department of education.
As I was revisiting the early 1900’s concepts of project-based learning, this form of learning enables the individual to implement and design projects from their perspective. With project-based learning, people will be able to apply their skills in a shorter amount of time and on their own schedules. Project-based learning and E-learning is very effective when teaching skills that students are likely to struggle in. Project-based learning and E-learning can help individuals that aren’t good with time management. In comparison to homeschooling, project-based learning and E-learning allows the student to self – teach and provides discipline. It fosters a sense of creativity and mastering concepts without distractions.
In many cases, people want to see the end results of a project. It will give them a sense of ownership and accountability. These project-based learning initiatives will provide real-life examples that represent solutions and problem-solving techniques. Each student will be able to modify their learning process and utilize tools that will motivate them to be independent learners. This can bridge the gap and open the door for hands-on training. It will create more room for students to obtain internships and provide a sound portfolio for an organization.
The overall benefits of this revised style of learning are the creativity and individuality it brings to the environment. The social pressures to fit in, conform or find value within a culture that often times doesn’t value diversity. Everyone is allotted the opportunity to present ideas that speak to their personal character and growth. People are driven to see their personal development and explore the next goal in their life’s. People are empowered to gain wisdom through attainment on their terms and what is valued in their life’s. They can dive into their passion.
E-learning will benefit the soft-spoken, passive, and the behind the scene type of individual. Many times people perform at a higher level when they have to conform to what “normal” is. Elearning allows individuals to thrive on a less platform. It provides endless opportunities to the learning to build, learn, design and create masterpieces. As a society, we are quick to judge and criticize what’s unique about an individual. Learning should allow the individual to build, explore and play beyond the classroom. Yet, we speak of diversity but still pressure people to conform. In my opinion, e-learning will benefit schools and organizations. It will allow people to find their passion, hone it on it and build a brand that creates character.
For years, the question of how one will get educated has had a single answer: apply to a school, pay for your education, and attend classes. However, in recent years, a new answer has become more relevant. Rather than the traditional way of learning, people have been completing college courses, listening to lectures, and submitting assignments via the internet to receive a degree. This online learning is changing education as we know it. College is not always a simple decision for everyone; some people have no need to worry about the time or expenses required for college and easily choose to apply and attend. Many do not have the money required to attend traditional colleges, or have families or people they need to take care of and simply don’t have the time to attend school. Nowadays, online education offers advantages never before accessible.
Online education offers many innovative features that encourage education based on an individual’s needs. Firstly, learning online can be much cheaper than attending a traditional college. It costs less to attend, requires no commute, and textbooks may even be found online for free. One may be hesitant to apply for online learning, thinking that they will get fewer opportunities, but in reality, a great variety of degrees are offered; essentially, one can get exceptional learning opportunities for less money. Another attractive quality of this type of education is that it is entirely based on the schedule of the student.
In terms of scheduling, if one has no time to learn during a certain period of time during the day, they can choose to take their classes at any other point, whereas traditional schools have set schedule. This way one’s learning schedule is very flexible. Because of this, a student also has the opportunity to either use only part of their already busy day to learn over a long period of time or to finish their studies faster than a normal college by using more time – day or night – to study online.
In addition to scheduling advantages, online learning offers many other positive attributes. For example, since the learning material may consist of recorded lessons and lectures online, it offers the opportunity to go back and review material one did not fully understand initially. Since in traditional college, professors teach a class directly, one is not as easily able to review the material learned in the lecture. However, this may lead one to believe that if they still have questions, they have no one to whom they can turn. This is not the case. In online education, students can join online discussions, or even schedule one on one video chats with professors to ask questions and clarify material. Students can easily receive this education in the luxury of their own homes, wearing whatever clothes they feel comfortable in, without the distraction of other students around them. On top of everything, receiving an education through the internet requires one to understand how to use basic computer skills through submitting assignments and projects, sharing documents, and adjusting audio and video. E-learning clearly has benefits that cannot be offered by traditional schools and will help a large group of struggling individuals.
While online education can personally aid anyone’s individual learning, it specifically targets those who struggle and need certain leniencies. If a person does not have enough money and is trying to support their family, this will be prioritized over a traditional education. One may need to have multiple jobs just to get enough money to provide food, and have no time to attend classes during the day. E-learning can change the lives of people in these situations. With its cheaper classes and personalized schedule, one can have a job, support their family, and earn a degree at the same time. With their education, they can potentially get a better job with a better pay, and ultimately have an easier time supporting themselves and their families. This education has the potential for saving individuals in poor socio-economic situations that have no access to education.
When choosing between traditional and online education, there are disadvantages to online learning one must understand to make the choice that best suits him or her. In a traditional college, a student encounters peers from all over the world. When taking classes online, one will not experience diversity to the same degree one does on campus. Additionally, a crowd can help motivate a student to keep attending classes and working through tough projects. Online students need to be highly self-motivated to keep up their studies and must avoid distractions in their homes or wherever they take the course. While online education offers a flexible schedule, it may be easier for a student to have a set schedule to which he/she can commit, as opposed to picking up a class whenever the student feels like it. A student attending traditional classes also gets the opportunity to meet with professors in person, while an online student likely will not. Another pitfall of online learning is the relaxed nature of the venue. Lying down when working and not dressing properly can lead to a lazy mindset, and prevent them from working as well as they potentially could. While online learning offers many advantages, these aspects could hinder the ideal, fullest education a student could receive and must be considered.
In conclusion, online education offers numerous benefits that have been unavailable in the past. This can lead to the education of thousands more who were unable to receive it. Its undeniable benefits offer potential students a cheaper, personalized, and more flexible education. In the future, many more people who unable to take the traditional route will take this opportunity to go to college and improve their personal lives. However, traditional colleges still offer many advantages that many students search for in their education, including diversity and motivation. Therefore, while online learning will not necessarily replace traditional education, it will increase the number of people who choose to study in college and receive the proper education they observe.
There is something extremely daunting about a career change, especially considering that the process can take years. From finding a new passion, retraining yourself, and marketing yourself to employers, the list of tasks that need to be completed during this process can seem endless. Some individuals might not even have the time or the finances to achieve these goals, and be forced to stay in a job that leaves them unhappy and unfulfilled.
I was one of these individuals. As a first generation Canadian, there was an unspoken understanding in my household about the way that my immigrant parents struggled with finances when they first came to Canada. Seeing all this made me understand the importance of financial stability, and when those around me indicated that becoming a Chartered Professional Accountant (otherwise known as a Certified Public Accountant in the US) offered financial security, I took internships in the field and committed myself to this career at the age of 18.
However, during these brief internships, I found myself dreaming to be something else, and yearning to learn more about the human condition. I was not happy in my career, and I needed to find a path that would lead me to finding and pursuing other passions. Thankfully, I was able to develop new skills that allowed me to transition into a career in health and economic research, and I believe that online learning courses and programs were instrumental in making that transition.
Some people are not in as privileged of a position. The trends in automation leading to lower job supply, in conjunction with financial recessions, or even workplace discrimination can limit your access to jobs in certain fields. As a result of these restrictions, people around the world are being led into a world financial instability, mandatory job retraining, and in some cases, mental health struggles.
How can people find a new path in such a rapidly changing environment, with limited resources? Online education can serve as a saving grace for those who need to learn new skills, find new passions, and make that career change that they have always wanted. Here are three reasons why online learning will be instrumental in finding your calling:
1. DIRECTION: The online world is like a cornucopia of knowledge that is easily retrievable, and this makes it easy to learn more about what you are interested in doing. Having pages and pages of educational content and personal anecdotes at your fingertips makes it easy for you to learn about different career paths and begin to develop the required competencies and skills that are needed to break into a field. Before these online programs were developed, it was definitely possible to access knowledge that would allow you to make a career change, and some of the methods are still employed today! You can read books about potential fields of interest, have coffee with talented individuals who work in a field that you enjoy, or take college courses to develop your knowledge and skills of the world. However, the online platform can be used in conjunction with these methods to find your passion and make informed decisions about the job prospects in your fields of interest. I knew that I was interested in two things: learning about the human body, and analyzing data to develop useful scientific methods and knowledge. Before I started learning about different career paths on the internet, I thought it was not possible for me to get into this field. My impression was that you needed to be a doctor in order to make a meaningful impact in health research, but the information I was able to find proved me wrong. The careers in health were abundant, and combined my two interests very well. I was able to take online courses on clinical practices and epidemiology in order to develop the vocabulary and knowledge that would serve as an important tool in my transition into the field of research.
2. LOW COST AND HIGH ACCESSIBILITY: Schools or colleges are some of the traditional methods for broadening your perspectives on the world. However, online education is breaking this standard by offering courses at a fraction of the cost of traditional educational models. When you can forego the costs of a classroom course, and save the money that you would otherwise spend on meals and transportation, it makes sense to develop your knowledge using online platforms. In addition, different individuals have different learning styles that can be better accommodated on the internet than a classroom. Even schools and universities are hopping onto the movement, as they are developing online courses that are offered to their students. When I wanted to make a career change, I was terrified of the financial burdens that a risk like this would create. I searched for low cost options that could be used to find my passions, and develop the skills that were required for my careers of interest.
3. QUALITY CONTROL: Some may argue that online courses are of lower quality, and that you get what you pay for, but is this necessarily true? For those of us that have been in a high school or college classroom, how many times have we been frustrated with a teacher or professor who just can’t seem to explain things properly? On the internet, there are infinite ways to provide feedback on courses. From reviews, to comments, to likes and dislikes on an educational YouTube video, there are so many methods to gauge the quality of what you are about to learn. Online reviewers also speak openly about the qualitative aspects of a course, and what audiences are best suited to learn from a certain platform. For example, if you are interested in coding, there are hundreds of online forums with people discussing whether or not CodeAcademy, Coursera, or another website is the best way to start your coding journey. Having this level of customization can speed up the learning process and make online courses a more engaging experience.
In conjunction with other resources, online courses contain a treasure trove of low-cost, high- quality educational resources that can allow you to find your true passion in life. Today, I am looking to pursue a career in research that would not have been possible had it not been for the knowledge I developed online. As I finish up my undergraduate degree and begin applying for grad schools, I slowly realize that the classroom is not the only place where you should learn. The people are around you provide valuable advice, and the magic of online courses is valuable as well.
