The digital age has been technically changing education for decades. To this day, the COVID-19 pandemic has reiterated the need and importance of elearning in today’s world. We explain what this trend consists of, its characteristics and the benefits it represents.
What exactly is elearning?
At its core, elearning is the process of teaching and learning digitally. The teacher and students are not in the same place, but they interact continuously in two ways:
Synchronously. They are connected simultaneously on the same communication channel, like a video conference.
Asynchronously. People can access the same material at different times, as with virtual education platforms.
The elearning is characterized by its flexibility since in its processes the barriers of time and space for learning dim. Likewise, the mechanisms and resources available for training are diversified.
In addition, it stands out for being an eminently communicative form of education, where the element of distance means that teachers and students have to interact effectively and efficiently through channels such as email, chats, forums and videoconferences.
Advantages of elearning
It is flexible, as previously mentioned, virtual education offers possibilities for different learning needs. There are hybrid classes, in which some students share a space while others attend via the internet. Thus, there are courses with time limits to complete them, while there are others that do not have an end date.
Demand for participation, where the nature of distance training forces the student to use the material and actively participate in their education.
Easy access, thanks to the necessary technological tools, elearning brings education closer to those who cannot attend a learning center.
Lower price, since digital training (either a course without certification or one endorsed by a university), costs less than face-to-face training
These benefits coexist with certain challenges, as for many people the discipline required to learn independently is a challenge. In the same way, the dynamics between teacher and student, and between parents, can be affected digitally, especially if they are used to traditional education.
Is elearning effective?
According to the World Economic Forum, students retain between 25% and 60% more information online than in person. This is related to the fact that elearning requires between 40% and 60% less time to learn. That is, students can do it at their own pace, as many times as necessary.
An example of this is the case of a technology multinational, whose employees in digital training learned five times more than during a face-to-face education. As reported by eLearning Industry, this is because virtual lessons are more concrete, faster and more digestible.
Elearning in today’s world
In 2015, the global market for digital learning was worth $ 107 trillion, according to Global Industry Analysts. While, it is estimated that it will amount to about 325 trillion dollars in 2025, according to Research and Markets. This growth is motivated by factors such as the convenience of online training, as well as the need to educate massively and sustainably at low costs.
The popularity of elearning is reflected in figures, such as the 58 million students worldwide who during 2016 made more than 6,800 MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by 700 universities or from platforms such as Miríadax ..