Is e-learning an effective means of learning?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Is e-learning an effective means of learning?

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An overwhelming majority of teachers agreed that e-learning is effective and why wouldn't it be? Basically, learning occurs when material is presented to students in a manner they can comprehend. When the lesson is engaging or interesting then they are more apt to pay attention and learn more. Teachers often think of inventive ways to present course material for the exact same reason. Learning electronically is no different. As long as the subject is made interesting, students will learn.

E-learning also allows students to move through course material at their own pace. Traditional classroom teaching doesn't usually allow the same level of freedom. Combine this with the fact that most children are enamoured with all things technological and you've created a recipe made for success. For some subjects, computer software can make learning into a game. In most cases this is aimed at younger students in an effort to further engage them in the learning process.

What e-learning lacks is the ability to identify problem areas for the student. Teachers have always been able to see these gaps in learning and address them with the student. Whether the subject matter needs to be explained in a different way or the student just needs some extra time spent going over concepts, teachers can provide this much needed support. Computers don't have any idea whether a student is struggling. There are certainly ways to self-test using technology but if a student doesn't understand, the computer can only present the material in the same format it has been programmed to do. It's rather like speaking in an exaggeratedly loud voice to someone who doesn't understand English. Speaking slowly and loudly doesn't make someone understand you any better. The computer presenting the information in exactly the same format that the student didn't understand doesn't help at all.

E-learning definitely has its place in today's educational system. However, once concepts are delivered we rely on the teachers to ensure that the material is understood and built upon. If information is the building blocks, then teachers provide the mortar to hold the whole thing together.