The ritual of attending school for the duration of about six hours everyday, five days a week, was ingrained in my life at a young age. The commitment to this practice wasn’t too difficult to abide to, regardless of the childish pleas to stay home. However, as I entered my seventh grade year, I began to develop anxiety due to the pressure exerted from my peers. This resulted into a significant loss of weight and depression that inhibited me from focusing in my classes and eventually from attending them in general. Fortunately, I was able to recover and regain my health. But, the discrepancy in my learning could not be reversed and while I needed to compensate for the work I had missed, the traditional classroom setting was too stressful. Due to the limited availability of my teachers, I had to invest a significant amount of time teaching myself in order to succeed in my courses. In the process of independent study, I came across eLearning that helped me regain my academic standing and has never failed to guide me in the recent years as I pursue my career.
ELearning is changing the traditional form of learning by providing individuals with quality education in the comfort of their desired environment and schedule. This advantage serves as a reason for why this form of learning is shaping the future of education because it provides an alternative for people of all ages who aspire to gain knowledge. In regards to students, their academic path will greatly benefit from eLearning because it will provide them a great variety of teachers and courses, giving them jurisdiction of how they want to be taught and what they want to learn. With this choice, students will feel motivated and eager to delve into their curriculum. Those who will benefit the most from eLearning would be students who may struggle learning in a classroom or even older generations who want to go back to school, but are overwhelmed with their responsibilities to family or other commitments. In addition, it has the capacity to help developing nations.
The traditional education model can be layly defined as education provided by a qualified instructor at an academic institution, such as a school. While this system serves millions of individuals worldwide, technological advancements have also made eLearning a viable option. ELearning can be defined as the utilization of “ electronic technologies to access [an] educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom” (“What is eLearning?”). This definition displays the benefit of this style of learning because it doesn’t require individuals to physically attend an academic institution in order to get their education. They are able to receive the same curriculum in their leisure, no matter the location. The flexibility in eLearning is a suitable explanation for why it is shaping the future of education because it is not commonly found in the traditional education model that binds individuals to a certain location to receive knowledge. Therefore, the future of education may include the integration of more individuals who want to learn at their own pace and can do so through eLearning.
Students especially will reap many benefits from utilizing eLearning because they are given a diverse set of teachers and courses to choose from which will encourage them to find their passion. For instance, Zeqr is one of the many platforms for eLearning that offers many classes, from mathematics to marketing, taught by “ experts from all around the world” (“How it Works”). This diversity in tutors is extremely beneficial to students because they are able to experience different methods of teaching and decide which one they can learn the best from. In addition to that, there are a variety of courses provided to students through eLearning that the school they attend may lack. For example, on Zeqr, there is a specific class designated for creating an e-commerce store in which students can learn “the benefits of certain e-commerce business models” (Bastock). Classes like these aren’t easily accessible to students who are subjected to choose only from an array of classes that their academic institution provides. This hinders their aspiration to learn, especially when students can’t take courses applicable to the career they are most interested in. Students who want to pursue an occupation in business or marketing will greatly benefit from taking this class on Zeqr. This is a significant change in how students learn because they will be given choices on which academic path to take and will be able to pursue their goals with just a click of a button.
As a student who struggled in a traditional classroom setting, the opportunity to educate myself through eLearning was the best decision I made. Although I am currently enrolled in an established high school and pursuing a distinguished university afterwards, I still benefit from online classes, and I’m not the only one. For instance, there are some students who can’t readily attend school every weekday due to health conditions or personal preference by their parents or themselves. ELearning ensures that these individuals will not be deferred from quality education; instead, they will procure the same information as their counterparts and with even more flexibility to their schedule. This new, digital education model will be lenient to students who come from struggling families and contribute to their family income by working part-time, thus conflicting with the traditional system of learning at school. Through eLearning, these students can advance their education while working. This benefit is also provided to adults who want to continue their learning, but are preoccupied with family or other commitments. In regards to the number of individuals returning to school, the National Center of Education Statistics or NCES, has placed “projections of higher education enrollment from 2007–2018 [and] suggest that the number of students over twenty-five will remain stable or increase during the current decade (Hussar and Bailey 2009)” (Ross-Gordon). This means the influx of adults motivated to return to school may considerably grow and with this is the overwhelming pressure of balancing both family and education. ELearning will greatly benefit these adults because they will be able to take their courses at the comfort of their home which allows them to supervise their family.
While eLearning can help the individual, it has the potential to help nations. For instance, developing countries may utilize this education model and “some universities in developing countries have been early adopters of eLearning that has proven beneficial for students” (Douglas et al.). This conveys the future of not just education, but of countries that are rising from the ground up. While the traditional education system of one country can’t easily provide the education of a developing sovereign state, eLearning can be comprised of a global community that can help teach thousands of people through a digital screen.
The future of education corresponds with the rapid innovation of technology. With this, comes eLearning, which provides flexibility to one’s schedule and places control of one’s career in their own hands. While the traditional education model continues to thrive, there is no denying that education is constantly changing due to eLearning.
As an adult student returning to college in 2008, there were few online options. I worked full time and went to school half to three‐quarters time. Thankfully the community college I chose to attend, Coastline Community College, was a distance learning college that worked with a lot of military personnel, so they had some online and distance learning options as well as onsite options. I took a mixture of all the options they had. I graduated with two Associate Degrees but then had to figure out how to obtain my Bachelor degree online. Very few colleges offered online degrees in 2012, it just was not a “thing” yet.
I was accepted into several local universities, but my work would not allow me to leave early and they were not close enough to get to right after work and make it before class started. Many adults are in this situation. Adults work full time, have a spouse and/or child at home waiting for them and many of us cannot leave work early each week to work on a degree. Online degrees are amazing tools for the busy working adult because we can work our class assignments and reading into our daily schedules.
Going to college online takes a bit of adjustment. There are no set class times and most instructors do not film lectures for you. You must be proactive, read all your assignments and submit everything on time. Class time is considered the participation in the discussion boards. This is where you respond to prompts from your professor and interact with other classmates on their posts. Students are required to take responsibility of their own learning if they chose to attend classes online.
Online learning is making education more accessible to everyone! I ended up applying and getting my online BS degree in History from Eastern Oregon University. At the time, they were the only university I could find that had online degree programs. If it hadn’t been for online programs, I would not have been able to get my bachelor’s degree. I was unable to attend night classes because the times either were not available, or I could not make them due to traffic and work obligations.
Fast forward a couple of years, I began the hunt for an online Master’s program. I tried schools all over Texas, Mississippi, etc. I was unable to locate any program local or far that was offered online. Our local university didn’t offer night classes for my graduate program. I finally found Southern New Hampshire University who offered a history graduate program online! It has truly been a game changer for me.
I can obtain my education, work full time, take care of my family, and still have time to spend with my family. I fit my assigned readings and homework in throughout the week, even if that means on my lunch break, evenings, and weekends. Other adults can benefit from online education as well. You must be motivated and driven. You need to be organized. You cannot procrastinate or be lazy. Your professor is not going to do this for you, you have to put in the work.
Online education really is a wonderful option for working adults because it allows any adult to obtain an education if they wanted. Online is more work and probably more hours since you do not meet weekly for classes, but it makes education more accessible for the average person. If you have kids, they see you working hard to educate yourself and it encourages them to do the same. Children will learn to value their education and see how important it is to continue to college. The accomplishment you feel once you graduate is infectious! I have taken classes every semester since 2008 until recently. If you can only take one or two classes at a time, it does not matter how long it takes as long as you finish!
College has always given you a bit more freedom and online college gives you a bit more. You have your due dates each week and that’s it. I imagine as the years progress; online learning will shift again. It is being offered by more schools these days, but it may become more advanced by having video class times, etc. We have e‐books, submit papers and projects online, and do online discussion boards. We can listen to lectures thru a computer without having to attend class. We can see the pictures and articles our professors want to share with us. If we are local, we can meet with other students for study groups or we can even do that online as well! With the digital age advancing rapidly, online education will only improve and offer more for the student and teachers. Teachers can run essays thru online programs that automatically check for plagiarism. I can only imagine how many more online tools they have at their disposal to help them grade assignments and interact with the students. Technology is an awesome thing and for online education, it can only get better!
The rise of online learning in the 21st century has provoked a worldwide massification of education far surpassing that of the post-war period. In 2016 alone, 5.8 million US students were enrolled in online courses, an increase of 263% over the past twelve years (two-thirds were taken at public institutions). This has meant profound changes for traditional education as we know it.
Online learning broadly falls into two categories: self-directed and “e-learning.” Both have a range of applications, however the former often applies to individual use of online resources (such as video tutorials or apps) or training modules for certification. “E-learning,” in contrast, uses electronic media to present an educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom setting. Typically, this still involves a formal teaching component with live, interactive content (for example, allowing students to communicate with their peers and instructors). Online activity can either complement an in-person course or form the core of the learning experience, such as hybridized models where students work through digital materials with the option of receiving on-demand assistance. Online learning activities can therefore be designed for individuals, small class groups, or even thousands of people at a time (such as with Massive Open Online Courses, also known as MOOCs).
But why is online learning growing in education? At the core of this development is the rise of the internet and the hugely expanded accessibility of digital information. This includes the increased availability of devices for consuming media—no longer just PCs but also smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and more—and a proliferation in educational content via news sites, blogs, podcasts, and tutorials. Competition has also pushed the private sector to adopt online learning strategies; in 2014, more than three-quarters of US companies offered some form of corporate training for employees, up from only 4% in 1995.
Yet perhaps one of the most important factors is the increased expectations of employers. Recent data showed that 32% of US employers surveyed had increased their hiring requirements over the past five years, with 37% asking for a college degree from positions that previously required a high school diploma and 27% asking for a Master’s degree for those that previously required only a Bachelor’s. In addition, by 2020, 65% of US jobs will require postsecondary education or training beyond high school. To be successful in this market, students must also understand the latest technological tools in their sector, whether it is information systems or project management software. As such, colleges and universities are feeling the pressure to expand their offerings and produce graduates with the career skills needed to compete in a globalizing world.
