The current health crisis of COVID-19 has practically confined the entire world population including students around the world. In fact, the doors of their educational centers remained closed. An unparalleled educational crisis that, however, has found a crack of hope in a set of initiatives encompassed in distance education. It is a methodology, as its name indicates, based on online education via the Internet without any physical space to be developed. This occurs, more or less regularly, from e-learning or online modality derived from distance learning that makes use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), and which is being used as a shield against the impact that Coronavirus is having on the face-to-face learning of approximately 1.5 billion students worldwide.
An expansion of e-learning is also spreading to those educational establishments that had not yet made the digital leap and lacked the ICT tools and infrastructure to do so. Thus, initiatives have been taken by some affiliated with the digital education sector, such as Write My Essayz, that allow them to access all these resources.
Exceptional Learning for an Exceptional Time
Generally used in university and post-university studies until its most recent expansion to nearly all educational cycles, e-learning has evolved throughout its history because of the different communication types emerged with the arrival of the 20th century to the present. Officially, its origin is found in correspondence learning, with students receiving their lessons and exercises in print periodically and by mail, and it evolved into the so-called multimedia model in which this printed material was superseded by videocassettes or cassettes. Later it gave way to telematic education, to virtual and flexible learning allowed by web 2.0., and finally to virtual environments or educational platforms of resources and digital tools such as webinar, Microsoft Teams or Office 365, often driven by big data and adaptive learning. It’s very rapid establishment as a temporary solution to the Covid-19 pandemic that has paralyzed education activity in many school establishments around the world. However, these ICTs have been ubiquitous communication tools in large parts of the world for the younger population.
A confluence of factors that has given wings to government initiatives related to e-learning, and to open-source digital educational content or created specifically to replace, as far as possible, to the subjects that would be taught in the classrooms during its closure, as well as support tutorials and digital literacy for teachers who need it, or even the transfer of technological material designed for students with difficulties accessing the Internet or using these tools. But what are their particular benefits?
Typically, this learning is partially or totally asynchronous, allowing the student to remotely witness the class when it takes place or when it is most convenient for them, according to the demands of their daily routines.
As the use of email, forums, chats and social networks, most e-learning systems allow a fluid monitoring of student progress and also create group dynamics and cooperatives between students and also between teachers, in addition to making it possible to send assignments.
Although we must not forget that the distance nature of this learning leaves some of the benefits of face-to-face exposure outdoors, such as the practical socialization of the students or their interactivity with the classroom space and group, including the teaching team, which it does enjoy the latter.
Specific Needs of an Effective Distance Education
E-learning involves meeting a set of requirements without which it can hardly be developed, and even more so in a confining context such as the current one. A team of doctorate level personnel of UK Writing Help determines some essential factors that are being taken into account for the global implementation of this educational alternative, and which we point out below:
- You need an ICT infrastructure and an Internet connection powerful enough to be able to run effectively. The digital divide has become the most decisive factor for the continuity of student studies worldwide, despite the fact that there are not a few substitutes which take advantage of means prior to the appearance of these technologies such as television or radio to mitigate, not even slightly, the impact that inequality in access to ICT has right now in distance learning of students.
- It requires minimal computer and digital knowledge, which is a factor that generally puts teachers at a disadvantage compared to their students. Fortunately, there is a growing offer by government entities, companies and other organizations to alleviate, in the face of teachers, a lack of training in these technologies. Without it, digital distance learning can hardly function smoothly, or even exists.
- It implies a much higher degree of self-discipline than in face-to-face education, so it is recommended that, despite its asynchronous possibilities, it be carried out as part of a certain routine.
Do you use e-learning to continue your education these days? What benefits and drawbacks do you find in this educational methodology? Share your impressions and experiences in this regard with all of us, and this post with your contacts.