The world of online learning has transformed many industries and given access to so many new people who need alternative methods of training and education. This might be because they are a single parent, starting a new career or starting a job that requires new skillsets or different job training – usually while working.
The benefits of online training can be huge for so many but, not everyone. Some prefer the interpersonal learning style of a traditional classroom. However, the unprecedented global pandemic caused by Covid-19 has forced the issue of digitisation for even the most sceptical traditionalists.
Since its invention, the knowledge economy, has been evolving with the Internet since the 80s and digital learning platforms alongside them. Thanks to the access to modern information, resources, apps and tools at our disposal, readjusting to remote work and online learning was a relatively short and painless process for many organisations.
Thousands of new technology and digital companies have emerged out of this vital and thriving digital landscape that is transforming itself almost daily. Companies which had physical business offerings and in-office work and training needed to reinvent themselves.
eLearning and online job training, in all its forms, are systems based on the Internet and are intended to be done remotely via a digital device. This can take the form of interactive text, eLearning videos, animated content, online activities, games, virtual classes and training sessions, and new ideas are coming to digital life every day.
Some Pros of Online Learning
Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of online learning platforms and of the companies that build these complex and exciting digital interfaces that we use to learn and train. The versatility of digital mediums has helped create more adaptable and flexible learning systems and opportunities for anyone with internet access.
Online training can take place anywhere and at any time, as long as you have your device and an internet connection. By managing your own time, you can train, learn or practise in a way that suits you. New educational opportunities and learning possibilities are made accessible through eLearning that are not available in a traditional classroom structure.
The combination of text, graphics, video and interfacing offer multiple, possible iterations of the same material, giving learners of the same courses the opportunity to personalise their learning and design the perfect digital learning environment for them.
Broadly speaking, digitising classes and training programmes will help individuals and companies stay adaptable while dictating their own pace yet, the Covid-19 pandemic has made it a seemingly invaluable priority. Not only does online training and digital learning give working people, parents and full-time students a chance to learn around their schedule, it gives online learners the chance to cover niche subject matter that traditional systems may overlook.
Blended learning is the combination of traditional, face-to-face learning and digital or online learning. Most training and schooling already use blended learning programmes to some extent. Internet research after a lecture and PowerPoint presentations or virtual classrooms and discussion forums are blending online and in-person methods to create new, interesting ways to impart knowledge and embed training.
Some Cons of Online Learning
As with any emerging social systems or new technologies, eLearning does have some shortcomings to navigate. The most glaring limitation is the lack of accreditation across digital platforms and the potential difficulty in verifying whether a training or its facilitators are reliable or not. The quality of courses can be questionable, creating distrust across different online learning platforms and institutions.
There can also be technical issues arising from software complications like apps, websites, files or internet access and from hardware like a computer, phone, tablet or eReader. This is a common barrier to entry for digital training and learning where many have felt overwhelmed by the extent of information, options and complicated computer stuff.
Obviously, some may find the lack of interaction and back-and-forth of a traditional class setting jarring. Many online learners miss the feedback and support systems associated with a face-to-face learning experience. While others may find the self-management, self-motivation and self-reliance required to organise your own learning a difficult hurdle to overcome.
A normal classroom setting or on-the-job training can offer individuals the opportunity to exchange ideas and ask questions of instructors and managers that cannot be replicated by online learning environments (yet). Having direct interactions with the person educating you is obviously very beneficial.
For younger learners and trainees, this may be more beneficial than for older ones – who may want to take more instructive control. A classroom environment can be stifling to certain personalities and working professionals are usually uninterested in competing for attention in any learning situation.
Is One Better Than the Other?
Thanks to the ongoing pandemic, we have seen the digital work space thrive and that includes the learning and training possibilities online, too. However, the pandemic will end and face-to-face interactions, groupings and meetings will resume and traditional learning and job training will be available again.
For those who wish to return to that normalcy, the opportunity will arrive soon but, for those who have been exposed to the incredible potential of online learning and training, they may just want to remain in the digital classroom for a little longer.