How is this changing the ways in which students learn? It was once thought that online education could not be as effective as traditional models because it lacked the same human element. Yet e-learning has grown increasingly popular as both technology and pedagogy improves. Cognitive science research has shown that multimedia learning through new educational technologies can actually enhance knowledge acquisition, consolidation, and application. However, improving student outcomes in this way requires the effective integration of material that matches the needs of diverse learners, such as images, videos, lecture recordings, live interaction, and discussion forums. Educational research around online learning has focused on improving these learning tools, teacher training, and student engagement. Elearning is therefore gaining respect both as an educational approach and a focus of research in and of itself. As the Online Learning Consortium has stated, “e-learning has evolved into a global change agent in higher education.” Post-secondary providers must be prepared to innovate and adopt these new methodologies in order to remain relevant in a quickly-evolving environment.
In essence, e-learning has blurred “traditional relationships [of the classroom], removing geography as a defining element in the student-institution relationship.” Who will benefit most from this new style of education? New media is often associated with urban youth, however these developments also offer exciting potential for non-traditional students and remote, underserved communities. While many newer universities and colleges have developed around online offerings, such tools also offer an opportunity to break down barriers to accessing existing institutions. In fact, for many educators, one of the main goals of e-learning is increasing enrolment of capable students who might not otherwise attend campus-based schooling; this can be achieved in part by increasing flexibility for engaging with the learning process, for example by offering part-time programs that better accommodate working students and those with families. This can similarly open doors for mature students or adult learners seeking high school completion, professional development, or simply an expansion of their own worldview.
One area where e-learning could be particularly impactful is increasing educational attainment for Indigenous people on reserves. In Canada, Indigenous people aged 15 and over have much lower rates of education than their non-Indigenous counterparts, with 43.7 percent not holding any certificate, diploma or degree in 2006, compared to 23.1 percent for the rest of the population. At the same time, only 4% of those living on reserve, and 8% in total, have a university degree, compared to 23% of non-Indigenous people. Indigenous peoples in Canada also face higher rates of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, incarceration, addiction, and illness.
Of course, e-learning is not a magic bullet for improving the situation of Indigenous peoples in Canada. There are many challenges to expanding educational access for these communities, such as the “digital divide”—a lack of computers, internet service, and basic technological infrastructure. Furthermore, many university educators do not have specialized knowledge for tailoring curricula to non-traditional students15 or still hold biases surrounding the quality of online education. This can contribute to a hesitancy among established universities to adopt more flexible, online learning programs.
However, some schools are clearly innovating in this area. For example, in August 2015, the McGill University School of Continuing Studies received a multi-year, $1.2 million federal grant to expand distance learning programs for Indigenous peoples in remote communities. The School currently offers online certificate programs in Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Information Systems, and Education, while their Career and Professional Development Office works with a number of communities in Northern Quebec and Ontario to offer placement opportunities for Indigenous students. These programs are a collaboration between the university, Indigenous governments, and economic development offices.
There is also exciting potential for the expansion of Indigenous e-learning in particular jurisdictions. In Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the impact of public residential schooling—which separated Indigenous children from their families as part of a century of assimilationist policies—has called on the Canadian government “to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians” (Article 7) and “to provide adequate funding to end the backlog of First Nations students seeking a postsecondary education” (Article 11). As a result, the 2016 federal budget included investments of $165 million over five years for post-secondary education and skills training for Indigenous peoples, as well as nearly $90 million over three years for traditional language revitalization programs.19 Both areas involve elearning and online certification approaches to educational delivery. While much more remains to be done, with bold action and policy commitments it will be possible to expand e-learning to reach those who need it most. At its best, online learning should not simply benefit those who already have the greatest access to schooling, but operate as a tool to achieve universal education for all.
Erin Sobat, McGill University
When I returned to school as a mature student, I knew that it would be a different experience in relation to the ones I had in my memory. School had been a place of structure, single-paced, streamlined thinking. While I had always excelled in my studies, I admit that I approached my new adventure with some trepidation. I knew there would be an adjustment period, and that many of the students I would be learning with, would possess a more current knowledge of the ways of learning. Even knowing this logically; I was unprepared for what lay ahead, and I quickly learned that I had some additional skills to put into place if I wanted to ensure my success.
While the traditional model of classrooms and teachings still echo in the academic outlines of each program, there is a hum that is underlying that cannot be ignored. That is the sound waves of change that come from the electronic learning that is racing towards the forefront of our education system. Not only in post secondary institutions, but perhaps even more notably, in the younger school- aged systems. I am not one to shy away from technology; however, I grew up in a time where computers were for those who were privileged and wealthy. In today’s family, school, medical field, to mention only a few, the presence of computers, ipods, ipads, and kobo’s, is not only seen, it is expected. Within the classroom environment, an educator is faced with many challenges, some of which are easily addressed, and others create a boundary to learning, growing and maturing. With the average class size within Ontario growing, there is a higher likelihood that there are individuals with varied learning styles, capabilities, as well as cultural needs. When planning out lessons, following current curriculum requirements, as well as instilling interest in the subject, there is much to consider. In a classroom, one must be sensitive to the weakest, to the strongest student. Challenging a group of young minds to be stimulated and engaged, in a world that is already so often “plugged in” is not an easy task.
E-learning creates as break in the traditional “read, make notes, memorize” model that has been used for so long within the classroom setting. There is an opportunity for learning through games, tasking, use of the internet that also gives students a lesson in judgment. Just because it is posted on the internet, does not mean that it is gospel truth; therefore, creating discernment within the minds of the researcher. Children, young adults, as well as older adults, are all exposed to a vast amount of information, much of which is portrayed through social media means. Including in the structure of the learning environment, a way to see the computer as a tool for learning and positive impact, is absolutely a progressive step.
One argument against the reliance on E-Learning, is that, in an already oversaturated market of online stimuli, we are putting ourselves and our young minds, in front of a computer yet again, and depriving them from the ability to learn simple to complex social skills. We have a generation of young people who are more likely to speak their truth from behind the protection of the computer screen. Online bullying, abuse and theft are on a steady incline; so why would one encourage MORE time at the computer, than less? Our world has changed in so many ways; some of which bring us pride, and others make us cringe in fear.
If the world that we are living in, is running rapidly in the direction of more learning online, more e-classrooms; we are also opening the doors to many opportunities that would have never been possible before. Students are able to participate in classes even while they are dealing with chronic illnesses, so that they do not fall behind; giving hope and purpose to those in a terrible situation.
Classrooms can play host to guest speakers from around the world; exposing the minds of the students in a way that may not have been remotely probable before. Men, women, and children with various ability levels are able to contribute to the fullest of their capabilities, which in turn, creates a much richer and vibrant learning experience for everyone involved. Think of the young man who has autism; and is able to use e-learning in a way that he can express and participate in a debate team, or the young woman who is ill at home with MS, who can still log in to be an active part of the lectures each week. The basis of E-learning is to open more doors, create affluent learning environments and perhaps even a world-wide classroom; instead of just what we see in front of us.
My childhood memory of the computer, was when my father purchased one for his business. It was obtrusively large, slow and only had one game. I was allotted one hour to play that one game; on the weekends- IF all my homework was done. I am from the generation that drank from the water hose, had street-light curfew, and was more likely to desire playing with friends outside then watching the latest Disney movie. The computer was only for serious, grown-up work and not for playing on.
This is not the case today, as most children under the age of 4 seem to have a more apt knowledge of all things cellular, computer and e-reader than most of the adults in my social circle put together. Technology has changed the face of how we interact, how we learn, how we relate. While there is always going to be a logical case against going in the direction of more electronically driven learning within the school environment; there must be a balance, therefore, a positive. If there is black, there must be white; if a yin, then a yang. If an equilibrium can be reached, and the learning that is being achieved is tangible, real and applicable, then perhaps we should not be so quick to lite our anti-electronic torches.
While I believe that gardening, cooking, and how to do your taxes should also be a part of basic learning within the education system, I also know that being current in your teaching and learning styles is vastly important. Those seeking education want the best for themselves and their children; to get the best, you need to be open and ready to see what the best really consists of.
Change is evident, imminent and constant. So can be said of learning; and isn’t that what we all truly want? To learn, grow, be educated and knowledgeable. There would be nothing more tragic then to see the possibility of a world-wide increase in connections, education and passionate learning slip away because fear was greater than hope and progress.
With that I say; research, soak it in, question everything and become the very best student, educator, parent and human possible. The moment we stop being open to learning, is the moment our humanity will start to dissolve.
The first school in North America documented, was the Latin public school in 1635. The first implement of the, “network of networks”, was established in 1983, more than three hundred years later. The Electronic University Network drafted the first online class for DOS and Commodore 64 computers in 1984, a year after. Evidently, what took three hundred and forty-nine years to expand the worlds access to knowledge, only took one year after the invention of the internet. As our nation has further progressed since these new and exciting times, our connections to knowledge have only increased thanks to the wide range of online learning. Simply put, it is the best change from the traditional educational model in the sense that it shapes the future of our education, changes the way students learn, and benefits future generations more from the new way of learning.
