E-learning has experienced tremendous growth over the past several years. Grammar schools, colleges, universities and corporations are using e-learning to replace or complement the traditional classroom setting. Proponents of e-learning claim that it is superior to traditional classroom learning in many ways; however, some continue to support conventional classrooms as the best way to learn. Let’s look at whether e-learning might eventually replace traditional classroom learning.
Drivers of Growth
Technology such as cloud computing and virtual reality has changed the way children and adults learn. The amount of software available that allows groups of people to hold meetings online has changed the way humans interact with each other. The availability of computers and connections gives learners a new way to access knowledge; they now have access to more information than ever before, right at their fingertips.
Quality of E-Learning
In the beginning, the concept of e-learning was novel, but then it began to gain momentum. With an increase in companies offering e-learning as an option in both the educational system and corporations, it quickly increased competition. This competition resulted in a need for e-learning companies to enhance quality and consistency, and to improve their learner experience. As program quality improved, this led to an increase in those who were willing to try e-learning.
How Well Does It Work?
One of the critical advantages of e-learning is that it allows for personalised learning, and the student can work at their own pace. They can achieve mastery before moving on to the next topic or segment of the lesson. The student can often choose how they would like to learn the material, but what types of results does it achieve?
Several research studies compared e-learning to traditional classroom learning for the same material, with the method of delivery being the only difference. One study found that there was no significant difference in test scores between the two groups. E-learning performed at least equal to the traditional classroom when it came to learning the material.
Will E-Learning Replace Traditional Classrooms
When it comes to performance and outcomes, e-learning is at least as effective, if not better than traditional classrooms. However, other factors must also be considered. For instance, e-learning is more cost-effective than a conventional classroom. The same material can be delivered to more students than what would fit in a physical class, making it much more profitable.
E-learning allows the student to learn the material according to their schedule – this opens many new educational opportunities for those who have family and career obligations. They can learn when it is convenient for them, meaning the learning can take place anywhere where Internet access is available.
One of the challenges for e-learning is that some material cannot be taught online. For instance, nursing training requires hands-on practical training and lab work for many portions of the program. In this case, a hybrid form of e-learning and traditional classroom learning can be used.
In answer to the original question, there is a distinct possibility that, in many cases, e-learning will eventually replace traditional classroom settings. However, it cannot replace all aspects of the learning environment. Many students and employees may find that the majority of their learning will soon take place online. If the recent, rapid growth in this field is any indication, this day might not be too far away. In the future, the laptop may also replace big, clunky textbooks too. The future for e-learning looks bright, and it may undoubtedly replace the majority of traditional classroom learning if recent growth trends are any indication.