Ever wanted to study a topic that was not offered in your school or college? Or a topic that is beyond the spectrum of your subject? The answer is, “Yes, you can”! Welcome to the world of e-learning, which gives everybody the chance to explore topics beyond their horizons and gain more insight into a specific area of interest. The use of technology such as, audio, animation, text, streaming videos, for educational purpose is termed as E-learning. Online learning can be undertaken individually or under the supervision of an instructor. The two main options of E-learning for high school students are E-learning using available web resources and Massive Open Online Courses. Let us consider them both.
E-learning using web resources:
Several websites can help students enhance their learning alongside high school learning programs. One such website, for instance, is MIT’s E-learning initiative that offers benefits on a huge variety of educational subjects to both current university students as well as working professionals. The tutorials and online resources complement schoolwork, allowing students to explore classroom topics at their own pace in greater depth and the tutorials can be used to strengthen their understanding of a subject. They can also move beyond their curriculum to discover and explore topics of interest. A Learning, which happens through interaction and visual means is enriching and enhances interest and retention.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs):
Some of the popular MOOCs offered today have been started by the best universities in the world, offering free courses from their institutes. Platforms and initiatives such as Udacity by the Stanford University and EdX by Harvard and MIT, allows top universities and professors to share their information with the world and give a student sitting in different corner of the globe, a chance to study something they are passionate about. For instance, Priya Sinha, a fifteen year old student studying in the Delhi Public School in Vasant Kunj, has taken many E-learning courses ranging from design and poetry, reasoning, and music; she enrolled in her first E-learning course when she was in the 8th grade. When asked why, Sinha replied swiftly, “Because this learning is a great supplement to the limited learning that happens in school”.
She points out that, besides giving her an idea as to what she could pursue in college in the future, these programs also opened up her mind to new fields. Although, most of these are college-level courses, anyone is free to register for them and participate. This helps students understand what they can expect out of coursework in college, and specifically, from a course they are interested in pursuing. As with any field of interest, e-learning carries both advantages as well as certain disadvantages, therefore, let’s discuss both in detail.
Here are the E-learning advantages and disadvantages:
Advantages of E-learning courses:
- You can supplement your high-school knowledge by taking college-level courses and take the liberty of pursuing a course that you are really zealous about.
- You have the option of selecting courses that you are interested in, even if these subjects are out of the domain of your curriculum. For instance, you may be studying a science course in high school, however, an online course allows you the independence of taking a course in English poetry from Wordsworth to Eliot!
- These courses enable a person to study something about which they are passionate. The discussion board and group chats, offered on E-learning platforms, are advantageous as they lead to interactive learning and provide more a detailed outlook of a particular aspect of the subject.
- There are a variety of activities and assignments to complete within the courses that can enhance one’s knowledge.
- It prepares you for how college will be in terms of severity and structure.
- You can test your competence in a certain area to be ascertain of your interest in the course and whether if you want to take it up in college or not.
- You gain a sense of confidence and awareness by taking these courses as they are chosen by you.
Disadvantages of E-learning Courses:
- E-learning courses are particularly disadvantageous for those who lack motivational skills or suffer from bad study habits.
- Sometimes, the lack of a routine structure and deadlines, a student may be prey to lack of concentration.
- Also, the student feels isolated and cannot interact with their peers.
- An e-learner won’t find anyone to compete with to test their actual progress.
- It is practically impossible to replicate the effects of hands on training with a virtual classroom based study model.
- For some, less tech savvy students, shuffling between various online tools may be an arduous task.