To begin with, the chain of education has always been taught by the previous generation, whom have also unfortunately been taught by their predecessors and so on... however, these mistakes made in the past are the causes for today’s spike in intelligence. The elements missing from our teacher’s days as students, are provided for us today so that we can advance to eliminate a few of those flaws. ELearning is one of those elements that is now accessible. As technology only continues to grow with our generation of millennials, eLearning will shape the future of our education through the expansion of devices, accessibility of knowledge, and the professionalism it guarantees. Since the creation of the internet, technology devices have come a long way to adapt and keep up with the promises of the web. Computers now have excel sheets, and power point presentations. Phones now have data to act like mini laptops. ELearning has affected the future of education just the same, by encouraging school boards and classrooms to offer online portals and databases. Hopefully soon, online learning will over rule the traditional education model seeing as it saves deforestation from the mass production of paper, saves from students assignments going missing, and it also saves from the amount of time spent commuting all while reducing the risk of running late. Moreover, the future of education is shaped by eLearning in the sense that it offers more accessibility to students. Cars, buses, and subways, are unreliable as they always depend on traffic and accidents. In the majority of student’s homes, however, there is more often than not, a computer or phone able to login and provide an eLearning class. An eLearning class allocates the required information through links, pdf files, and recommendation’s that offer an even greater variety of accessibility to students. Unlike in the midst of the morning traffic to attend school, students may end up forgetting their notebooks and textbooks. The future of eLearning shapes our education by supplying students with more knowledge and leaving little to no room for excuses to arise between them and their success. Furthermore, several school boards hold meetings for their schools and neighborhoods as disagreements spawn arguments from what is taught, what messages are being conveyed, and the actions performed by teachers that influence students developing brains. ELearning recognizes, and understands, these concerns of guardians, and in every online portal will disclose their content and reading lists for guardians to comb over and analyze. Online classes are reliable, monitored, and professional. These classes will shape the future of student’s education by exempting the negatives of traditional learning, misconceptions taught inside of classrooms, and the influences of undesired subjects.
Continued, eLearning will introduce new ways for students learn through their involvement with technology, environmental influences, and healthy mentality. Inside classrooms, students grow bored with their teacher’s monotone voice, their foot tapping against the floor in a steady beat, and their eyes trained on the clock’s hands. Using technology for eLearning purposes, students will have no other option but to engage themselves in their learning. By using applications and finding new installments, eLearning in the perfect opportunity to captivate student’s attention and keep them focused. Imagine, as technology further develops, a three dimensional touchscreen computer, with multiple tabs open, several colours to display different texts, a student has their eyes open wide with an eagerness to learn, they highlight important subjects with just the swipe of their finger. Everything, eLearning will make it become hands on experiences, no moment left to waste as students will no longer have to hear to learn, but can press audio recordings, highlight for themselves, even read at their own pace to absorb all of the information offered. Moving on, eLearning will completely rearrange the natural environments of students. Whether they wish to use their computer at home, their local library computer, or just check in on their phone while at a friend’s, not only will they always be engaged, but they will no longer be influenced by rowdy classrooms, lose focus when a student screams while running down the hallway, or risk an injury from another student on their property. Students will be able to control their surroundings, chose where they can best focus, and not be blanketed in stress. That being said, a student’s mentality is also greatly affected by their surroundings. Every day, thousands of students are bullied or attacked by their peers and teachers never notice. Hundreds of these attacks lead to student’s suicides, eating disorders, and low self-esteems. One thing eLearning can surely offer, is protection from these incidents. A school’s main priority should be the health and happiness of their students, and if that’s what eLearning can offer to victims, they deserve their peace to learn, and respect to be treated equally. Therefore, the new way of learning through online classes will not only alter the student’s future education, but also benefit them and aid them to reach their full potential in any way possible.
Consequently, it becomes apparent that eLearning has already begun to change student’s education from the traditional model, and begun to shape what students should look for in the future. Through new technological advances, accessibility, and professionalism, student’s will be able to maximize their time spent studying and prioritizing their education. Through engagement, change of scenery, and a solution to bullying problem, eLearning will advertise itself like the next iPhone to the millennials. To which, the future better watch out, because just like iPhone’s, eLearning will be on high demand.
In a traditional model of learning, the student requires a teacher for guidance and information. However, in recent years, this idea has been challenged through the use of online learning, and the freedom that it gives a student in terms of leading their own learning. When a student is given the opportunity to control their own learning, then they are better able to learn in the way that suits them personally. This change, in turn, will allow the student to learn to the best of their capabilities in a style that accommodates their way of learning. Online learning provides students with an alternate way of learning, a way out of a difficult learning situation, and more learning opportunities within their school career.
E-Learning has allowed an alternative method of education to become available for self-motivated students who do not benefit from a traditional in school learning environment. Some students are unable to learn to the best of their abilities in a traditional classroom setting; whether it be because they do not find the environment stimulating, if they have difficulty interacting with others in their learning environment, or if they are not able to represent their knowledge fully with the style of assessments required. I personally have experienced this issue at many points in my school career, due to my being able to express my learning in a creative manner very well, but not being as able to represent my ideas in the form of formal written assignments. Though I have been able to improve my formal writing abilities, I still do occasionally struggle aptly communicating my ideas in a non-artistic manner. I began online learning for my final year of high school English this year. This alteration in my method of learning has aided me in being able to show my understanding of a topic in a way that suits my abilities best, as there is far more flexibility in assignment structure present in the online style of learning as opposed to in school teaching. From the above example of how I struggle with showing knowledge in formal writing, and how my online learning experience has helped me overcome that difficulty, we are able to see how e-Learning has provided an alternative way of learning for those who do not benefit from a traditional model of learning.
In addition, online learning offers an alternate option for students who are not suited for a class that they are currently enrolled in, but who are unable take a alternate class through their school. This dilemma can be related to the above issue of being unable to learn from a specific teaching or assignment style. Alternately, this dilemma can arise from teacher student incompatibility in terms of marking style; which is especially prevalent in subjective classes such as English and Social Studies. I once again have experienced this situation during my school career. Earlier this year, I was placed into an English class in which the teacher has a reputation for marking their students much lower than they should be doing in the class. I stayed in the class for a short amount of time before discovering that this was in fact a truthful reputation. Thus, I decided that instead obtaining marks far worse than I should be getting in the class, I would switch to online learning instead, where I would be marked without bias. This change in learning has provided me with an opportunity to demonstrate my true abilities, and insure that I am being awarded the marks I am working for. From the above example of how I have been able to escape a situation in which I was being unfairly marked by joining the online learning community, we are able to see how online learning provides an alternative option for students who would otherwise be stuck in an unfavourable situation.
Additionally, e-Learning provides a way for students to learn more skills and take more classes within a year, due to its nature of being taken outside of school. Taking some classes online can allow a student to have a full time table, but still take additional classes on top of those outside of school; either to meet schooling requirements that they have fallen behind on, or to maintain their requirements while still taking courses that they would like to. I decided to take advantage of this option a few years ago when I wanted to take a certain course, but was still required to take physical education at this point in my high school career. Because of this requirement, I decided to take my physical education online. In doing that, I was able to have a full time table in school, including my option, while still taking my required physical education courses. From the above example of how I was able to meet my high school course requirements while also taking the classes I enjoy, we are able to see how online learning allows students to take the classes they want to, while still taking the classes they need.
Given the examples of how online learning can allow students to thrive, provide an alternate option to an unfavourable situation, and allow students to take more classes than are able to fit into a school day, it is clear that there are many different benefits found in the usage of online learning. As well, there are a multitude of struggles that a student may be facing through their in school learning, many of which can be aided by transferring to an online classroom as opposed to an in school classroom. Based upon the idea that online learning can help students succeed, it can be said that online learning is allowing the future of education to become more catered to the student, and their specific style of learning. Students will be able to learn in an environment and style that suits their capabilities, meaning that they will be given the opportunity to better show their knowledge and abilities relating to any given topic, and can thrive in any classes they may have previously struggled with.
“The bell doesn’t dismiss you, I dismiss you,” a phrase well known by students that brings about nothing but groaning and resentment towards this teacher. Teenagers are constantly told that they are on their way to becoming adults, they are maturing, and they must start being independent. But, often times, words are betrayed by actions, as is the case with this infamous line. Here, students are expected to be in their next class within five minutes, but cannot respond to the d ismissal bell because this teacher decided to exercise their power. Now, there are reasons for this, such as, the lesson being incomplete, or the homework not yet assigned. This does not change the fact that the students are forced to stay behind because the teacher was unable to finish within the allotted time. It is not always the teacher’s fault, there’s only so much one can do in a day, much less a class period. There must also be consideration for changes in the class schedule due to school events, field trips, and absences, both from the teacher and students. The school day, and school semester do not accommodate for these factors and, thus, the teacher must compensate with any extra time they can; they are not at fault for trying to teach the material in the little time they have. No, the crux of the problem lies within the rigidity of the school environment. Students are told when to come to school, when to go to lunch, and when to go home; they are told what work to do, when it is due, and are constantly reminded about those due dates. While students are being told that they must be more independent, they are not being allowed to do so because of the rigidity of school. This is where online learning comes in. Courses are slowly being moved online or are in the process of being made for e-learning. Online learning is one of the most beneficial changes to how students learn. Online learning allows students the flexibility of learning on their own, as well as the ability to grow independent. Students learn in different ways and at different paces; online learning helps them embrace this without feeling embarrassed.
It is constantly said that school is a safe environment and that one can be themselves while in school. While students are welcoming and do tend to lean towards the nicer end of the spectrum, that does not mean that they may not do it unconsciously. There are times when students may have trouble reading aloud and they mispronounce a word or two, immediately the giggles and whispers erupt from around the room, quietly shaming the student; or, one may have forgotten an important learning concept and asks a friend for help when, suddenly, another swoops in with a screech of, “YOU DON’T REMEMBER?! OMG, IT’S SO EASY,” and shames their friend in a less than subtle manner. This is where online learning comes in. Now, the student does not have the pressure of performing in front of others. Online learning allows the student to choose where and when to do the work, meaning that they can do it privately, without anyone breathing over their shoulder. This allows the student to be able to relax and take in what the material because they are not worried about learning at the same pace as everyone else. Another positive factor of e-learning is that if one does not understand the material, they can revisit it on another day. One can do that in regular classes, as well, but they would only have their own notes, not the teacher notes. The ability to revisit the lesson on another day is beneficial to any student, regardless of their learning type. Online learning supports a multitude of learning styles; the teacher can upload audio files, videos, or articles. Often times, teachers in a classroom environment will simply talk and talk. Online learning means that the teacher does not have the ability to just talk at students and assume that they understand; it forces the teacher to make a change and try different ways to get the material across because they cannot be completely sure that the students are grasping it. While the course must still be completed in a semester, there is more flexibility in the schedule for students to pace themselves. As long as they have an electronic device handy, students can log on and go over the course work. The entirety of the course is right there, they do not have to worry about carrying any course material because it is all online; this allows for them to study at their own convenience. Students are constantly comparing themselves to their peers in terms of understanding, learning style, and work ethic; online learning provides a barrier between students and their insecurities because they cannot compare themselves to others in their classes. It allows them to grow confident in themselves and shrug off the need for constant supervision.
