The college learning experience has become dynamic with the incorporation of technology. Online courses have made it possible to assemble classrooms with educators and students from different parts of the world.
Today, a Chemistry student in India can learn from professors and academicians who teach in top Universities a continent away. And individuals can pursue online courses at their own pace while balancing work and family. E-learning is, thus, slowly becoming the great education equalizer of our times.
But, can it entirely replace traditional classrooms?
Online Courses Replacing Campus Placements
Nowadays, there are a variety of online learning platforms that offer Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other certifications in collaboration with established national and international universities. College students have the option of pursuing an online course created and delivered by some of the best faculty and experts in the field. Such online programs are gaining popularity as everyone seeks to upskill and differentiate themselves in today’s competitive job market.
While MOOCs provide access to high-quality content, they pose no threat to the regular degree programs offered by mainstream institutions. And the importance of physical presence and human engagement is not lost on the teaching and learning communities. In fact, traditional campus education and e-learning can be viewed as complementary forces where each mode can compensate for the limitations of the other.
What e-learning Brings to the Table?
We are in a time when students are increasingly struggling with short attention spans. In a traditional classroom, you do not have the option of rewinding on a teacher and revisiting an important topic. However, if the same lectures were online, you could go back and continue learning at a speed that is more suited to your needs.
Most video lectures come with a transcript that you can read simultaneously to avoid any confusion. So, online courses can cater to different comprehension levels, which is difficult to achieve in a real-time environment.
Pre-recorded online lectures and pre-set assignments are also beneficial from the teaching perspective. Instructors can focus their energies towards refining their course material and making it more engaging for students, rather than spending hours grading workbooks. Moreover, they do not have to wait until the end of the semester to know whether the course participants are facing any difficulties. They can find out the problem areas and get precise feedback anytime, with the click of a button.
How Online Courses Mimic Traditional Learning?
The debate is no longer about online courses replacing campus placements, but how they are incorporating the benefits of conventional campus education. Online learning platforms have tried to replicate the social and collaborative aspects with tools like messaging boards, chatbots, and social media groups.
upGrad provides online courses in many trending programs like Data Science, Digital Marketing, Entrepreneurship, etc. You can enroll in the program you’re interested in and uplift your future. The idea is to let the students know that they are learning with real people and not just a computer screen. They can post their doubts, interact with their peers, discuss new ideas, and so on. Some online courses even include regular live webinars to solve queries and deliberate about the progress. Such engagement forums are critical in creating shared learning spaces, similar to traditional classrooms.
E-learning has not yet been able to emulate the lecture hall fully. Face-to-face interactions have a charm and significance of their own. Moreover, certain disciplines require access to specialized lab equipment and obligatory physical presence. So, it is more likely that online and traditional classrooms will co-exist in the future.
What the Classrooms of the Future Will Look Like?
The internet has transformed our learning spaces. Classrooms are evolving in tune with the social, economic, and technological landscapes. Today’s educators and learners are not worried about online courses replacing campus placements. They are more interested in exploring how the physical and online worlds can merge to create the best learning environment.
Many online courses are offered free of cost to the participants, whereas others may have a course fee associated with them. Upon successful completion, participants typically receive a verified certificate. When you don’t have the luxury of time and mobility, e-learning can be a cost-effective way of acquiring knowledge about the subjects of your interest.
For example, a full-time undergraduate student in Economics can learn a statistical software online without missing the on-campus lectures. A software developer can pursue an online course in cybersecurity to advance his career growth.
Technology has made it possible for teachers to record their lectures and reach a mass audience. Instructors can engage with the global academic and learning community to refine and customize their content. Interacting with people from different backgrounds and experiences can be useful in stimulating new ways of explaining things. Even on-campus education stands to benefit from such an exchange of ideas.
From empowering teachers to creating active learning spaces, e-learning is changing classrooms as we once knew them and leading them into the future!