Education has always been a significant part of the successful personal enhancement which plays a major role in the progressive development of any country. E-learning has already become the best way of getting education in the XXI century. Today e-learning makes it possible to share knowledge and skills of those people who have already got a lot of experience in their profession and who decided to devote their lives to teaching others.
E-Learning is the use of up to date technology which allows people to get knowledge any time and any where. It is also known that e-learning includes not only training programs but also the delivery of prompt data and assistance of professionals.
Thesis statement: E-learning and Online degree Programs have caused a great amount of people to be involved in the process of learning. The material is provided to the students via Internet, satellite broadcast, servers, CD-ROM, online books, audio and video tapes and web cams.
My goal in this essay is to discuss the causes of popularity of e-learning among the students, the employees and other categories of people who need either to get new information or to enlarge existent knowledge.
Special attention will be paid to Online Degree Programs. The significance of social trend will be argued and the main effects will be examined.
E-LEARNING AND ITS CATEGORIES
It is known that e-learning can be divided into four categories from the simplest one and to the advanced:
- Knowledge databases. Students can get instructions on software cites. It is a basic category of e-learning.
- online support. It gives an opportunity to ask questions and get answers through forums, chat rooms, e-mail and so on.
- asynchronous training. This type of e-learning includes self-control learning via CD-ROM, Intranet, Internet or Network. The students can get access to the teachers or instructors through e-mail, online discussion groups or bulletin boards.
- synchronous training. It included audio and video conferencing, Internet telephony and others. The student is given opportunity to communicate with his teacher or instructor in real time. (Obringer)
MAJOR CAUSES OF E-LEARNING POPULARITY AMONG THE STUDENTS OF ALL THE CATEGORIES
It is clear that e-learning has a lot of advantages and cannot be compared with the traditional way of getting knowledge in the classroom.
E-learning is very popular among the students of all the categories. The causes include the following ones:
- Cause 1: The flexibility of getting education.
- Cause 2: The cost savings as the students do not have to go anywhere and to be away from work for a certain period of time. It is also less expensive than the traditional learning in the class.
- Cause 3: It is a self-paced process. The students have an opportunity to take the e-learning programs when they need.
- Cause 4: E-learning moves faster than the traditional learning programs. The students have an individualized approach and they can skip those material which is known to them.
- Cause 5: E-learning can be obtained any time and from any location.
- Cause 6: It is easily managed and updated.
- Cause 7: It provides increased retention of the material because e-learning is based on interaction which includes video, audio material and various quizzes to check the knowledge. (Obringer)
ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS
Today a lot of people prefer to get an online degree and to succeed in the career. The Online Degree Programs give a chance to become a specialist and to improve the knowledge. A great deal of universities and colleges, business schools and other educational institutions offer various online courses. The students have a chance to get their degree and learn how to use new software while the employees have a chance to learn new technologies which are necessary for their work.
There are a lot of examples which prove the fact that Online Degree Programs have a lot of advantages and are chosen by thousand of students who are happy to learn online.
FACTS WHICH PROVE THAT ONLINE DEGREE PROGRAMS ARE PROGRESSIVE METHODS OF GETTING EDUCATION
Using web cams to watch those students who are taking the test
It is known that many students who take courses online should pass exams and take different tests online. This is a problem for the educators who try to make everything possible to avoid cheating. Using web cams gives an opportunity to control the process of taking tests online. It is also known that Troy University in Alabama is an educational institution which has already put in practice taking tests by means of web cams. Although some specialists argue that not all the students will be satisfied with this new technology. Stephan Flavin considers that recording students by web cam “would be probably pushing the boundary of our comfort level”. (Pope)
Such educational institutions as University of Phoenix, Capella University, Walden University and some others do not include a great number of different tests to their online programs. The officials consider that writing assignments is the best way to check the level of knowledge. That is why they do not use web cams to test their students.
Of course, the using of web cams is an innovation in online education that is why not all the institutions realize the importance of this testing method. (Pope)
Online degree program for the US soldiers
One more fact that proves reliability and progressiveness of online degree programs is getting education by the US soldiers. It is known that the Army has the main task – to reduce the barrier to recruiting and retaining young people. For this purpose, a new Online educational program was announced for a great number of the US soldiers. Now they have a chance to get a degree learning the subjects online.
The students can choose online degree programs of those colleges and universities which are linked by computer technology. It is known that the US soldiers who are going to become online students will be provided with computers and they will have an access to Internet.
They will have an opportunity to study no matter where they are located. They will be able to study during the war actions or during the peacekeeping deployments.
It means that the US Army will consist of well-educated people who will be able to make a good career after their demobilization. (Cooper)
The advantages of using the Online Degree Programs at Florida High School
Andrew Trotter describes the advantages of using the Online Degree Programs at Florida High school in his article Cyber Learning at Online High. This educational institution is one of those institutions which moves with the times using new technologies in education. Betty Veil is a teacher who has 31 years of teaching experience. She teaches high school physics online at Florida High School and is satisfied with the results of e-learning. Her online students have a lot of benefits. They do not have to visit classes each day at the appointed time. They can fix the time of their online classes beforehand. There are 58 teachers and more than 2,500 online students at the Florida Online High School.
