VijayKumar Shukla

Founder & Managing Member, PartyPurple Private Limited

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Is E-Learning competitive enough if compared to Class Room learning?

With so many modules promoting E Learning / E Studies hitting India and the world, the question is whether this platform will be as beneficial as the old class room method.

  • Jan 19 2012: I have to respectfully disagree with the comments soo far on this thread. I not only believe that edutech will work but it will thrive going into the future. In a world where information can be extracted in a matter of seconds, the old teaching ways are sadly leaving kids behind. Edutech's potential to close this gap is now being realized by companies such as Everonn and Educomp. Although these two companies approach edutech in different ways (everonn supplements the teachers while Educomp complements the teachers), it is the beginning of a model where students can expand the horizons of their learning potentials. Instead of talking about the big bang theory, edutech can show the Big Band Theory and, moreover, put it into PERSPECTIVE. This not only will increase student response but will develop students minds from a young age to think outside the box. The true potential of EduTech does not lie in the teaching aspect rather it is the ability to receive information from the students. Classroom response technology such as "I-Clickers" have the ability to efficiently allocate resources to students who need the help most and monitor their progress. Its safe to say EduTech has arrived and is here to stay...at all levels of education.
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      Jan 25 2012: Few things left unanswered, if E Learning is the next best things then:-
      1) If the Parents are not Educated and not well verse with computers or E-Learning?
      2) Who will monitor the kids and check whether they are making the best use of E Learning?
      3) Cost factor?
      4) Most of the learning's is done through WEB, what about youth getting diverted to some social networking site or any other distraction?
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    Jan 29 2012: Any type of learning is only as beneficial as the participants want it to be. There is no need for different types of education to be competitive. We know that we all learn in different ways, at different times in our lives, for different reasons. So to try to make different types of education feel competitive is simply limiting ourselves. As a person who has never fit in well with "class room learning", I welcome any alternative possibilities for learning, growing and evolving with the life experience:>)
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    Jan 29 2012: Since the topic is E-learning I thought that I'd share some links to some awesome websites for just that.

    http://www.udemy.com here you can find many, many lectures on most subjects and Salman Khan ( http://www.khanacademy.org/ ) has a ton of lectures on not only math but everything that's related to science.

    http://thefacultyproject.com/ seems to be the ambitious project of Udemy to gather the top professors in the world, coming along nicely.

    http://www.academicearth.org/ is a lot like Udemy but with different lectures.

    And I'm really hoping that www.education.ted.com "TED-ED" will come along soon enough!

    Well, that's all I have to say about that ;)
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    Jan 25 2012: Well,I would say that the E-learning process is growing very fast all over the globe,but my intend is that the normal learning in the schools & colleges with the help of a physical tutor will help us in enlarging the overall perspective of learning.
    E-learning should only be a choice but not the option.
  • Jan 29 2012: In the class room, we learn not only the subjects we are supposed to learn, but we also learn other things, such as collaboration, and some life lessons from teachers --in person.
    Sometimes, some unpredictable and unintended factors--the atmosphere of the class room, your teacher's unique way of teaching and education philosophy, and relationships between you and your friends--can affects your learning; however, if you try to learn some lesson from every experience in your class room(learning the hard way!), the Class Room learning can be very useful to you and the experience can make you as a responsible, flexible and competent person.
    On the contrary, E-Learning can be effective, practical, and so useful to your learning since there would be no problem if you stick to the schedule of it--no one will interrupt you and you won't have to worry about any relationship matters.
    But it's in itself still superficial.
    What you learn from it are just bunches of information and not “that” memorable to you.
    Learning from E-learning may be able to make you as a “book-smart”, but it’s not enough.
    I think there's no "best" way to teach students.
    And there's no perfect education philosophy.
    So, in a nutshell, IMHO, Classroom learning trumps E-learning.
    Of course there has to be lots of IMPROVEMENTS in our class room these days,
    but I believe...

