Technology when utilised efficiently and effectively brings a bagful of opportunities coming of age in any field. In order to keep up with the trends in educational sector we need to keep ourselves open to all the possible outcomes when we step into new avenues. This brings me to the topic which is learning to optimally utilize technology. e-learning which mainly gives attention to the usage of technology in education and learning sector is one such example. it refers to learning using advanced technology that is information communication which mainly incorporates electronic media.
When we look into the current scenario, the unstoppable growth of information and communication technology led to the introduction of an alphabet as a syllable ‘e’ which is one of the lexical additions credited to IT. ‘e’ is frequently used, for instance, e- learning, e-health, e-business, e-government etc. Apparently, ‘e’ has reached a point where e-learning is now a strong medium for education.
How e-learning came about?
The revolution that was created with the emergence of web at the turn of the century made human society undergo metamorphosis of sorts. A jump from manual to digital gave a huge leap to society and culture and redefined standards. The storm of multimedia and communication hit every sector and education was clearly no exception.
The embarkment of virtual classes first began in the University of Illinois in 1960 where it created a classroom linked with computer systems and the students were able to listen to recorded lectures of a specific course. In around 1960s itself, some lecturers from Stanford University used computer as a tool to teach maths and reading in elementary school. The rapid advancement of internet in 1990s led to the emergence of many virtual schools like University of Phoenix which came out as a game changer way ahead of its time. The 1994 also marked the beginning of a virtual campus called CAL campus. Thus, due to computer- based learning many e-learning courses were also introduced and it is seen that the fusion of online education and face-to-face teaching is gaining more popularity than using both methods individually.
The 21st century is regarded as a multimedia network education age by some educational experts and is being promoted by all the nations on a front foot. In India the rage of online education is gradually entering the domain. A report by the National Centre for Education Statistics states that around 18 million students were enrolled in some online education programs in 2008 which was 1.6% increase from 2002. Even though our country has a long way to go with virtual courses but it seems there is a great scope for them in the development our schools.
The Fundamental Principal of e-Learning
There is no strict definition given to e-learning but in an abstract level e-learning is nothing but instruction by using internet as a medium. The electronic media is used in educational sector to teach students because it is user friendly and easy to interact and hence this medium of instruction is used at a global level.
The fundamental principle of e-learning is the Construction Principle Theory which found its feet after the emergence of multimedia. How knowledge is gained is something which we should ponder about. Generally, people have some awareness about a particular object and to know more about it they research on all the various sources available to them. Therefore, to make the research more feasible e-learning is introduced with just one click you can get access to the information you want to gather. Information is available on numerous sources and teacher’s instruction is not enough to gain knowledge. e-learning offers various ways to enhance the process of learning.
E- learning Apps Popular in India
The Meritnation: The app provides lessons of classes 6-12 of CBSE or ICSE board which helps students to ace in their exams. It also provides with study materials, help in homework and exam preparation, sample papers, revision notes, previous year papers etc. Some other features of meritnation are it provides NCERT solutions for classes 6-12, R.D. Sharma and P.S Verma solutions, around 14000 high quality video lessons of NCERT books, study materials for National Talent Search Exam (NTSE), National Science Olympiad (NSO) mock tests and practice papers etc.
The Byju’s Learning App: It was initiated in the year 2011 by Byju Raveendran to offer students learning in a tension-free environment. It stays on top as compared to other learning apps in India and has the best teachers including Byju himself. The app provides solutions for all the basic concepts in various subjects from 6-12 maths and science to competitive exams like JEE, CAT, AIPMT, CAT and IAS. Some features include video lessons for CAT aspirants straight from Santosh and Byju, personal mentors and guides for IIT JEE preparation, different modules are planned for ICSE, CBSE and state boards etc. It has also won several awards like CNBC TV18 Crisil Emerging India Award for Education, NDTV Profit Business Service Excellence Award.
Duolingo: A great app for language learners which offers to learn Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese and you can also practice reading, listening, speaking while playing a game. It also has provision to improve your grammar and vocabulary skills by answering questions. Duolingo is fun, engaging and effective.
Grammarly: No need to worry about your grammar mistakes spellings in English because grammarly has made it much easier while emailing or texting someone it gives you alert if you have framed it wrongly. A good educational app which can be used both on computer and mobile phones.
Advantages of e-Learning
Although it hasn’t reached to a greater level in India when it comes to training teachers but it has got some merits as compared to the traditional teaching methods:
Low Cost: It does not consume time as it can be carried out at any place and any time and also cheaper because no use of paper or pencil and finally saves a lot of time.
Personalization: It gives access to personalised content. Students can obtain materials of their own requirement unlike traditional teaching practices where teacher or some organisation provides you with learning materials.
Application in Education Training: These apps are a perfect fit for educational training because it reduces great amount of time and effort. That is why e-learning is superior to the traditional methods of learning
How the Study Materials are Constructed and Technical System Developed?
The important aspect of e-learning is the resource storehouse. It consists of two contents: Learning and Curriculum resource storehouse. The former consists of resources for informal learning like question banks, seminars and the latter consist of classes for text, sound frequency, 3D simulation and three-point screens. For the development of e-learning app four things are required and that is infrastructure, platform, management system and software tools and the main components are application, platform and infrastructure of network. The management includes managing the online curriculum, the resources and the process of learning. Some of the supporting tools and software are documents editing tool, media processing tool and software for courseware creation.
In an era of virtual world, it is important that we move along with the changing times to make learning less daunting and more enlightening.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.