With the progression of technology and devices becoming more affordable, there has been a significant increase in the amount of people that own and utilise different technological devices. Accessing the internet has become easier than ever with just a few clicks from a smartphone or tablet. Whilst the internet has had an impact on several things such as our television viewing habits or banking, it has also significantly impacted education.
It began with institutions slowly introducing and utilising the internet as part of their teaching processes, whether that was through recommending and sharing relevant articles or asking students to watch a video of a debate. This proved to be a great means of facilitating learning and therefore the internet quickly became central to the teaching process. This inevitably resulted in the introduction of e-learning.
Countless courses and resources are now available to students online, providing them with the option of pursuing education online. This has been revolutionary by making higher education more accessible, whilst retaining its quality. E-learning differs from traditional education by being based solely online, therefore not requiring students to attend physical classes. With the accessibility of several devices, it not only makes it easier to learn but also caters to the new generation of young adults that have grown accustomed to using technology to carry out tasks.
Institutions have also found it to be a more cost-effective approach by requiring less commitment from instructors through not having to teach in a classroom everyday. Some students have also found e-learning to be a more interactive approach through elements such as peer-grading. This is when students are able to mark each other’s work, which not only means that there is no requirement from the instructor to complete this task, but also that students are interacting with each other in the same way that they would in a classroom.
Things such as virtual software are already utilised in traditional education for accessing modular information online or posting content that students may find helpful. This aids the learning process by making it easier for students to catch up on work that they may have missed or to find more resources that can help their understanding of subjects.
E-learning is also presented as a more supportive approach to education with the availability of online communities and social media platforms. Therefore, the perception of online learning as a solitary experience no longer holds validity. With assignments already being submitted online, it demonstrates just how everything is quickly becoming digitalised. The internet will continue to take precedence and slowly replace facets of regular education due to being more cost-effective and relieving institutions of more responsibility.
With its integration into regular education and full degrees being made available online, it is evident that the internet has changed the face of education. As society becomes more dependent on technology, the way that we absorb information will continue to shift and therefore education must be flexible and adapt with it.
ESOL stands for ‘English for speakers of other languages’ and is a popular course that is taken to improve the lives of people that do not natively speak the language. An ESOL course is often perceived as more than just an education because it can help with people’s quality of life and their ability to carry out everyday tasks. With English being one of the most widely spoken languages, there are countless advantages to taking an online ESOL English course.
What does an ESOL course teach?
An ESOL course will provide you with the essential language skills that you will need to be able to properly communicate in English. Through covering areas such as grammar and punctuation, writing and reading, and speaking and listening, you will develop a better understanding of the English language. By taking an ESOL English course, you will be able to fully interact with people in your everyday life, whether that is when going to the supermarket or sorting out your banking. The communication barrier can often make things difficult, leading to misunderstandings. Therefore, an online English course can help to alleviate this by making your life easier whilst creating more opportunities for your future.
English language courses can make the difference between whether or not someone is able to acquire a job and therefore can lead to you being able to quickly obtain work. Pursuing the course not only demonstrates that you are determined enough to go out of your way to learn a skill but also that you are committed and will see things through. These are valuable skills that employers look for and therefore an online ESOL English course can also benefit you financially.
Why should you take the course online?
The online ESOL English course is often the preferred route due to it being able to be taken in a student’s own environment, therefore making the course less daunting. In a classroom setting, it can be slightly intimidating and you can feel pressured to quickly provide answers. However, learning online means that you can understand things slowly without any additional external pressure. This will also ensure that you are being instilled with confidence and making the best progress by maximising your potential.
You can learn at your own pace whilst still taking part in online discussion which can help to improve your writing skills. Online learning also allows you to ease the process by learning from your own home, ensuring that you are in a comforting environment and therefore more inclined to understand information. The classroom setting itself does not always work for everyone and so it is important that you are in an environment where you are relaxed and able to absorb the things that you are learning. Social media makes it possible for you to still maintain interaction without it disrupting your learning and therefore the online route is often recommended.