    there are more possibilities in the “Class room” if you look around :)
  • Jan 29 2012: Last sentence should be Teacher not teach :)
  • Jan 29 2012: Let us not forget that E-learning can be utilized in a typical classroom setting. Think about the usage of Smart Boards, IPads, clickers for participation, etc. The combined usage of so called "in school" learning along with electronic adaptions are being presented more and more in today's educational systems. A well informed spirited on site Teacher, fellow in person classmates, and the inclusion of E- learning adaptive technologies within a classroom is an ideal learning situation for the masses. Students tend to strive much more in a classroom where there is constructive competition in a learning environment that oversees their skills, needs, and age appropriate materials. A teach in the flesh would be a terrible thing to waste.
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    Jan 29 2012: E Learning must and should revolutionize learning for children if it can figure out who will invigilate to create some un teacher like discipline to create a class and some time table for the e-learning. The invigilator need not be a teacher but must be a facilitator who understands behavior and whose focus is help improve a child's social interaction abilities. This is the big need as families break or parents cease to exist in terms of time available. This teaching is the key missing subjects in schools and i do not believe this should lead to the critique of parents or teachers. This is fact because we have created this new way urban way to live. So what is the role of the current teacher and the school??? I believe the real test and purpose of the teacher and good use for the school building is for every student to go to school for "homework". That Honestly will be the real evaluation of e-learning. Cannot allow a server to do that.
  • Jan 26 2012: E-learning is good but its not all. Any teaching-learning process works better when you use all the channels. To make sure someone learns something well, you must go "audio-visual". Those are the main channels. But the "hands on practice" channel is the cornerstone of any teaching-learning process.
  • Jan 25 2012: Today, more and more day-to-day things are made with internet and when a teenager wants to know something, he doesn't ask to its parents but asks to Google. Internet is part of our source of knowledge, communication and share of information.
    The MIT, for several reasons, experiements a new way to share its courses. It announced one week ago that they intend to launch an online learning initiative called M.I.T.x (in reference to TEDx?),which will offer the online teaching of M.I.T. courses free of charge to anyone in the world. I think that they understand that if someone wants to learn, the school context will not the best place because if we are not interested in the discipline we do not listen. So the E-learning can be a solution to transmit the information.
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    Jan 25 2012: While judging the merits of E-Learning few things that has my concern
    Few things left unanswered, if E Learning is the next best things then:-
    1) If the Parents are not Educated and not well verse with computers or E-Learning?
    2) Who will monitor the kids and check whether they are making the best use of E Learning?
    3) Cost factor?
    4) Most of the learning's is done through WEB, what about youth getting diverted to some social networking site or any other distraction?
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    Jan 21 2012: The UK's Open University has been delivering home study modules leading to BSc and MSc degrees for over 50 years. Initially the teaching was via specially produced TV programmes however, the OU quickly made use of PC's and the Internet to become a world leader in e-learning. Students using this mode of education tend to be older and highly motivated so they compete more with themselves to improve their grades than with their cohort. Contact with other learners tends to be more supportive and collaborative. Both very valid skills for the modern workplace.

    I beleive students benefit from both forms of educational establishment - certainly for young students university life provides more than just an academic education! However, e learning is excellent for updating knowledge or for changing direction later in life.
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    Jan 20 2012: Here's a comparitive study of the pro's and con's of e-learning:

    http://www.elearners.com/guide/faq-glossary/elearning-faq/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-online-education/

    (as well as the other links and studies I posted in previous comments)
    • Jan 29 2012: Simon, this is fantastic information. The degree of efficacy of e-learning is surprising...

      I mean on one hand, it has obvious structural advantages - including ability to provide courses to a far greater range of audiences, as well as allowing students to better move at a rate that is comfortable to them... even small (but significant) things like note taking been a matter of book marking and copy and pasting.

      But it would've been difficult to predict that these sorts of advantages (and more) were of such great efficacy.

      It bodes well for a vision of a future where education is done in a much more virtualized manner. Online discussion forums, youtube videos, khan academy, educationally oriented video games (Civilization is one that is both educational and well recieved by hardcore gaming audiences - so it's not necessary to think 'edutainment')... and of course local community interaction.