High school students are constantly being told that once they are in university, there will be no one to guide them, and they are expected to grow up. Yet, teachers still insist on babying their students by constantly reminding them about deadlines and projects and such. Online learning does not allow for this to occur because the teacher is not physically there to tell the students about what is due. While they can comment on the forum or learning platform, it can easily be skimmed over or buried under an onslaught of new comments. Students must remember for themselves when assignments are due, when to look for the new lesson, and when to look over the new material. This is the first step to students learning to become independent because this is exactly what it will be like come university. Not only are students expected to do the work on their own, but they are expected to learn the class material on their own. This is because the teacher is not there with them, and is only available online meaning they are not a dependable source. Students cannot be completely sure that the teacher will respond in a timely manner, so they may pick up the habit of going over the material earlier than they normally would or, possibly, doing research on their own and teaching themselves. Essentially, that is what students are doing: teaching themselves. Considering that the teacher does not know them personally, the student will also be unable to form a connection with them. This stops any form of favouritism from happening. To the teacher, the student is simply their profile image, much like how a student is a number in university. This allows students to grow out of the habit of begging teachers for a bit of leeway in their marking scheme. They learn from now that they are not always going to get the attention and marks they believe they deserve instead of having it be a shock to the system come university time. E-learning also allows students the ability to fit the course into their schedule, as opposed to planning their schedule around the course. This causes them to work on their time management skills. Students often have a lot going on in their lives; in addition to school, they may be working, taking care of siblings, or have other responsibilities. Students have to learn to balance their regular schedule with another course and another responsibility. E-learning is a responsibility because students do not have anyone there to tell them to work, they must do it themselves.
Online learning is the segway needed to prove that the digital age is really coming together. Once it starts affecting our educational system, one must start taking it seriously because it is now making an impact with the youth and future generations. It is allowing them the flexibility to learn on their own, as well as giving them a taste of what independence and responsibility really feel like. Online learning is beneficial in that it is not rigid in its scheduling or requirements and that is a reflection of the direction that society is currently heading in. Society is becoming more laidback, and less rigid in its rules. It is slowly losing the traditional mindset of the late 90s as millennials start to grow older and make severe impacts on the new societal norms. As society moves forward, so do the developments and this means that soon enough, online learning will become a societal norm and will be an integral part of the educational system.
For years, education, especially at the college level has been a routine with only a few changes. Two of the major changes that have occurred are price and effectiveness in career building. Every year thousands of young minds graduate with undergraduate degrees, go out into the world with open minds and the will to succeed. Then, life kicks them in the face, when they realize that the college does not hold the level of prestige it once did. The same conversations come out of every industry; “You need experience to get the job, but no one will hire you without experience.” The vicious cycle of unemployment hits the new graduate in the face until they find a job outside their field. What is the solution for this constant issue? Online education. Online education is in its infancy compared to traditional schooling, but it is already changing the face of the university system. The power of online schooling is based on three principles, technology (obviously), innovation, and time.
For hundreds of years, high school graduates move to college and study a subject for four or more years and graduate with a degree. This is a proven method of education, but with new technological advances, it is becoming increasingly inefficient. Technology has brought entire lectures, textbooks, lessons, exams, tutoring sessions, and all the other tools into the student’s living room, bedroom, kitchen, closet, or even bathroom. A student can take any course using only their laptop and receive the same curriculum they would receive at a traditional four year university. In life and in business, efficiency is key to success. Traditional universities’ efficacy is being challenged by online education and even the most prestigious schools have taken notice and have begun to adapt. These schools, such as the University of Miami, Baylor University, Penn State, and the University of Florida have all created their own online education programs.
Innovation keeps the world on its toes. The second a company relaxes, it falls behind. Blockbuster was the nation’s leader in video and game rentals, but they disregarded the innovative technology of streaming.Where are they now? Online education is the definition of innovation for an industry that has been stagnant for centuries. Textbook companies, online learning communities like blackboard, and the universities are constantly creating new ways to educate their students. This has greatly improved the quality of education that is possible through online education. Traditional Universities, and all levels of schooling for that matter, have always used tests as a measure of one’s ability to grasp a subject, but this is not fair. School is supposed to prepare you for work, but they do not do tests at work. Companies measure an employee through efficiency, dedication, time management, and ability to complete the required tasks. Online education measures the students using these same principles, unlike a mid-term and final exam do not, which measure how well a student can remember what they read or studied for that term. Online Universities have re-written the book on what qualifies a student to receive a degree, by actually focusing on the skills needed to succeed in their career.
The third and most important principle that online education has built its power on is time. Students no longer have to dedicate four years of business weeks to their schooling. Now, they have the capability of utilizing 40 hours for work, while also dedicating the time needed to complete their courses. A student can find an entry level job, while still earning a degree from an accredited four year university. Once they complete this degree, they will not be fed to the wolves of business life, because they have earned four years of experience along with the degree. Combining eight combined years of education and work experience into four years of dedication, they have achieved a head start on life that is vital in today’s corporate world. Time is the most precious aspect of life, because everyone’s time on this earth is limited, so why would one waste four years achieving half of what they could?
Why go away to school to spend money on housing, food, gas, parking, and all the other added expenses of a college student? A student can receive the same quality education from the comfort of their parents’ home or, even better, the comfort of the home they provide for themselves, because they are able to earn a living through full-time employment, while being a full time student. No one can argue the value of quality education, but technology has given us the ability to receive this education, while saving money and most importantly time. Many people do not want to accept it, but the education system is evolving daily. Online education is the future that can give the confidence back to the recent graduate, the single mom, the 40 year old who regrets not going to college, or anyone who wants to better themselves through the power of education. Online education gives everyone the ability to be the person they know they can be.
A fast-paced, brave new world is sure to lead to new concepts in learning and education. Many from the generations of yesterday can agree that young people today are quite lucky to live in such an age where one click of a button can take them to places their grandparents could only dream about -- or might not have had the opportunity to reach. With a step towards a completely analog-free environment, e-learning has become, as the kids would say, the wave of the future. No longer do students gearing towards post-secondary education have to move out of their way to attend classes to acquire their dreams of certain career paths. It is with a sigh of relief that these young intellectuals have the chance to further their education with the convenience of online schooling. Some may wonder how any of this magic is possible, while others may not believe this kind of education is for them. Well, by jumping into the belly of the beast, potential students can learn the methods of this revolutionary madness.
E-learning, in theory, is fairly simple. If a student, whether it be a current high schooler or an enrolled college kid, wants to push for more education, they have the ability to make it more convenient by logging online and enrolling into classes through the Internet. Thousands upon thousands of colleges and universities have already implemented this style of education over the past few years, in this country as well as others. By listening to the opinions of would-be college students, faculty at many esteemed campuses have been given the idea to reach out to a bigger audience – people that want to go back to school, but may not have the time to do so. Life can hit people like no tomorrow, and that means that not everyone has the chance to drop everything and take up a secondary education. Many people have full-time jobs, as well as families to feed and care for. It is this reason that college seemed like a pipe dream for many individuals who did have a drive for furthering their learning but may have later lost it. It is with those kinds of people in mind that e-learning has expanded to so many educational areas, such as four-year universities or even two-year community colleges. Now, many can go back to school, without feeling like they’re putting their life on hold. A simple boot-up of the living room computer can take these young men and women onto the path of bright futures. In turn, their children will be able to see just how successful their parents were when it came to e-learning and may be likely to follow their footsteps when their time comes. A whole fleet of future college students can come about just by the concept of online education.
Not only can a larger audience be involved in online learning, but it can help them master areas of study that they may not have been able to comprehend back when attending public school. It is no secret that college, in general, can be difficult. It takes a lot of drive and self-motivation to earn any kind of degree, whether it be an Associate of Arts or all the way towards a PhD. School takes time, as well as a lot of studying and understanding of the ideas found in those large textbooks and grandiose lectures. E-learning, however, does not have to be impossible to comprehend when it comes to one’s classes. The beauty of enrolling in courses online is the fact that students have a network of other students that can be contacted via the Internet to help give each other study tips to make that final exam and midterm a lot less scary. Not only that, teachers in charge of online courses are ready and willing to take any amount of questions that can be thought of. This kind of easy and convenient source of assistance can drive students to focus more and want to do better. Added aid can also mix well into a student’s education, along with proper notes listed right on the screens in front of them. With the help of online education, teachers tend to display their notes a lot clearer for their students to read and understand, as opposed to straining to hear the instructor during a lesson in a physical classroom. A student may not completely take away what a teacher has explained about a certain course, which just adds on to the confusion of an already difficult class. However, with the help of e-learning, students have the opportunity to skim through a teacher’s own notes and communicate with the teacher in specific areas so that no further confusion is created.
E-learning, as a whole, may still seem like such a new method of education for a wide variety of individuals. Some may still not have fully hopped on the trend and just don’t think it could be of any use to them. But, when taking into account the level of convenience and the idea of catering to personal schedules rather than making young people attend classes at specific times, e-learning can be one of the greatest inventions of this century. Time is such a precious thing, and waits for no one as it passes. If someone is dedicated to their education, but is still being held back by the cruel restraints of time, then looking no further than to e-learning can surely solve these issues. College should not be about wasting time. Rather, it should be about working towards the education you want on your own terms. Learning online gives those free spirits out there the chance to work with educators to find the classes that can work around their schedules, resulting in that coveted degree and memories to inspire generations to come.
The right to education itself is the 26th article in the Universal Declaration of Human rights. A specific item to note is the statement, “Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.” Following centuries of learning from textbooks or orally in the bubble of whoever was within proximity, internet service began being offered as a service to the public. The ability to communicate and retrieve information instantaneously was an unprecedented catalyst in teaching and learning. eLearning, learning online, is now shaping the future of education at every level of academia. There are three specific aspects that eLearning improves upon from traditional educational models: accessibility, globalization and information quality.
