Classrooms are boring. This is an old perspective. Today students feel school is not challenging or interactive enough. It has been said that there are two reasons why we learn; some leaning is essentially forced on us while the other is what we sit back and enjoy. E-Learning has brought back the joy in learning through its innovative and interactive content and delivery.
The old correspondence courses were the first Distance Learning courses but with the advent of Internet in the eighties, e-Learning became new mantra for delivering higher education courses over really long distances.
The Internet opened new possibilities and now any type of learning content, be it for school, graduate or masters level, employee training, research activity or any other type of academic offering is called e-Learning.
e-Leaning has already established its credentials and its popularity can be gauged from the fact that delivery is not restricted to just plain text but has crossed boundaries to video creating virtual class rooms via video conferencing. The introduction of a variety of technologies has made it possible to convert it from impersonal to highly interactive medium of pedagogy (the art and science of teaching).
According to Market Data Retrieval (MDR) in USA two thirds of colleges and universities offer long distance learning courses and the number of institutions offering accredited degrees have increased to 55%.
New varieties of e-Learning have emerged with help and push from emerging technologies. Besides distance learning now there is distributed learning. This term describes the educational experiences of individuals and groups that are distributed over geographies and cultures using variety of media delivery methods. This has moved education beyond the classroom to more interactive information by joining learning and experience together. This is developing into learning communities with their own focus on various branches, cultures and sub-cultures. It is a mind boggling explosion of information that is now available with lot of imagination and little effort.
With collaborative tools e-learning is moving into virtual classes and virtual communities where the old methods of practice and test have melted into new interactive teaching-learning methodologies.
Tuition on line has taken a new meaning where a varied help is now available both free and paid for on demand on any subject instantly. This has relieved pressure both on the teacher and the students.
Future learning is now focusing on learning beyond the classroom and curriculum. Companies need to upgrade employees by offering re-training programs. These are both costly and time consuming. By designing these programs and content via e-Learning methods both time and money are saved. The innovative method is also self promoting as it increases the curiosity level of individuals for self promotion and career enhancements.
In the technical field too doctors and other professionals are getting a fair chance for keeping abreast of developments and discoveries and even participation in these activities through interactive delivery processes.
Looking further, this being the global market era, the consumer is being made aware of immense openings, opportunities and bargains through this method. Medical tourism is one recent example of e-Learning where serious information and fun have been mixed for delivery of marketing content.
e-Learning has created a new dimension in education, both within and beyond the curriculum and is still looking at further opportunities of becoming more useful via new emerging technologies. We are really on the threshold of new opportunities and this is just the beginning of a new horizon of education.