      I'm quite fond of the idea of children in reasonable sized groups (30-100 with multiple adult caretakers of course) of multiple ages growing up together in an extended community, while learning at independent rates in a manner that best conforms with their own internal abilities.
  • Jan 20 2012: I don't think it will ever take over from traditional class-room teaching methods, nor do I think it will ever be AS beneficial, but it does have some benefits which may be specific to the type of course, or the subject matter being taught.
    In university I took a quite contentious course called "Science vs Religion" which was held as an online course. Most of our grades were dependent on our active participation in online discussions (much like this). Given the wide range of opinions, views, religions (and the fact that this was just after September 11, 2001), discussions were quite heated. The success of this course really needed it to be in an online format, where anonymity allowed for "good" discussion.
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    Jan 20 2012: Our system is basically the Bismark education system of the 18th century with little changes and it is doing exactly what it was designed to do. Perhaps a defination is in order: education is the passing of culture, knowledge, and practices from one generation to another. Learning is the total of all life experiences including education. E-learning is not bad. I would perfer a combination. A structured course map of individual modules that range from k thru 12 that require you meet prerequisites prior to going to the next module. The student works at his/her rate of learning and completes a competency test to advance to the next module. Students advance academically while remaining with their peers for social development. By remaining in the traditional environment we allow students to take part in the arts, manual trades, sports, and other areas that require interaction and manual dexterity. We still need labs, home ec, and the opportunity to fail and succeed. We need these experiences to grow and develop emotionally. E-learning while building the brain ignores what makes the complete person.
  • Jan 20 2012: When one is looking for an education one shouldnt be looking for competition. One should be looking for growth of oneself and his or her capabilities. Any form of education is great, the idea that one should stick to an education system simply because it will propel you forward faster does not serve the purpose of education. Education has nothing to do with diplomas or grades, they say nothing about the person in all honesty. So I agree will e-education and think anyone who chooses such an option should be considered as qualified as anyone who goes through the "Norm".
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      Jan 23 2012: I, too, was a little perplexed by the idea that learning is somehow a zero-sum game.

      Why should education be competitive?

      Is there an inherent reason why 2 people cannot both be taught the same thing to the same level of proficiency?
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    Jan 19 2012: I think E-learning continues to rise in popularity and the education sector continues to thrive because of it.

    What's interesting is that distance learning is not a new concept. People have been going to college through mail/catalog programs or even taking classes through dedicated television channels and other homeschool models for decades now. Many times, homeschol students out perform public school students (at least in the U.S). E-learning, if anything, has just made those systems more sophisticated, cleaner, and more interactive.

    While I do believe in the power of the classroom (being able to interact is huge), I think the effectiveness of the learning will depend on the individual, the industry that they are interested in, and the academic support they receive.
  • Jan 19 2012: of course no in class room we learn more and more but e learning is easier
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    Jan 19 2012: sounds interesting question..i have seen two point of view about this..as we know technology changing a lot and influenced our life as well. i have two side of this point..

    Firstly if you see from e-learning or e-studies probably we will know technology dominated on it. We didnt use traditional method for learning but digital for example student did must attending class because they can learning lesson at home or everywhere. so we will say e-learning become good method for learning because reduce our time,cost etc.

    Second if we say about old classroom method we will see teacher teaching students in the class, on this point we will see students can make their argument clearly because we meet each other but its not reduce time and some people say its not efficient for some people.

    I have conclusion about two point above whether e-learning or old classrooom its depend which one you need or choose. If you have busy time probably you may choose e-learning its beneficial but if you havent much busy time probably you will choose old classroom.
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    Jan 19 2012: I agree that the intended function of e-learning is met through course work. However, the human interaction, the passion of a subject and the ability to functionally discuss ideas in a rapid method are lost in the electronic environment. E-learning misses the nuances of inflection and body language. Perhaps it is a view associated with age and past history. However, the connection of two people can be lost in the interpretation of the written word.
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    Jan 19 2012: Frontal lessons and training can be achieved with higher efficiency using e-learning platforms, i.e. one-to-many instead of one-to-a-few but that is only the visible part of the iceberg, about 5% of what we learn on campus.
    My experience tells me that even the most elaborate e-learning systems still lack the kind of background social connections, especially between the connected students, the sense of community of intent that make campus learning so powerful.