The power of language can sometimes be underestimated, however being able to communicate and convey your thoughts and ideas is integral to survival. Miscommunication creates space for error and therefore taking an ESOL course opens the pathway to success.
With conventional education becoming more demanding and an array of online learning courses now being made available, more and more students are opting for the route of e-learning. In contrast to a regular education, this route is often presented as a more flexible and viable option due to not being confined to a classroom or timetable. However, online learning is still a commitment to education and requires you to possess certain characteristics in order to ensure the best results.
Which characteristics should you have to be a good online learner?
- Self-motivation. Without the constant presence of teachers or your peers, there is often nobody around to motivate you or ensure that you are on schedule. Online learning requires you to co-ordinate your own time and therefore means that you need to be self-disciplined enough to adhere to your schedule. It can be easy to fall behind if you are not consistently motivated. You need to be setting goals and ensuring that you are planning your time wisely. You are accountable for your time and therefore must be self-motivated.
- Be focused. Whilst online learning allows you to choose and work in your own environment, you are not in an educational setting which can often make it difficult for your mind to remain focused or feel as if it is ready to work. This can quickly lead to procrastination or becoming distracted. Therefore, you need to ensure that you are focused and determined enough not to give in to distractions. It also means that you need to create a work environment and maintain concentration.
- Good reading and writing skills. Traditional education heavily relies on classroom discussion and student participation to explain and understand concepts and ideas. However, with online learning courses, students will be communicating through email or discussion boards. Instead of being able to ask questions in class, you will have to convey your thought process in text. Therefore, it is essential to be able to write to deliver your ideas and questions because this is going to be your main source of communication. Online learning also relies on students learning concepts through reading and it is therefore crucial to be able to obtain and understand information from text.
How will online learning benefit you?
Aside from convenience and being more suitable for your lifestyle, online learning also has many other advantages such as not restricting you to institutions within your geographic location. It also allows you to choose when you are going to study and therefore makes it possible to prioritise.
Learning can also be more effective, for example through teaching yourself concepts, you are more likely to both absorb and retain information. Therefore, when later reading material, your mind will make the association between the concepts that you may have taught yourself earlier. In fact, teaching yourself allows you to learn at your own pace and not move on until you are satisfied with your comprehension. In traditional education, teachers are often explaining to an entire class and there is no time to ensure that each student has developed the full understanding required. Therefore, with online learning you are able to grasp content and therefore excel in assignments and exams.
Online learning is the way forward, and although it may require certain characteristics to succeed, it is still more customisable than traditional education and will therefore continue to increase in popularity.
With online courses gaining precedence, more institutions are incorporating them into the teaching and are realising the impact and weight that this route of education can have. In fact, there has been a rise in the amount of universities and schools that are now offering online learning with more and more students choosing to enrol for these courses each year.
Online learning from the UK provides institutions with tangible results in order to measure their outcomes. Through this, they are able to distinguish an increase in revenue from online courses which is a great incentive for them to continue providing them. Whilst institutions place students at the forefront of their teaching, they are essentially still concerned about costing and the profit that they are making from courses. The future will see more institutions focusing on providing an online education because it has proven to be a viable route that is worth investing in. There will also be an increase in schools that solely provide an online education such as the Online Business School. However, some universities are finding that they are struggling with trying to provide and integrate online learning into the education that they already provide without hindering its quality and potential.
The Council of Independent Colleges and the Learning House carried out a survey of chief academic offices in which they found that faculties often act as a barrier to converting to online learning, due to their lack of acceptance. Where teachers are accustomed to standing in front of a class and projecting information, it can often be difficult to integrate new methods and concepts into their teaching. Therefore, some institutions find that it is often challenging for faculty staff to willingly participate in integrating online learning into existing courses or support the idea of courses being solely taught online.
Many institutions already offer distance-learning degrees or integrate e-learning into their teaching. However, taking the step to commit to a full online course can seem daunting and some universities are still questioning its legitimacy.
