Restrictions and lockdowns caused by Covid-19 have seen technology become native across many aspects of one’s life. Technology has been rapidly adopted in education, too, with e-learning or online learning gaining wide acceptance that will outlive the Covid-19 restrictions. In short, e-learning and e-learning solutions that were once considered optional have become fundamental to primary, secondary and higher education.
By Ananth Rao
The need for e-learning
Gone are the days when the knowledge and benefits of e-learning to school owners, principals and academic heads had to be imparted. Academic institutions in specific, particularly K-12 schools, now know the existential importance of e-learning (solutions), considering the extended absence of traditional brick-and-mortar schooling methods.
During the early days of the lockdown, virtual classes delivered through videoconferencing tools were considered to be e-learning.
The delivery of additional learning resources without a robust and secure delivery platform were scarce, with emails and social media tools being the primary mode of communication—be it homework, assignments, project work or assessments. E-learning is much more than just live classes and sharing of additional resources, it brings structure beyond classrooms to ensure continuity, collaboration and personalisation in learning using rich digital formats and other tools, thus making learning more interactive and inquiry-led for the learner.
Integral part of the ‘new normal’
It is important that educational institutes ‘blend’ online learning and digital tools into their pedagogies and learning methodologies. Lessons taught should remain available for self-paced, anytime, anywhere access and supplemented with additional learning resources.
All stakeholders in e-learning (students, teachers and parents) actively participate in a student’s education by tracking learning progress, measuring learning outcomes and taking corrective action as required.
E-learning is no longer for the privileged few. With falling prices of smartphones and data, it is now accessible and affordable to most educational institutions and students. Most e-learning solutions are now cloud-hosted, which means that no additional investment is required in hardware, like servers, smartboards, etc. It also offers greater flexibility and higher accessibility because of continuous tech advances.
The author is chairman, mPowerO, the e-learning mobile app. Views are personal