Beginning with accessibility, the most straightforward aspect, eLearning allows educators to extend the lesson beyond the physical walls of their classroom. No longer does illness or disability prevent a student from engaging and consuming knowledge. Additionally, students who may need extra time to digest and consolidate the new information may do so at their own pace at home. The increased accessibility is not only limited to school-age children or post-secondary young adults either. eLearning has allowed adults, who have full-time work and responsibilities to further their education at their own convenience and schedule. Not only do students benefit, educators do as well. eLearning provides a more accessible platform for teachers to teach regardless of location. A prime example of this are video lectures created in anticipation of a professional absence. Teachers may even have opportunities to teach entirely online to classrooms in other countries – a fledgling service that currently focuses on teaching English in international countries.
This transitions into the second aspect called globalization. Aptly named, eLearning essentially breaks down the barriers of geography and language, allowing individuals from any place on the planet to communicate with one another so long as they both have an internet connection. As mentioned earlier, teachers have newly found opportunities to educate a wider audience from around the world, and that same audience has access to an educator they would have otherwise never met. In a similar vein, guest lecturing and expert opinions from all around the world can be set up very easily. A master of proteomics in Germany can discuss his ground breaking work to a lecture hall of undergraduates in Canada without leaving the comfort of his own home. An exchange of question and answer can happen in real time and both the pupil and the professor will leave with an increased sense of connectedness and new experiences. A subset of globalization that eLearning brings to education is standardization. Increased communication, especially between societies, cultures and dogmas that differ from each other, results in a more cohesive idea of what education should be. Before the internet, writing and mailing letters was essentially the only method of communicating across countries, or even domestically. Now, in an instant, curriculums could be shared and their strengths and weaknesses discussed without delay. Educators and students can collaborate on what should or needs to be taught. Different schools may choose to focus on different things, depending on the needs of their audience, and may require input from schools on how to alter the curriculum to provide those needs without sacrificing the quality of other topics. Globalization essentially goes hand in hand with accessibility by connecting educators and students to each other, creating a planet-wide community that combines the knowledge of every human who wishes to contribute.
That point leads into the final aspect that eLearning improves: information quality. This may seem a bit counter-intuitive, since the media often reports on ‘fake news’, ‘information scams and scandals’ and the caution all teachers advise to students when using Wikipedia. But this issue is no more unique to eLearning than regular learning. Traditional models of learning is not immune to misinformation. Both models rely on information coming from a source, which will always be human. However, eLearning provides students, and educators, with the ability to fact-check on a scale that is not possible in a physical classroom. Access to immediate communication with other students, scholars and educators can dispel misleading facts in an instant, ensuring that no part of that fact is committed to long-term memory. At least, not as a true statement. It is already apparent that these three aspects are all interconnected, so the previous point in globalization is also supportive of information quality – guest lecturing. No individual is able to master every subject in academia. That is neither reasonable nor realistic. Therefore guest lectures, in which a person highly experienced or skilled in a certain field can provide better insight and perspective than the average educator, increase the information quality. Guest lecturing was not unheard of before eLearning, but the level to which it occurs is exponentially higher now than before. Consider TedTalks, Coursera and Lynda. All are eLearning platforms that recruit experts to speak about their respective fields.
All things considered, eLearning is changing education for the better. Both students and educators benefit from the incoming improvements and nobody is being left behind. As affordable and accessible internet access is in the first world, it is still becoming cheaper and cheaper. Access to education through eLearning in the third world has connected brilliant minds to resources they need to flourish and bring their lives and even their community up. When the physical presence in a classroom is no longer needed to learn, accessibility for the disabled, ill and whatever other circumstances prevent attendance increase greatly. The education does not stagnate either, as the connectedness that is inherent in eLearning forces the information to be up-to-date and accurate, changing and incorporating new ideas as they’re made available. In conclusion, eLearning is the natural progression of education that comes along with the connectivity the internet provides. This progress is only for the better and should be welcomed with open arms and an eagerness to engage.
Internet technology has helped improve the welfare within and between communities around the world by bridging the existing digital divide. There is empirical evidence that the internet has had a positive impact on economic growth as a result of investment, government spending and price level of goods and services (Choi and Yi, 2009). Socioeconomic activities, which promote interaction between peoples, have ameliorated a great deal due to the ubiquity of information. As a result, more and more communities are gaining access to more knowledge and their economic situation is getting better. One sector where this phenomenon has taken hold is in education. From the traditional face-to-face, teacher to student interaction at a physical location, we are now seeing more online student presence and distance learning that transcends geographical campus and country borders.
Access to internet technology is quickly redefining the relationship between learners and educators. Dankbaar and de Jong (2014) state that, by redesigning traditional education delivery formats based off technology-enhanced learning, internet technologies can provide a broad range of options which can increase knowledge and performance. Many communities around the world have caught on with this novel and effective learning technique known as online learning or e-learning. According to the 2016 Babson Survey Research Group Online Learning Report Card, by 2014 more than 5.8 million students were enrolled in at least one distance education course in the US. To put this figure in perspective, between 2012 and 2014, the number of online students grew about 4 percentage points. In addition, in 2014 almost 1 in every 2 of all distance learners were exclusively enrolled in online classes and degree programs. As a result, we realize that not only is there a steady rise in the online education community that is reshaping the way students view education, there is also a need to understand how and why online education is shaping the future of traditional education models. If there is a reassessment of the traditional model, how are students adapting themselves and who benefits? To answer these questions, this paper will address the ways e-learning is reshaping academia in the next section. After, the paper will explore why online education is changing the standard education model. Finally, the paper will discuss how students adapt, and who ultimately benefits.
a) Ways e-learning is reshaping standard education
Online learning methods are far from conventional class room settings due to the intangible nature of the internet. Some methods which have reshaped distance learning are accessibility, communication and collaboration, self-reliance, and student-teacher functions. Accessibility here can be defined as the ability to possess and wield more information due to its ubiquitous nature on the internet. Information acquired in online books, libraries, social media, peer and nonpeer-reviewed articles, podcasts, and massive open online courses (MOOCs) etc. have made it easier for anyone with an internet connection to learn. Although there is still a challenge due to internet access quality in some places, it has significantly improved awareness of events within a shorter time. Communicating and collaborating between students has usually been confined to classmates, parents, guardians, or teachers. Due to online learning, it is easier to share ideas, request assistance and guidance from teachers, professionals and other students anywhere in the world. Self-reliance promotes responsibility between people and online classes demand discipline which traditional students may overlook because the presence of school-staff to monitor student behavior and interaction. With online learning, there is self-awareness, punctuality which not only helps the student in his/her school work but through life as a professional. Finally, the role of student and teachers has a new dynamic. Due information availability, there is competition and transparency between educators and learners. This transparency enables both actors to learn from each other and enriches the educational experience. In sum, these methods are affecting the standard design of education profoundly. Why is this the case? The next section will try to justify the impact of these methods changing education.
b) Why is e-learning changing the face of traditional education?
Some reasons for this situation are variety, affordability, and flexibility. Online courses offer the possibility for students and teachers to choose. The ability to have preference over courses makes it easier to build effective course loads and adapt them to needs even when in a pre-determined online degree course. Teachers can also enroll to teach courses based on competence not the whims of their school administration. This fundamental aspect of online learning promotes affordable costs. Online courses are not always cheap in terms of tuition fees (Burke, 2012), however extraneous costs are eschewed, giving the online learning student the ability to save income. Finally, the flexibility of online courses makes it convenient for anyone. Workers can adjust their school obligations with work. Students can study without sacrificing interest elsewhere. Based on these reasons, we now understand some mechanisms and reasons behind the impact of online learning on standard education models. Given that education transformation is a reality, how are learners adjusting and who stands to benefit from this transformation?
c) How are students adjusting to e-learning? Who wins?
E-learning is driving a fundamental shift between students, educators, and institutions (Ovum, 2016). This shift is basically related to the new opportunities that exist for all parties. Consider that students learn for different reasons and come with different abilities and challenges. In the Ovum (2016) report, traditional learners can be more prone to learn visually by doing. However, auditory learners have less of a chance in a closed environment. Online learners through podcasts or audio books are an audience that online learning takes very seriously. Also, leaners with disabilities that can negatively impact their learning abilities in a classroom setting or are with social anxieties can also study in the comfort of their privacy. Ultimately the productivity of everyone is improved when they can explore online learning as an alternative suitable medium to acquire knowledge. As students adapt to new challenges and opportunities, educators have less pressure and design their courses to meet the students’ needs. Also, institutions can design business plans and entrepreneurs can cash-in on the huge potential and learning clientele that e-learning has brought about. Within this context, with each party trying to meet their personal objectives, and attain private goals, it is the general society, and the educational community in particular that stands to benefit.
Online learning is the great equaliser, helping bridge the gap in the educational standards of students in rural areas to their counterparts in urban and suburban areas. The benefits of online learning are numerous in that it provides valuable resources which are cost-effective, environmentally friendly and can be delivered fast. Students living in rural areas are generally less likely than students in urban and suburban areas to attend university or tertiary education. By ensuring education in rural areas is at the national standard, the community reaps numerous social benefits. For example, increased literacy rates are linked to positive health outcomes, higher participation in democratic processes, social equality and reduces crime and poverty rates. The benefits of a good education transcend the various economic benefits. For the individual, especially women, it helps strengthen their voice within the community, can lead to gainful employment and inspires those in the community to live healthy, meaningful and resilient lives.
When learning resources are available online, it is possible for students to take classes externally, including languages other than English, history, geography, physics and the performing arts. Greater opportunity means students are able to pursue subjects which interest them and excel in subjects which they are passionate about. Furthermore, students are able to study at their own pace and are less likely to fall behind when engaging with audio or video lectures. These learning materials are particularly important, when budgets may impose restrictions on the resources available at public libraries, and those within schools. It’s estimated that online learning leads to the consumption of 90% less energy, and produces 85% fewer carbon dioxide gas emissions compared to students enrolled in campus-based university courses. This finding is unsurprising, given that online learning cuts down on travel costs for both students and teachers, reduces the accompanying costs of maintaining campus facilities and equipment, and reduces paper waste. Resources can then be invested back into student support services, giving students better services to support their learning.