    Opening access to all knowledge is a massive step forward, especially with respect to efficiency, but it is not a substitue for the quad.. yet. It is true that higher learning is a privilege and may lack industrial "scalability" but it is also true that it is the greatest source of social, cultural and economic progress.
  • Jan 19 2012: The short answer is remote learning for adults: yes. E-learning is training.
    I live in a small town in the desert corridor of northern Mexico, and far away from a medium city, so when a major and prestigious university announced a “virtual university”, I decided it was time for my MBA. The university had just invested in a satellite TV channel. Back then this was the newest technology, and it was expensive. It showed a type of forward thinking that top notch universities are supposed to have.
    There would be about ten of us in a classroom and we would watch a big screen. Five hundred miles away a professor would lecture in front of his live classroom/studio. He would have about 40 local students so he would have facial feedback. Instead of raising our hand we would pick up a phone and call in. Calls were picked up by a number of assistant professors and if they considered it relevant the call would be broadcast live. We would turn in our homework at the local office of the university where twice a week they were sent to the main campus by parcel. We would receive our graded papers in about ten days. The university assigned the best professors to the new system.
    It was fantastic. Then they tried to “fix” it.
    New was not good enough. They wanted newest. And newest meant more computer, less professor. Lecture hours were reduced. Professors were stripped away from their classroom and would attempt to talk to the camera. They started to sound like when you left a message on an answering machine (remember those?) The lessons felt canned. The only reason I finished is because I was already eighty percent into getting my degree, but the education value was lost.
    From my experience, remote learning can be fantastic for adults if it is done right, more so if other options are limited. The system, at least that system, will not work for children. But e-learning will never be an education, only training.
    Update: I am having second thoughts about posting this opinion, since
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    Jan 18 2012: There are aspects of a classroom environment that are extremely difficult to reproduce in an online environment. Laboratory work and other hands-on work are examples. Collaboration also has a very different feeling when people never see each other face to face.
    E-learning most easily replaces a lecture format in which knowldge in dispensed. Building in of a responsive capability, as when students are given problems and can respond online to get immediate feedback, compensates for the passive element, but the mentoring component of teacher-to-student is not there unless that too is built in.
    That said, as an adjunct to classroom instruction and particularly for students of high school age or older, e-learning is a tremendous resource. For a student whose needs cannot realistically be accomodated in a classroom focused on the needs of its average student, e-learning can provide differentiation, often giving vital access to appropriate content.
    E-learning can also in some situations bring students together to exchange ideas who would otherwise be isolated from a diverse but like-minded or like-interested peer group. So e-learning provides access in a situation in which the classroom version is not an option.
  • Jan 18 2012: It worked well for a number of my studies.
    I could begin, end and take my exams whenever I wanted and the cost was less than 10% of traditional education, yet I still received valid certificates that were just as viable as any certificate in any college/university and school.

    It may not be exactly on topic, but such positives can significantly outweigh the disadvantages for a number of subjects.
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    Jan 18 2012: E-Learning takes some serious initiative by the student his/herself. Many parents feel as if they can force that initiative upon their children by providing rewards, etc,

    ..but sitting in front of a computer today and attempting to E-Learn with all of the technological distractions related to the internet available to a teenager proves to be difficult to manage.

    The E-Learning platform is revolutionary in bringing education as close as a mouse click to people; however the environment that a class-room brings, with interactions between other students as well as teachers, is all a part of the educational process. I feel as if E-Learning is a good substitute, but it is not as sterling as the time-tested classroom education.
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      Jan 20 2012: Hi Martin,

      While I definitely believe in the social benefits of the classroom, all recent data proves otherwise - e-learning and homebased systems continue to show greater results than the traditional classroom model. Perhaps it is more indicative of problems with our education system and less to do with the learning method, but I was surprised when looking at the data itself (I linked/quoted several reports in a comment below).
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        Jan 26 2012: Simon,
        Please excused my delayed reply, unfortunately I can't discuss things on TED all the time as I am so busy lately! (I wish I could, though..)