A benefit of providing an online education is that it opens up the university internationally. Although international students contribute to a large percentage of the student count at universities, online education provides students abroad with access to the university without having to commit to moving to the UK. This not only means that institutions can accommodate more students but also that these students are able to participate in online learning from the UK. The availability of online courses also allows institutions to cater to more students whilst still ensuring that they are gaining a significant revenue. It creates opportunity for them to offer more varied courses whilst also building a network of global connections. Some universities already have campuses abroad, however providing online courses can allow them to have more visibility.
As the job market also continues to become competitive, more individuals are focused on self-development. Therefore, online education caters to working professionals and many organisations already provide online training to the employees with certifications for software such as Google Adwords and Analytics being provided online. Online business schools are gaining more traffic from people that are already educated and are looking to develop and broaden their skillset, therefore e-learning appears to a wider audience and is often the preferred route.
Due to its recognition and credibility, more institutions will eventually begin to move to providing an online education whether that is through integrating it into pre-existing courses or by introducing new ones entirely. Although it may have to be a case of trial and error for some, online learning is already growing in popularity for countless institutions and is resulting in a large revenue being earned.
From writing on a chalkboard to learning from behind a screen, the face of education has rapidly evolved. With technology quickly becoming heavily involved in our everyday activities such as when making payments or checking the weather, its use in learning has slowly been implemented into traditional education and has revolutionised the way that students are being taught. In fact, it is now possible to gain and study for an entire university degree online.
How has learning changed?
It could be argued that traditional education has always been presented in a concrete form whereby a teacher is likely to stand and recite information that the student is expected to understand and remember. However, with the development of technology and the internet, education is now being offered in a more appealing and digestible form. Below are a few of the ways in which online learning has changed and helped to evolve education.
- E-learning caters to all learning styles. Through using virtual tools, whether that is showing a video in a classroom to explain a concept or participating in an online quiz, students are more likely to remember information and engage with the things that they are being taught. E-learning allows schools to accommodate different learning styles through its various teaching methods, leading to students producing better results whilst also retaining information once they have completed the course. When everyone learns in different ways, courses need to be tailored for students which is something that traditional education has not previously allowed.
- Appeals to a wider audience.With the job market becoming more competitive, there is more pressure on employees to remain focused on self-development. However, they are not able to commit to attending a university class whilst working a full-time job, therefore online learning presents them with the opportunity to learn without it impacting them in the workplace. E-learning makes education accessible to everyone whether that is a mother with children or people that are in circumstances that do not allow them to attend classes every day.
- Offers flexibility. Traditional education has always consisted of having to be present in class everyday with the risk of falling behind if unable to attend. However, e-learning makes it possible to both learn in your own space whilst co-ordinating your own schedule. This can often be revolutionary for many people that may be balancing several commitments as discussed above. However, it also means that individuals can be more productive by learning from anywhere, whether that is on their commute to work or when travelling to another country.
It is not only teaching through an online platform that has enhanced education, but also the learning process and experience which has become a more appealing way of gaining a qualification. When society is already so accustomed to relying on technological devices to look up information, e-learning acts as the next step and therefore opens up the pathway to a more educated and well-informed society. The internet is a pool of resources and with a majority of books now available in electronic form, it has vastly improved the accessibility of information. This again contributes to e-learning and allows students to read and seek relevant material without having to leave their home.
Future of online learning
Online learning degree makes education accessible whilst also presenting it as something that is achievable by individuals that may have found that they do not work best in a classroom setting. It also makes information and courses more readily available with things such as MOOCs increasing in popularity.
With the e-learning market continuing to grow in worth, things such as virtual technologies and mobile learning are gaining precedence and will vastly be incorporated into traditional education. As institutions are already utilising virtual platforms and finding them to be a more cost-effective route, it is evident that education will quickly become digitalised. Through changing the way that people are gaining an education, it not only ensures that everyone has access to education but also impacts the economy whereby people will continue to self-develop and therefore gain more skills.
Overall, with the quick implementation of technology into learning, the future of education is online.