Online learning can provide empowerment to students by giving them greater choice, flexibility and the ability to learn at their own pace, rather than the pace set within the classroom. Too often we see students who are unable to get one-on-one time in the classroom fall behind and act out, and create distractions within the classroom to the detriment of other students. Such behaviour is symptomatic of boredom, when they are unable to engage in discussions in the classroom or focus on the task at hand. Conversely, for students who have already have a general understanding of a particular subject, they can skip certain material and focus on other aspects. When students are given the option of taking study into their own hands, ultimately they feel more positive about their learning outcomes. For students who wish to pursue of higher education, it ensures they can still meet commitments such as full-time work, acting as a carer, or participate in community-based activities and events.
Australia is home to some of the most remote and isolated communities in the world, which presents a unique set of challenges when educating children who live in these rural areas. Until the 1950s, there were only two options: completion of school lessons by mail, or attending boarding school. In rural areas where many access roads are unsealed, storm events can create massive delays in mail delivery, severely impacting students and their education. On the other hand, some students can experience stress and mental health issues resulting from long-term separation from their families and communities. Introduction of the School of the Air within Australia allows more children in rural areas to access schooling, with the Alice Springs School of the Air spread over 1.3 million km2, employing 14 teachers and educating 120 students. Online learning has now become a key component of the School of the Air, replacing HF radios and telephones, allowing greater interaction between teachers and students. Teachers can deliver lessons using video camera and electronic whiteboards, and students can watch and respond in real-time with web cams. The service has changed the lives of children and their families across Australia, giving students the basic literacy and numeracy skills vital for secondary education. Online learning has given me the ability to return to university, whilst living on a 35,000 acre sheep station situated near Winton, Queensland. I am extremely fortunate to have the chance to undertake Ph.D. research, which I am conducting between Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, and the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum of Natural History (AAOD) in Winton, Queensland, is focused on pterosaur fossils from the mid-Cretaceous of Victoria and Queensland. My research was prompted by the April 2017 discovery, by grazier Bob Elliott, of a pterosaur fossil on Belmont Station, near Winton in Central West Queensland. It is the most complete pterosaur ever found in Australia. In June and August 2017, I led excavations at the site. These resulted in the recovery of more fossil bone fragments, which further enhanced the completeness of the Belmont pterosaur specimen. In addition to the Belmont pterosaur, I will describe a partial pterosaur wing found in July 2017 by amateur fossil hunters near Richmond, Queensland. I will also describe all of the previously unpublished pterosaur specimens from Victoria. Due to the patchiness of the Australian pterosaur fossil record, all of these new specimens have the potential to provide significant insights into the anatomy, diversity, palaeobiogeographic implications and behaviour of these flying reptiles from the Mesozoic of Australia.
By undertaking my Ph.D. research, I will potentially triple the number of pterosaur specimens described from Australia. I might even be able to identify previously unrecognised species. Most importantly, I will describe Australia’s most complete pterosaur. The formal description of this fossil material will have socio-economic benefits for the town of Winton as well. Once it has been described and announced, the Belmont pterosaur will be put on display at the AAOD Museum in Winton, where it will be incorporated into public tours. This will encourage more tourists to visit this already thriving museum, which will in turn boost the economy of the town of Winton. I am filled with an incredible sense of pride in having the chance to give back to the local community, and simultaneously promoting science to a new generation of students. It is my belief, that through online learning, more students will be given more opportunities to pursue their lifelong passions as I have, without compromising their lifestyle and remain active within their communities. For students who live in rural areas, the power of online learning has the capacity to change lives, provides a sense of empowerment and intellectual enlightenment. Students can become knowledgeable in areas outside those offered within the classroom, go on to attend university and forge careers in fields outside their own communities. By providing online learning and support services, students living in regional areas have the same advantages their peers living in urban areas enjoy, and often take for granted. Without online learning, it would not be possible for me to undertake my PhD research and shed light on new pterosaur fossils which were discovered and will be proudly on display in a rural town.
Lift your eyes from this sheet of paper and have a look around. Computers, tablets, smartphones, smartwatches. All electronic devices with a constant access to the internet, to Google, to any information at any time. All these gadgets affect our daily life, our routine, the things we do and how we do them: from the time we get up until we go to bed, monitoring our sleep and providing detailed feedback the day after. The new generation, more than any one, is integrated with all these technologies, having grown up with IPads and IPhones instead of skateboards and dolls. New technologies are part of their life now more than ever before, and their presence is not restricted just between their houses’ walls, but goes even further, until it touches education. Children don’t learn the same way their parents used to: IPad, interactive boards, online access to any sort of resource. Desks and paper textbooks are now out of fashion. However, this process is not just limited to the 21st century’s new-borns: the way of learning is changing, guiding any age group though what is today called eLearning.
ELearning involves learning through the use of new technologies and the Internet. The way it works is pretty simple: as long as you have an internet connection and a device that can use it, an infinite number of resources are readily available. From MOOCs to online courses or conferences, everyone can learn something new about a specific topic every day.
Some people say that eLearning will shape the future of education, and I couldn’t agree more. Information is quick, easy to access, and available at any time. This makes learning easy for those people who need to balance their work and family responsibilities, but who also would love to attend that advanced Mathematics course on Tuesday afternoon to broaden their knowledge about the subject. With eLearning, they are now able to follow the course digitally while they wait for their children to end the ballet class or to listen to conferences held at the Royal Society of Arts on Spotify while they commute to work.
Distances are reduced to zero with eLearning. It doesn’t matter where you are; through online resources you are able to access data and read articles from Brazil, Japan, and the Middle East. Students can access lectures held by prestigious professors from Oxbridge, research and advanced studies conducted in China about DNA, psychology or the complexity of the human body. You can access literally anything from any part of the world. Learners are then able to compare and analyse information from their textbooks with the most up to date discussions, opinions and research from scientists and academics around the world.
Seen in this way, eLearning may be viewed as just relative to high school students, undergraduates and adults. Accessing lectures, reading articles, all of this may not seem to suit the needs of children and the younger generation. Yes, surely they will be able to access all that information when their teachers start to assign them research to do. But at the age of 5, 6, 7, how will eLearning shape their future?
About three days ago I was babysitting my neighbour’s little daughter. She is seven and just started dealing with sums and subtractions. Her parents asked me to help with her maths homework and I was really happy to do it, as I have not dealt with primary school level homework in a while. I thought it would be fun to see if any new way to sum two digits numbers changed or if everything was still the same. Now, just a quick introduction. I was born in an era when new technologies had just started their first boom and children did not have the easy access they enjoy today. I had my first mobile phone at the age of 13 and downloaded Instagram at the age of 15, removing the by then out-of-fashion Facebook. We were part of the new generation that dedicated a bit of more time to computing, but nothing extraordinary. I still used to write essays on paper and write plenty of notes listening to the teacher explaining history with only the text book in front of her. When I arrived at my neighbour’s house I was expecting the girl to come to me with her exercise book, a pen and her text book to start her homework. But she didn’t. Instead, she came to me with her mini iPad and her School Pod website open. She opened the link her teacher sent her and a new website page opened in front of us, with a little green alien giving us additions and subtractions to do and an annoying and repetitive song in the background. We worked for about an hour, listening to this little box and choosing the solutions of our equations between the ones proposed. Neither paper nor pens needed.
That afternoon I realised how much the traditional learning model has changed in only a few years’ time. This girl is barely 10 years younger than me and her education system is mainly based on online School Pods, smart boards, IPads and IPhones. This digital environment is a daily routine she deals with; interactive tools replacing old-fashioned books. She is engaged, motivated to receive that “Well done!” or “Excellent!” compliment from that puffy green alien and reach the next level of additions and subtractions, to get that reward that will make her stand out with her friends and with the teachers. The system is now personalised, adapted to everyone’s abilities, and teachers are more than ever aware of the level of their students, which makes them more productive in terms of helping students achieve their goals and deal with any difficulties.
Education is facing inevitable changes in and out the school environment. There has been debate about the idea that teachers could be completely replaced by robots; with future generations of children being taught by machines and artificial intelligence. These rumours, however, don’t consider the complexity of the human being as a whole, the thing that machines will never be able to replace. Apart from knowledge and understanding and problem solving skills, humans also have a sensitive side, missing in machines and robots. Teachers can understand when students are particularly upset and they can read their feelings and help them not just as teachers but also as life educators. Machines programmed to teach students human biology will never be able to feel that empathy and this is something they cannot be programmed for. Nothing can replace human contact.
In conclusion, how does the future of education look like? With the advancement of eLearning, surely it will be innovative, exciting, individually tailored and unrestricted. However, elements such as the human factor and the accessibility to this new education model are problems that must be addressed: not everyone, globally speaking, can access digital equipment and broadband, and the human nature makes the presence of human contact required, in and out of the classroom. eLearning is a wonderful tool to innovate the way we learn but, as with all the new technologies, we must be aware of its limitations.
Knowledge is at our fingertips more readily than ever. The internet has opened up a world of ideas and possibilities to whomever seeks answers. With just a few key strokes, a couple of taps on a touchscreen, information is available to anyone with a computer or phone, whenever curiosity strikes. Whether you need to learn how to change a lightbulb, or you seek a greater understanding of molecular biology, there is always somebody out there with the answer.
The internet has provided an unprecedented platform for knowledge exchange, the rate of which was hitherto impossible. Previously confined to the contents of letters, the subject of infrequent symposiums and conferences, information which was squirrelled away by scholars and academics is now open to all.
For centuries, knowledge was hidden in tightly-rolled scrolls or bound within leather prisons, forbidden to but a few. Then it was given to the masses, but only if they sat in quietly in rows, tapping their pencils on desks as learning was bestowed upon them. Now, from the comfort of our homes – even tucked up in bed – we can seek out this knowledge for ourselves. Innate curiosity which was squeezed into school uniforms and squashed by exam technique is free to search for the answers, however the seeker chooses.
E learning means accounting while on the train to work. It means a new language in your lunch break. It means ecosystem management from your kitchen table. Music theory over breakfast, advertising in the evening - there is no limit to how and when you can learn. This accessibility is why e learning is the learning of tomorrow.
