Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning
The e-learning setup, if implemented in quality way, offers many benefits to the users. The main advantages of e-learning are given below:
- First-in Market – It saves money and time: The content can be placed on the Web as soon as it is ready without having to wait for printing, packaging and shipping through distribution channels. The early availability of content gives the learner a head start over others.
- Learner Control – E-learning offers personalization: Each learner has unique preferences and learning goals. You can learn at any time and at any place. All you need for e-learning is a Web connection. You can limit the duration of an e-learning session to study only the volume of content that you can fully absorb.
- Enhanced Retention: Since you follow learning style that suits you, e-learning enhances your retention. Also, the e-learning material is delivered in small logical modules known as skillets. This results in better retention and recall for a learner.
- Timely and Easy Access: E-learning is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Therefore, e-learning enables you to learn at the time that is convenient to you.
- Interactive Mode: As an e-learner, you have access to a Web tutor at all times. Experts are also available for you to resolve content-related queries. E-learning also allows you to chat with co-learners on different topics related to their subject and participate in discussion forums.
- Assessment and Feedback: E-learning provides you with assessment exercises that test you on the course that you are learning. On-line tests are typically optional self-initiated tests. You get a dynamic set of questions to answer.
- Up-to-date Content: The e-learning technology allows the dynamic updating of information on courses. Therefore, unlike CBT or books, the content in an e-learning course is updated regularly. This enables you to gain access to the latest information on the course.
- State-of-the-art Environment: The future of all activities in educational and commercial spheres is on the Internet. Therefore, most of the new development in educational technologies is Web-based. With e-learning, you work in a state-of-the-art environment that is going to be the environment of the future.
- E-learning is scalable: Online learning is scalable. You can roll it out to as many employees you need and is a one-time investment. The more learners take the course, the faster you can write off the expense.
Although e-learning is very useful for the users, but it suffers from some limits that lead to its disadvantages. The disadvantages of e-learning are given below:
- Up-front Investment: Initial investment required for an e-learning solution is larger due to development costs.
- Technology Issues: Technology issues that play a factor include whether the existing technology infrastructure can accomplish the training goals, whether the additional technology expenditures can be justified, or whether compatibility of all software and hardware can be achieved.
- Inappropriate Content: Because of freedom of website inappropriate content for e-learning may exist. Even the acquisition of skills that involve complex physical/motor or emotional components (for example, juggling or mediation) can be augmented with e-learning.
- Cultural Acceptance: Cultural acceptance is an issue in organizations where student demographics and psychographics may predispose them against using computers at all, let alone for e-learning, unavailability of required technologies.
- Portability: Portability of training has become strength of e-learning with the proliferation of network linking points, notebook computers, PDAs, and mobile phones, but still does not rival that of printed workbooks or reference material.
- Reduced Social and Cultural Interaction: Reduced social and cultural interaction can be a drawback. The impersonality, suppression of communication mechanisms such as body language, and elimination of peer-to-peer learning that are part of this potential disadvantage are lessening with advances in communications technologies.
- No self-discipline: In a self-paced environment, an e-learning task can undergo a gravitational pull to the bottom of the list, where it can languish for days, weeks, or even indefinitely. The fact is, many people find it much easier to internalize new skills and knowledge through active training sessions with other people, than through an impersonal e-learning module.
Learning Management System (LMS)
- A Learning Management System (or LMS) is a software package that enables the management and delivery of learning content and resources to students.
Most LMS systems are Web-based — to facilitate “anytime, anywhere” access to learning content and administration.
Some commonly used free LMS are:
Modular Object Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment (Moodle) is an Open Source Course Management System (CMS).
It is also known as a Learning Management System (LMS) or a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)
To work, it needs to be installed on a web server somewhere, either on one of your own computers or one at a web hosting company.
Figure 2: Moodle Website Homepage
LifterLMS is a learning management system plugin that works with WordPress.
LifterLMS can be used to create the following types of websites:
- Online course.
- Training based membership site.
- Internal training portal.
- Course marketplace.
Figure 3: LifterLMS