The digital revolution has paved the way for unprecedented changes as to how content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared.
Not immune to these changes is the way learning is viewed, implemented and evaluated. Buzz words such as e-learning and edTech or educational technology come to mind when talking about the digital revolution and learning.
What exactly do these words mean?
Let’s dissect the definition, differences and benefits of these two concepts.
Educational technology is a field of study that examines the process of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating learning materials and learning environment with the aim of improving instruction and learning.
It is using technological resources, processes, and systems to improve or manage the learning process.
e-learning is learning via the internet or any electronic means. eLearning is learning utilizing electronic technologies in order to have access to educational curriculum outside of a traditional classroom.
Now that we know the definition and difference of these two concepts, let’s take a look at the benefits of e-learning and educational technology.
1. Instant Access to Knowledge
With the advent of the Internet, anything and everything can be searched and researched. The Internet allows learners to access information instantly rather than wasting valuable lesson time searching for it elsewhere.
2. Personalize the Learning Experience
Since e-learning or edTech is facilitated mainly by technology, it is possible for learners to personalize the learning experience by progressing at their own pace and allowing the learners to take the lectures any number of times.
3. Quick Delivery Of Lessons
As compared to traditional classroom teaching method, e-learning has relatively quick delivery cycles. According to research, the time required to learn is reduced to by 25%-60% in e-learning compared to traditional learning methods. This is because of cutting time for travel, learners can progress at their own pace, and learners can choose specific focus areas.
4. Scalability and Consistency
e-learning helps in creating and communicating new training, policies, concepts, and ideas. Learning with technology also ensures that learners learn in a consistent manner and get the same type of training.
5. Reduced Costs
Due to the reduced time needed for travel, facilitators, and course materials, the overall costs for learning are reduced.
6. Makes Learning More Fun
The use of technology makes learning more interesting and interactive. Platforms that provide live polling, surveys, gamification make the learning experience more interactive and dynamic.
7. Benefits for learning professionals
Teaching with technology first requires that the teacher knows how to use the technology. This in itself is an upgrade or leveling up for the teacher which adds to his/her skillset as a learning professional.
Another benefit for the teacher these technological advancements such as grading software, module creation tools, live polling tools, and survey tools can make training easier.
Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of learning with technology, you might be asking, are there any downsides?
Well, yes. Here are a few challenges that learners and teachers have to face and overcome when choosing to teach with technology.
1. Lack of Support
Since e-learning is taken at the learner’s pace by own his/her own, there may not always be a teacher present to provide support to the learner at all times.
Another point is that not all learners or teachers are technologically adept. Time that would otherwise be spent teaching could quickly be lost in finding technical assistance.
2. Extra Expenses
Initial costs for the equipment and creating the learning materials may be high for the institution purchasing them for the first time.
In order for a learning program aided by technology to be successful, there must be an initial budget and plan and a maintenance and budget and plan as well.
3. Technology Disregards Variation of Economic Background
Not all learners are created equal in terms of technological capacity and know-how. Equality is crucial in a learning environment, especially one facilitated through and with technology.
It is a possibility that the traditional educational institutions will crumble under the weight of technological advancements.
In order to stay alive learning professionals will certainly have to rethink their models of teaching entirely. Gone are the days of pen and paper.
In order to keep learning engaging and interesting and interactive, teaching strategies will have to adapt to and adopt the digital revolution.