It does not diminish the significance of traditional schooling; learning in an educational intuition is just as valuable as ever. A classroom or a lecture hall is an important environment for cultivating curiosity and imparting information. Discussion of ideas in person deepens understanding, while developing the communication skills vital on the modern job market. Schools, when run well, instil a culture of learning which benefits the students even after they have matriculated.
But traditional education has become, in many ways, antiquated. It follows a model which was successful when it was designed during the industrial revolution, when society needed factory workers who would do as they were told whenever the bell rang. In the intervening years, our understanding of learning has developed, while the education system remained the same. It does not account for different learning styles – students are put in large classrooms and lectured at. But some people learn from videos, some from diagrams, others from bocks of text.
E learning accounts for this. There are few formats which cannot be relayed via the internet, so a wider range of learning styles can be utilised. Potential students can find a course that has the right balance of verbal, aural, logical and visual systems for them to learn in the way that is most effective for them.
Education is often viewed on a time line and it can feel difficult to step off this path. In the UK, there is a route society expects you to follow – GCSEs at sixteen, then A Levels at eighteen, then an undergraduate degree at twenty two (and if you get that far, a postgraduate degree after that). This means people feel restricted by age. If you left formal education straight out of secondary school, it feels very difficult to regain admittance to the hallowed halls of learning. If entrance requirements don’t hold you back, perception can - does a worldly twenty- or thirty-something year old want to step back into the regimented, cliquey environment of institutionalised education?
If somebody wants to return to education, there can be plenty of obstacles in the way. Family, finances, fear. Obligations which prevent them from attending lectures during the usual timetable hours.
This is where e learning fills a gap. The flexibility provided by online courses allows people to fit learning around their busy lives.
The cost is often a major factor in the decision to enrol in an online course rather than one at a traditional college or university. If the course itself is not cheaper (though it usually is) the associated costs are almost always less. E learning rarely requires expensive textbooks, as the information is made available online. Those with young families do not need to pay for childcare, and there are no commuting costs.
In fact, there is no geographical limitations. One university, one city, can only have a few of the experts in any field. By removing the physical boundaries, the online learning community gives the students access to a worldwide network of leading professionals.
The combination of flexible study times and affordable prices make it a good choice for those who wish to learn, without the means or the circumstances to allow them to study at a conventional education centre.
This does not mean than e learning does not also have its limitations. To undertake a course online, time management skills are a must. With no one to badger you to keep on top of your coursework, no steely gaze of an instructor to ensure you turn up to class on time, procrastination is an easy trap to stumble into. E learning requires self-discipline, self-direction and self-sufficiency. But this suits some people. In fact, it can be particularly attractive to the independent, active learners who chafe under the restrictions of traditional education.
The conventional model of learning is still thriving, and will continue to do so. The value of face-to-face interaction – the value of a dialogue between student and teacher – cannot be denied. For those who feel isolated stuck behind a computer screen, traditional classroom or lecture situations are liberating. In a room of engaged, curious people, rapid exchanges of thought allow ideas to develop faster; debates allow consolidation of understanding and encourage different ways of thinking.
But online learning can reach those excluded from such environments. People with disabilities or chronic illnesses, people with families to look after, people with full-time jobs and careers. It can broaden the horizons of those whose choices were limited by situation or happenstance.
The future of learning will be a delicate balance between the established model of education and the new opportunities which online learning offer. E learning is convenient, inexpensive, innovative, exciting. Traditional education has a great worth which is recognised globally, and the students learn many things beside the syllabus – not limited to the art of conversation and the ability to participate actively. As the value of online qualifications is increasingly recognised, the world of learning will retain all of the advantages of traditional education while including the people who had previously been shut out. This is the future of learning – a system which encourages people to reach for knowledge, a system which equips them with the skills to seize that knowledge for themselves.
Today’s society is rapidly changing towards a technology and internet driven network. Many people now depend heavily on the services that these products provide. As a result, a shift in the way that people learn and develop is being made. Many educational facilities are steering away from the traditional classroom model of a teacher and textbooks and applying the concept of E-learning (commonly referred to as online learning). E-learning is the act of engaging in an educational course in an online setting and is not necessarily practiced in a classroom. E-learning courses can exist in a variety of forms, using a range of technologies1. These courses can use a variety of techniques, including audio and video, presentations, quizzes, games, discussion groups, and more. Online learning provides the students with information in a variety of formats allowing them to process and learn in a variety of ways. This is something that is ideal for all different types of learners (visual, auditory, and kinaesthetic). The push of education to move away from tradition raises the following questions; how is e-learning shaping the future of education? How will this change the way students learn? Who will benefit most from this new way of learning? This method of education also raises concerns for the future of education and brings to light discussions of the negative and positive impacts it may have for future generation.
What will education look like in the future? No one can truly answer that question. However, we are able to imagine forthcoming developments, based on some of the exciting and effective learning technologies available today. In the last few decades, there have been dramatic technological advancements that have altered the nature of the classroom, how students learn and how teachers teach. Resources are more readily available and content is more engaging than ever before. The future of education is moving away from the model learning format and is being driven in the direction of online learning. In the past, classroom, lecture halls, teachers, professors and textbooks were the norm but now more than ever people are adapting to the E-Learning revolution. It is suggested that the future of education will progress to rely on online networks rather than the traditional education model. The growth in the e- learning industry is rapidly growing, in 2015, the E-learning market was worth $166.5 billion and it is estimated that it will grow to be worth $255 billion in 20172. Now it is normal to use the internet to research everything; it provides individuals with easier and more flexible access to their education. Rather than education just being text- based it now allows people to learn using graphics and audio. By providing this alternative platform for learning it allows for future generations to evolve with the changes in society and allow for all the different types of learners to have access to information that they are best at processing allowing them to achieve the best outcome for their education.
If the future of education is moving away from tradition it is questioned, what will this mean for teachers and for schools? Dana Rosen discussed this topic in her article titled E- learning: what will E-learning look like in 2075? Rosen brought to light that ‘Distance learning very well may be the future for schools’ She also suggested that ‘e-learning will revolutionise our traditional notion of classroom or campus’. Rosen stated that ‘ E- learning can be a great resource because it frees up time and provides much richer content. Laboratories, social outlets, activity hubs, sports teams etc. may remain important amenities of schools, but the classroom will function differently. A teacher may become a facilitator, motivator, and confidante rather than a transmitter of knowledge or disciplinary figure. Similarly, another article written by Thomas Fey proposes that the school building may transition into something that is open 24 hours, to accommodate both children and adults and providing support staff to assist. Similar to Rosen, Fey also suggested that teachers will still remain in the classroom, but in a different capacity; they will become more of a guide/ tutor for students needing help. Other teachers may even become the online teacher allowing them to use their training and provide their knowledge but in a different capacity. They may also use their knowledge to create the platforms to ensure that the correct information and right level of difficulty are provided to each student.
For students, learning will change into something that will provide enormous benefits through the use of various forms of online education. It will allow for them to be flexible, structuring their learning around other requirements, such as work. It will also allow them to create a learning environment best suited to their individuals needs enabling them to learn exactly what they want, when they want, resulting in the outcome of the education being more successful and better absorbed resulting in a higher standard of learning and better quality of graduates moving into the work place. This new form of education appeals to all types of learners and will allow for people with different learning capabilities and needs to efficiently and correctly interpret information therefore, producing a greater and more positive success rate.
This process of education is believed benefit people looking to learn in an easier and faster capacity the most. Studies undertaken by Kineo found the following results; students participating in online education have a better attitude toward the format and training in general, improved scores on tests, certifications or other evaluations, increase those who achieved ‘mastery’ level and / or ‘pass’ exams, greater ability to apply the new knowledge or processes on the job and better long-term retention of information5. This shows that this method of education will have large benefits as it becomes something that is both easily accessible and understandable, appealing to different people with; different job types, schedules and learning capabilities. It is also evident this this structure of learning will have a positive impact on society , as a larger number of successful graduates with the correct knowledge and skills will move into workplaces resulting in higher quality of work and productivity. The easy accessibility and greater range of information allows for greater numbers to receive this information resulting in more people moving onto further education rather than entering the workplace without qualifications. This then provides a chance for all types of industries to improve the output of the products and services with a higher success rate which then provides a positive increase in economy; it may also means that more people can move into employment after accessing education that is best suited to them.
It is suggested that the education for the future will provide a solid foundation through the concepts of traditional styles of learning but will progress with the times to create a reformed and effective way for people to gain the appropriate amount of knowledge in a shorter more efficient amount of time. On the other hand many educators argue that technology will replace human intelligence. As technology is rapidly changing the world around us, some worry that there will be no students to teach in the near future as technology might take over a lot of tasks and abilities that we have been teaching students for decades. This argument is greatly discussed within the education community and the ideas raise concerns for whether or not teaching has a viable future. However, it has been suggested that teaching will not die out but the role that teachers play will adapt to something that embraces the new forms of technology and allows for both the E-Learning industry and teachers capabilities to grow. It can also be argued that this form of futuristic education will not provide people with the traditional skills developed through a classroom education and people will not be able to develop skills for careers based on human interaction. It can be questioned whether this method of education can provide people with the social and moral aspects of traditional education, such as how to share the work load, how to interact with others, being patient, being able to help others, being able to recognize and apply the correct response to different situations etc. If a bespoke online education is created for an individual it is perceived that the moral and social teachings that come from traditional education in a classroom setting with others will be lost as the collaboration of learning in a group is taken away and replaced with visual association. This then makes people believe that the education through technology will have a negative impact on society that outweighs the positive that it displays.
In conclusion, the online community of education is thriving and developing into an industry that is set to revolutionize modern society, driving us further into a technology based network. E-Learning allows for many people to broaden their educational horizons and achieve greater things as a result. It is hard to tell exactly what the future of education will look like but it is already clear that the traditional model of education is being molded rather than being broken to fit with these advancements. It is important that traditional educational values are instilled through this new type of education so that people are still able to learn life and interpersonal skills and that the main priority in the education system continues to be quality teaching and learning of students enabling them to achieve their full potential.