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E-Learning: Advantages & Disadvantages

E-learning, in a nutshell, improves the way we transfer information to learners. It provides a more comprehensive source of information and makes learning more convenient in terms of relative discourse and cost for both money and time.

We are now in a technology driven environment whether we like it or not. The new generation are now exposed and engaged in various form of media that both serves positive and negative effects in the social norms. However, the positive effects & benefits of technology outweigh the negative.

In education, an alternative form, away from the traditional methods of teaching and learning is now substantiated by e-learning.

Advantages and disadvantages

Motivation

There are several advantages and disadvantages with regards to motivation in e-learning.

For many students, e-learning is the most convenient way to pursue a degree in higher education. A lot of these students are attracted to a flexible, self-paced method of education to attain their degree. It is important to note that many of these students could be working their way through college, supporting themselves or battling with serious illness. To these students, it would be extremely difficult to find time to fit college in their schedule. Thus, these students are more likely and more motivated to enroll in an e-learning class. Moreover, in asynchronous e-learning classes, students are free to log on and complete work any time they wish. They can work on and complete their assignments at the times when they think most cogently, whether it be early in the morning or late at night.

However, many teachers have a harder time keeping their students engaged in an e-learning class. A disengaged student is usually an unmotivated student, and an engaged student is a motivated student. One reason why students are more likely to be disengaged is that the lack of face-to-face contact makes it difficult for teachers to read their students' nonverbal cues, including confusion, boredom or frustration. These cues are helpful to a teacher in deciding whether to speed up, introduce new material, slow down or explain a concept in a different way. If a student is confused, bored or frustrated, he or she is unlikely to be motivated to succeed in that class.

Other advantages and disadvantages

Key advantages of e-learning include:

·  Improved open access to education, including access to full degree programs

· Better integration for non-full-time students, particularly in continuing education,

· Improved interactions between students and instructors,

· Provision of tools to enable students to independently solve problems,

· Acquisition of technological skills through practice with tools and computers.

· No age-based restrictions on difficulty level, i.e. students can go at their own pace.

Key disadvantages of e-learning, that have been found to make learning less effective than traditional class room settings, include:

· Ease of cheating,

· Bias towards tech-savvy students over non-technical students,

· Teachers' lack of knowledge and experience to manage virtual teacher-student interaction,

· Lack of social interaction between teacher and students,

· Lack of direct and immediate feedback from teachers,

· Asynchronic communication hinders fast exchange of question,

 · Danger of procrastination.

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