E Learning; The New Tool For The Flat World

1680 words - 7 pages

Imagine that you are attempting to live on your own, you have a full time job, and you have recently decided to go back to school. You don't have a lot of free time, so you take online classes since you can take them at your own pace. At first you can keep up with the material, but soon you're trying to finish a week of assignments on Sunday before they are due at midnight. Eventually you start slacking off, only turning in some assignments, but the instructor doesn’t question or contact you at all. After a while you lose focus on why you even started college, and decide it's not worth the time and effort. Unfortunately, many people who enter into online education have similar stories, and while enrollment rates have increased a lot because of eLearning, the completion rates have not changed. There are criticisms of eLearning that definitely have weight; the wrong students are targeted, there is a lack of enthusiasm from instructors and students, and money spent on eLearning seems wasted due to lack of apparent benefits. My belief is that while eLearning does have a few kinks, those are all issues that can be worked on and fixed, and eLearning could be a very useful tool if incorporated into higher education in a more efficient way. Though people may suffer from an ambitions gap that could be a cause for the lack of success of eLearning, online education would operate far smoother if the right students were participating, and it has the capability of teaching the ability to learn.
While eLearning shows a lot of potential for future benefits, there are different elements of eLearning that are criticized, and for good reason. One downfall of eLearning is how there is no face to face communication between the instructor to the students, or even the students to each other. This lack of interaction would most likely have an impact on the instructor’s ability to express their interest in the subject, making it nearly impossible to create a sense of inspiration within the students based on the instructor's passion for the subject. According to Thomas Friedman in his book The World Is Flat in regards to his experiences with teachers, "What has stayed with me are not the facts they imparted but the excitement about learning they inspired" (hjlkhjlk). Friedman is saying that the greatest thing he took away from good teachers was not the information they provided, but rather the enjoyment of learning, which he got from their showcasing of passion for whatever subject they taught. A way to work on this issue would be to offer hybrid online classes, where once or twice a week the instructor met with the students.
Despite the flaws regarding the lost enthusiasm from instructors and students over the internet, eLearning is an option for education that, offered to the right student, could be a beneficial avenue to completing college and getting a degree. Unfortunately, the majority of people experimenting with online education are not the students...

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