        I had no idea that such data existed! That's quite refreshing. I suppose that I am viewing E-Learning through an American scope, and mirror-imaging our awful home-schooling system onto any other people's attempts.
        With that said, I would like to see how E-Learning continues to blossom as classroom-learning will no doubt travel it's same and beaten path.

        One comparison would be a popular state college such as Ohio State University versus the University of Phoenix: If the CEO of a large company had to hire a new VP of communications, and found two candidates of equal standing in career path and experience, but one was an OSU graduate and the other a U of Phoenix graduate, I still think that said CEO would choose the OSU graduate (for now, atleast. Perhaps as time passes, this will change?).
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          Jan 26 2012: I can understand the feeling of accredidation and reputation; one of my degrees is from University of Phoenix (from their campus, not online, though manya ren't even aware that is an option). I think times are changing - chances are that in upper level management, there isn't really an "equal" standing and that at that point, they'd be more likely to hire based on experience, personality, or network over the school - but as you point out, at least in the U.S, there's still a little aversion to distance learning programs.
  • Jan 18 2012: E-Learning is a great concept but there is nothing that really compares to the learning environment that as the old class room method. Children especially, with all the high tech ways of learning actually miss out on interaction with other children. Children, I feel need an environment to learn in, I don't feel that putting them in front of a TV or computer is the ideal way to learn. Learning for all of us involves learning about others and how we talk and interact with each other. This is something that e-learning cannot do. Long live the old class room method I say.
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      Jan 19 2012: In 1997, a study of 5,402 homeschool students from 1,657 families was released. It was entitled, "Strengths of Their Own: Home Schoolers Across America." The study demonstrated that homeschoolers, on the average, out-performed their counterparts in the public schools by 30 to 37 percentile points in all subjects.

      In 2000, a similiar study was done on distance learning studies versus on campus students. Again, the at home/distance learning students had better grades, performed better on tests. (src: http://perspectives.ahima.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=113:evaluating-distance-learning-in-health-informatics-education&catid=38:education-a-careers&Itemid=84)

      The National Center for Education Statistic also has confirmed the same information....that children perform better outside of the classroom.
      • Jan 20 2012: Yes they might learn well etc but are they able to interact with others. Learning in a classroom is just not about maths, english etc, it is also about being able to interact with others, learn social skills etc. That is what e-learning misses out on.
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          Jan 20 2012: Intercation is not limited to the classroom; many of thsoe involved with homeschool or distance learning get a balance by getting more involved with their community, local organizations, and family.

          The negative sides to e-learning (at least from a study done in Sri Lanka) had to do with low inrastructure, lack of skills in programs like Moodle, and learning styles for certain areas. Their ultimate recommendation was to do a "blend" style that most e-degree programs offer/require anyway (both on campus as well as distance modles), (see "Study on Impact of E-Learning as a Teaching Method" from Nalin Abeysekra for the data)

          Intel also did a massive global study on it and found the positive impact to society and students: http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/world-ahead/world-ahead-positive-impact-of-elearning-paper.html

          What information are you basing your claims on?
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      Jan 21 2012: Ellie, to add to what you said: what is missing from e learning is the bouncing off of each others ideas, which usually result in some major "ah ha"'s in the classroom. We all come from different backgrounds and we miss the excitement of trying out new ideas, concepts, points of view. A discourse is not generated in e learning that creates this excitement. E learning lacks the spontaneity that makes classroom learning fun! Allow the student to learn from their experiential base. For instance, teaching history, I allowed my students to choose HOW they wanted to learn History or a period in history. I really saw the lights come on. "You mean I can learn history through Art, Poetry, Theater?... let the kids choose. It is amazing what they will come up with given some latitude.