It was a horribly rainy day. My two young daughters were bored, and I had an assignment due for an online class I was taking. It was obvious that naptime wasn’t going to happen anytime soon so I did what any responsible parent would do. I packed up my laptop and children and went to the nearest fast food restaurant that had both an indoor play area and free WiFi. It gave the girls a chance to run around and play with other kids while I was able to get my assignment in well before the evening deadline.
I don’t envy teachers who try to keep their pupils on task inside a traditional classroom setting, regardless of their students’ ages. That’s one of the things that makes eLearning such a great addition to the many ways students can learn in the modern world. Spanish essayist and poet George Santayana once said, “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.” This is true if the child is just beginning their education or a student returning to school with the goal of obtaining a college degree.
Take It Outside (the Classroom)
Learning beyond the traditional classroom setting has so many benefits, that they’re almost too many to list! Here are some things that eLearning provides to students. Even if you’re a college student taking online classes going to a place with WiFi, like the library or a coffee shop, can rejuvenate your energy where your education is concerned. Here are some other benefits.
- Improved attendance – Did you know that eLearning motivates people to attend classes? Because I already use Google calendar for family and work, whenever I’m taking a class I add them in as a new event and then set reminders of when the classes take place so I don’t forget.
- Higher grades – Because eLearning takes place over the internet, it’s easier to find other classmates when you have a question or just need a study buddy. This gives students a better opportunity to have assignments prepared and ready to turn in on time.
- Healthier students – Because you’re not cooped up in a classroom all day, you can learn from anywhere that has a WiFi connection with your laptop or other internet-read mobile device. One fellow blogger lives somewhere that offers free WiFi anywhere within town limits. Whether she’s at the dog park with her puppy or having a hot dog at her favorite deli, she can log in, check email, and do anything else online that she could do from her home.
- Better resources – When learning takes place over a computer, resources are as broad as the World Wide Web. Gone are the days of being limited to a dictionary, thesaurus, and set of library encyclopedias that may or may not be complete, much less up to date. Students who attend classes online through places like a college for game design especially benefit from having open ended resources.
- Environmentally friendlier – Because nobody’s driving to and from school and less paper resources are being used, online learning is more environmentally friendly than traditional classroom settings. This mindset is even flowing over into K-12 grades through online public schools, home schooling, and “green” schools. For instance, Provost Academy Colorado is an example of one public high school that is fully online and has taken steps to eliminate as much paper waste as possible.
Challenges Associated with eLearning
As with all things, eLearning presents certain challenges. Students and instructors must know the basics of using a computer or other internet-friendly device to attend classes. It also helps to have good communication skills. Because students are left to set their own schedules aside from when the classes take place, they must have the dedication to complete assignments while working at their own pace, and not wait until the last minute to try to rush to meet a deadline.
I’m sure that by the time my daughters are old enough to attend college technology will be even more amazing than what’s offered today. Who knows, they could even use some fancy gadget to learn via a hologram instructor or teleport to school and back. While I’m not quite ready to hear “Beam me up Mommy, I’m done with my lessons for today” I am excited to see what the future has to offer. If current technology is anything to go by, it can only keep getting better and better!
Freelance author Ashley Monroe loves that her career allows her to take every available opportunity to learn new things, whether it’s interviewing a video games designer for an upcoming article for www.animationarena.com or trying out a new recipe that uses organic ingredients. When she isn’t working she prefers spending time with her family which includes her husband, their two young daughters, and the family’s beloved pet, a golden retriever. In her free time Ashley relaxes with activities such as meditative yoga techniques.