It is known that the Florida Online High School is not the only Online educational institution. The Virtual High School which is run by the Concord Consortium was opened a year earlier and also has got a great success. The Florida High School offers about 56 programs. The courses are arranged in modules which the online students can complete whenever they want – they can choose the rate(slow, normal or accelerated) themselves. All the online teachers can use their own technologies which will help in the process of learning.
So, numerous Online Degree Programs at Florida High School have a great success among the students which show good results. (Trotter)
Debates on the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning
Nicholas Slabber and Mirlea Saks, the contributors to the international daily online newspaper the Christian Science Monitor, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning in their article Campus on Keyboard. They represent a lot of people who give positive opinions concerning the importance of e-learning. One of them is Sr. Airman Aaron Fisher whose military duties did not allow him to attend college. He chose one of the online programs at Grantham University. His tuition is paid by the US government.
Most online students in the USA argue that e-learning is not only convenient way of getting knowledge but also it is acceptable to all.
However, some experts think that this method threatens the development of colleges in the USA. According to the words of David Nobel, the technology historian, “digital diploma mills” mean “the automation of higher education” in the USA.(Slabbert & Mirlea)
Accredited online colleges play an important role in the US system of education as they give an opportunity to more than 83 million people from 25 to 54 years old to get online degree.
Some experts are concerned about the quality of online education. For example, Mark Smith, the official at the American Association of University Professors, argues that the use of electronic media is not enough for a high level of education, face-to face communication with the teacher is also very important for the development of critical thinking skills. (Slabbert & Mirlea)
The growth of distance learning in the USA
According to the statistical data, distance learning courses are offered by a vast majority of traditional higher education institutions. Distance learning can be used in all the areas of education which includes higher education, home school education, corporate training, military and government educational training programs and so on. About 50 million American employees use distance education for different aspects of training. Many organizations can save millions of dollars if they use distance training programs to teach their employees. (Lamb)
E-LEARNING IN CORPORATIONS
It is known that e-learning is used not only in the schools and universities but also it is successfully used in the corporate world. Most of the corporations in the USA as well as in the other countries of the world use e-learning for communication and training of the employees in order to enhance the value of the employees. The corporate world requires constant improvement in the workforce. It is always necessary to upgrade those employees who work for the company today in the up to date trends.
In order to instruct and train employees it is not necessary to hold seminars which will detract them from their direct duties in the workplace.
E-learning can provide the employees with the appropriate skills what gives the opportunity to make them more “valuable”. E-learning in corporations includes the following solutions:
- i-pods and many others.
The process of e-learning in corporations can be synchronous and asynchronous. The effect of e-learning is great as it is connected with all the requirements in business: training of different departments of the organization, representation of the new product, upgrading the existing employees and so on.
E-learning does not require any travel expenses, hotel expenses and so on. According to the psychological researches, the growth and training of the employees provide positive emotional effects and intensifies job satisfaction. It is also good for motivation of the employees. (Urdan & Weggen)
In conclusion, it is necessary to say that e-learning is one of the most popular ways of getting education because it is convenient and affordable to all. E-learning is much better than traditional ways of education in colleges and universities. It gives an opportunity to spend much time at home or at work. It is the best variant for rural areas. The disadvantages of e-learning are concluded in the requirement of self-discipline. Time management plays an important role in e-learning. The other thing is that some people do not have computer or Internet access what prevents them to use e-learning. However, most people try to move with the times and to use modern technologies. Of course, the intensive development of new technologies makes it possible to increase the number of online students. The result of these progressive methods will be positive because there will be more and more educated people not only in the USA but also in other countries of the world. Online Degree Programs which are offered by practically each educational institution in the USA give a chance to get degree and find a well-paid job in the nearest future.
Cooper, R.T. Soldier by Day, Online Student by Night. Los Angeles Times.(Los Angeles CA). July 10, 2000. Sirs Researcher. Web. 20 June, 2011. Available from:
Lamb, M. A Long-Distance Diploma. Mother Earth News. April, 2009. SIRS Researcher. Web.20 June 2011.
Obringer, L. How E-Learning Works? Howstaffworks.com. Available June 2, 2011 from:<http://people.howstuffworks.com/elearning1.htm>
Pope, J. Web Cam to Eye Test-Takers. Gadsden Times (Gadsden Al). June 19, 2007. n.p. Sirs Researcher. Web.20 June. 2011. Available from:
Slabbert, N. & Mirlea, Saks. Campus on the Keyboard. Christian Science Monitor. February 3, 2008. n.p.SIRS Researcher. Web. June 20, 2011. Available from:
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Urdan, T.A., Weggen, C. Corporate E-Learning: Exploring a New Frontier. WRHambrecht. March 2007. Equity Research.