Can eLearning Create an Engaging Experience?
The role of computer and internet is taking a major place in the life of students. The Internet is growing rapidly to reach the masses, and teaching methods have shifted from traditional blackboards to the use of PowerPoint slides with projectors. Students use digital notes to learn in today’s world, via their smartphone or computer. Teachers and instructors use online video conferencing to communicate with students. The entire learning experience is internet based. Although eLearning is becoming increasingly popular, is it creating an engaging learning experience for students? We will attempt to analyze this key question by exploring the types, advantages, disadvantages, and student responses to eLearning. Let’s take a deeper look at the topic.
Types of eLearning
It is very common for students to use Google to answer their questions. There can be many websites or blogs that students can refer to. eLearning methods vary as different people use different eLearning methods. But, combining them, we can divide eLearning systems into three types.
- Less interactive capabilities
This eLearning model includes additional text and multimedia content for learning. For example, PowerPoint content, eBooks, audio, and videos.
- Moderate interactive abilities
Online quizzes with feedback via mobile apps, and interaction with people on social media.
- High interactive capabilities
Remote virtual classes through video conferencing, live video streaming on various platforms, online group communication, blogs, and social media.
Benefits of eLearning
eLearning systems offer some major benefits to students. The use of mobile apps for learning is increasing. Analysis for MedicalEducation.nl showed that it has grown from 0.47 to 2.29% over the past 4 years. . The growth is definitely due to the benefits that eLearning offers. Let us understand them to proceed in our article.
1. Convenient mode of learning
eLearning is self-paced learning, and the learning outcomes and pace depend on the students. Students have the flexibility to download materials anytime and anywhere, making it a very convenient mode of learning.
2. Cost less than traditional education
If you visit online course sites like Udemy, you can find courses for as little as $5. eLearning methods are highly cost-efficient for students, and once owned, students have lifelong access to courses.
3. Learning materials can be easily updated
Along with the book, the printing press has to print a new book to update the content and that requires a huge budget. Whereas with eLearning content, you need to update the content on the computer and replace the old one, which takes a few minutes.
4. Global Availability of Materials
eLearning requires smart devices and the Internet. Whether you’re using a smartphone or a computer, you need the Internet to power eLearning systems, and you can learn anywhere and on the go.
5. Fun learning with better retention
Audio and video content used in the eLearning model helps students understand the illustrations better. Furthermore, the learning experience is engaging for students as they can connect, play, and challenge their peers for the top spot on the leaderboard.
Disadvantages of the eLearning model
To analyze the main question presented in this article, we need to understand the disadvantages of the eLearning model.
1. Procrastination among students
Since students decide on their study schedule and organize their study material, it makes them responsible for their learning. Unlike schools, they have no authority to monitor their schedules, with no deadlines and fixed schedules leading to laziness and procrastination.
2. Dependence on technology
As eLearning systems are completely mobile or computer based, poor internet connectivity acts as a barrier for students. Also, some students may face problems loading content on their mobile devices compared to students loading it on their laptops.
3. Same content for every student
eLearning materials are the same for every student, meaning geniuses and less intelligent students all have the same material to learn. It is possible that one student may not be able to learn effectively from the material, compared to someone else who will learn it effectively.
4. Isolation from real people
The eLearning model promotes video conferencing between teachers and students. Although this mode of learning is convenient for both, it reduces the actual face-to-face interaction that helps in personality development.
5. Inconvenient for disabled students or students with less smart device knowledge
eLearning materials target large user groups with expectations of computer knowledge. Imagine if a student is visually impaired or does not have the necessary knowledge to operate smart devices, they will face barriers to learning with the eLearning model.
What do students say about the eLearning experience?
Students have different perspectives on the experience they have with eLearning, depending on different parameters. We have selected some criteria such as accessing courses, time management, emotions, learning, etc., and will see what students have to say about these criteria.
- Accessing information
It was easy for students to view everything directly from the Blackboard website. The information was in their hands.
- Time management
Since there is no fixed schedule in eLearning platforms, students had to stay online most of the time to memorize and collect updates.
- emotional experience
Some students felt frustrated having to scroll through the internet to find their questions and some of them said they enjoyed the faster experience.
- learning experience
Students had to contact other students or faculty to get answers to their questions. However, they reported that they had to send more emails, and the discussion forums were not as active.
We have explored the topic of eLearning in detail along with its types, advantages and disadvantages. We also learned what students feel about the eLearning experience based on various parameters. Now, with this collected information, we can analyze the main question of the article.
Is the eLearning experience engaging?
The answer, so far, would be “no”, but we cannot say that the model of eLearning has failed. We should implement the following tips to create an engaging and successful learning experience:
- Strictly enforce the schedule for students
- Enable discussion forums so students can enjoy interacting with other students
- Prepare on-demand content for students who have difficulty understanding the content
- Quick question answers from faculty for students
- Ensure active leaderboards so students stay engaged in eLearning activities
- Implement metaverse-based learning with the use of augmented reality and virtual reality technologies, which will create an immersive experience filled with student engagement.
Don’t ignore mLearning
The above-suggested improvements are essential to building an engaging and successful eLearning experience. The types of eLearning are varied, but there is one more suggestion for the eLearning industry. mLearning model is in high demand in the current era. We cannot compare the importance of laptops or computers with smartphones, but smartphones create an engaging learning experience for users due to their small size, accessibility and availability. Therefore, colleges, trainers, and organizations should also maintain their mobile apps for eLearning by contacting eLearning mobile app development companies.
 Anytime, anywhere e-learning on mobile devices