E-Learning: Advancing The Way We Learn!

Posted on August 8, 2010 in Learning+, The Opinionated

By Roli Verma [with contributions from Anshul Tewari]

One of the hallmarks of any education system is that it must be dynamic and changing with times. There was a time when teachers or parents were the only ones children looked up to. Elders were being worshipped and followed religiously, as it was thought they knew the ‘best’. Today, the situation has totally changed. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that children are now a window to the world for parents. Kids know more than elders. All thanks to the internet! They read, blog, share views, search and explore information. Children as old as 5 years are more tech-savvy than their parents!

Teaching such smart kids is not a cake-walk for the schools. They must gear up in this age of information bombardment. Students today want to go beyond books and classrooms. Therefore, schools have to make sure that in order to keep their interest alive in studies — they are taught in the best possible interactive manner. ‘Technology’ is one of the best solutions which will bridge this gap between teachers and students. In the past, the education was restricted to the drudgery of talk and chalk regime. However, now technology-mediated instruction and learning are fast catching up. The teaching community has also realized that technology empowers them and does not replace them.

These days E learning, video conferencing, E labs have become common and our country is accepting these methods of teaching.

Innovation in education is like a blessing for students. It is effective as well as self paced. Students can learn at their own pace too! Many institutes like IITS, IISC (Bangalore based Indian institutes of sciences) are fast catching up the trend. Even IGNOU took a step forward when in 2000 it launched an exclusive TV channel to provide higher education. The Delhi University has also started an e-learning portal through which students can access pre recorded lectures, experiments in virtual labs and can listen to texts while sitting at home. It is an effort by DU’s Institute of Lifelong Learning (ILLL)

Video conferencing uses telecommunication of audio and video to bring people at different sites together. It overcomes long distances and can be an enriching experience especially for students. It can also be used to share documents and comp-based information. In an educational institution, video conferencing can provide cross-institutional links and value added curriculum teaching.

Benefits of Video Conferencing and E-Learning:

This technique benefits students in a big way. Students staying in remote areas can be taught by experts and professionals from all over the world. Also, it broadens the minds of students as they interact with people from different social, cultural and economic background. Many educational institutions in India and abroad have adopted it. It requires basic equipment like camera and microphones. It plays a vital role in technical and higher education. However, in spite of its benefits, its use is restricted to only the elite masses.

Educational organizations like Educomp have already started making use of this technology. Having a video-conferencing, projection and multimedia functionalities in the classroom will make sure that the student is exposed to newer and better ways of studying, learning and understanding, rather than just mugging up topics.

This technology could give the students a window into the outer world and make them more culturally sensitive towards others at the same level. An inter-nation or even a pan India interaction will make the classroom a healthy learning experience. Dealing with tougher topics will become easy as 1-2-3.

Availability of internet and web based services in schools would make this experience all the more enriching with every information available at the relm of a click. Our mindset is not receptive to change, but it is time we accepted technology from the basest to the top most level if we wish to achieve a proper development and wish to lower the illiteracy and below poverty line (BPL) rates in our nation.

There is a need to implement this technology iommediately. The problems will be faced when this technology will have to be implemented in the rural areas — where it is needed the most.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/olpc/3080618518/

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Nishima Sohni

The idea of e-learning is new and and can be thought of as a new step towards overcoming the complexities faced when barred from education. Approximately 72% of people in India are below poverty line so making such approaches of education available to Gen Y is like shaking hands with intellect and intelligence together.
But the major concern is the rise in the cost of the education system due to the bandwidth consumption, scarcity of properly trained teachers to pursue such approaches and the number of people who can afford it!

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