These days, industries and organizations are increasingly turning to online education to meet their educational needs. But when is the right time for e-learning? In this article, we will address the topic of online learning and education and answer the following questions. What is the nature of online education? When can it be useful and how can we use virtual learning to acquire knowledge and develop our skills?
What is online education?
Online education is a multifaceted term, and if we want to name a few examples of what it covers, we have to mention areas such as e-learning and some distance learning, web-based learning, virtual learning and computer-based learning.
We generally use the term to describe learning through computers or devices such as smartphones and tablets. Different media can be used in this type of learning experience. Media such as articles, images and audio files, podcasts, interactive content, ready-made presentations, recorded videos and tutorial quizzes (quizzes that the participant can choose and take according to his / her speed).
Organizations sometimes use blended learning as well. Integrated learning is online learning with human support, things like interacting through forums or similar channels.
For example, your organization may require all new hires to complete a web-based workplace safety and health course on their first day of business. Or you can enroll in a distance learning course to learn Chinese to use when you move to your organization’s new office in Shanghai, China. Or you may use a site like Chetor.com to develop your management skills and personal growth and development.
All of these are good examples of how you can use online training to gain the knowledge and skills you need.
Types of online training
There are two main types of online education: synchronous and asynchronous
Simultaneous education means the live exchange of information between people. An example of this type of training could be a live class with students asking questions at the same time and the instructor answering them via instant messaging.
Asynchronous learning is an online education that is done in an asynchronous way and may go back and forth. For example, you can read, watch and listen to educational resources on your computer, or discuss with your classmates in the forum. You can do tests and assessments online or send homework to your instructor via email. This means that you decide when to attend the class, and choose which training course is best for you.
Benefits of online education
There are several benefits to using online education. One of the biggest advantages is its flexibility. Instead of attending a class at a specific time and place, you can enter your learning schedule at any time.
Another benefit is that it is cost-effective for you and your organization. When you learn online, you eliminate the cost of daily commuting to class, you avoid any living expenses you may incur, and you minimize time away from work.
Online education is often very cost-effective, especially for large groups. For example, online courses have a relatively large number of instructors compared to the number of people trained in coach-centered courses. Online training also allows organizations to train groups on a global scale.
Due to the variety and combination of media used in online education, this form of education can create an active learning experience and apply different learning styles. Online learning can be fun and engaging, especially when working with others. Because you work at your own pace, you are more likely to understand and remember what you are learning.
According to US Department of Education studies, students who take online courses perform almost better than those who do in a traditional classroom setting. Those who take integrated courses also perform better than others.
Finally, online educators often acknowledge that the level of participation that individuals show in e-learning courses is higher than in the classroom environment. One possible reason for this is that online education can encourage quieter students to participate. Another reason could be that the level of autonomy in these periods is much higher.
Bugs of online education
Although there are many benefits to learning online, there are drawbacks to any method.
First, online education is not for everyone. Self-directed learning requires organization and self-regulation. If you are not motivated enough or are irregular, you may open your eyes and see that you are lagging behind in your online education. To participate in online training, you must also have good time management skills.
Sometimes online education can provide a learning curve for students. If you are not comfortable with technology, it can be time consuming to become familiar with the learning platform and any other technology used in the course. Online education is also difficult for people with low literacy.
There is often a delay between your performance in an e-learning course and the feedback you receive from the instructor. There is no instant feedback in this type of tutorial unless you use live online video. This can slow down progress or be frustrating for some students.
When should you use online training?
For some, online education can be very effective, while for others it may work better in a traditional learning environment.
Online learning is suitable for teaching specific knowledge and skills. For example, new team members can participate in online training to learn about company policies and expectations, or all employees can be trained to become familiar with the operation of the new software system. You can also use online resources to learn managerial, business and technical skills.
Of course, this learning format is not always practical for a set of skills that require manual or mechanical work or laboratory work. Some topics or courses are not available at all in the virtual environment and must be taught using on-the-job training or in a practical and traditional classroom environment.
For example, you can learn counseling skills from an online course and then practice through a webcam, but there is no substitute for talking face-to-face with others, as is done in group training to practice some aspects of the skill. does not have.
How to choose a better online class?
When you come to the conclusion that online education is right for you, it is important to weigh the various options available.
First, see what you are trying to achieve. Do you want to focus on increasing your knowledge? Or do you want to pursue a certain practical skill? Does the coach have to be present or does the training have to be self-governing? If it is a course run by a coach, how often should the coach be available for individual questions or help? If this is a self-governing course, how will it help you?
Next, pay attention to the format of the meeting. How good are the training materials? Will you enjoy using them? How will you learn the training materials? What technology will you need? Will you have homework to do?
If this course is concurrent, how much interaction will you have with your classmates during the course? How will you communicate with your classmates? If the course is asynchronous, how will you organize your learning?
And whether you are learning to improve your skills, or are you going to get a degree? If the latter, how much activity is required? How will you be evaluated? And what will it do for you?
Prerequisites for starting virtual learning
You can do several things before you start online training to get the most out of this experience.
First, check if your computer is compatible with the learning platform; And can you run all the programs and software you will need for this course? Do you need new tools, such as a webcam or tablet?
Online education requires self-organization and time management skills. Take time to organize yourself before the course begins.
Finally, finding a comfortable space to attend any class is important. Although learning at home is often easier, the learner is easily distracted. Learn how to manage interruptions and try to advance your learning in a room where you are less likely to be distracted.