E-Learning in schools

E-Learning in schools

The concept of e-learning refers to a type of learning where students take professional and /or educational courses without having to be in class physically. E-learning is an information technology tool that is widely integrated in many university education programs today. The change in traditional ways of ;learning to an electronic atmosphere has evolved over a long time and can be traced back to the popularization of personal computers in 1977 by Apple. This decision, coupled with IBM’s introduction of personal computers in 1981 made computers cheaper and easier to use in both business and personal settings. It is from these developments that computers gained prominence in governmental, business and industrial uses (Brandstrom, pp 26).

In 1982, the Advanced Research Project Agency funded a program that linked computer networks in several research institutions. The program, ARPANET was later converted into TCP/IP protocol thus enabling a connection of different networks across the world. Later, in 1989, an English computer scientist by the name Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web that is in common use today. The incidence of advanced technology has enabled the transfer from a traditional learning environment to the more developed e-learning concept (Kennedy, pp 54). So important is the new concept that it is now almost impossible to engage students in higher learning institutions without using the concept.

Traditionally, teaching was largely conducted through learning whether in kindergartens, primary, secondary or even colleges. While this method of teaching has its advantages, it is the drawbacks of the same that necessitated the advent of e-learning as a teaching concept. Indeed, the traditional method of learning is undergoing a radical and thorough process of transformation (Kilimci, pp 35). Today, learning is not restricted to classroom settings where a tutor dictates notes to students and the style of teaching influences the outcome of the learning process. Unlike in the past, today’s learning is dependent on not how students are taught but on what they are taught. Despite these developments, e-learning has much of its scopes built up from the basics of traditional learning. It cannot, therefore be deemed as a total replacement of the former style of learning but an improvement of the same (Kennedy, pp 27). For instance, the success of e-learning is dependent on students’ access to tutors thus facilitating the process of asking questions. E-learning is thus a new platform of learning that must be anchored around the basic principles of traditional learning.

The use of e-learning is a progress from the past and can be seen to have solved some of the weaknesses of past traditional learning methods. Brandstrom (pp 46) argues that the main weakness of traditional learning is that the performance of the students is in part determined by the number of students. Indeed, several researchers have confirmed the influence of teacher-students ratio in the overall student performance (Urbanowicz, pp 94). In the use of e-learning, however, the ratio has no direct influence on the learning outcome of individual students. Today, reducing the class size has similar effects to increasing the number of students in terms of their overall performance. Moreover, e-learning ensures the smooth and steady flow of information from the tutors to the students even when they are not physically present. The benefit of having such a setting is that it demystifies the learning process making it a continuous one with no strict timelines. As thus, teachers can get in touch with their students at any time of the day unlike in the past when lectures were held at fixed times (Rosenberg, pp 38). In addition, the e-learning platform provides an important channel of relaying feedback for the students thus facilitating the process of discussion.

From the onset, evolution of the information technology sphere as well as the development of the internet changed the manner in which people accessed information. As early as 1991, Garrison (pp 71) proffers, electronic mail as well as the use of information technology affected the conduct of personal and business affairs. Concurrently, the last two decades have witnessed increased surges in the adoption of advanced technology in institutions of learning. Today, the use of advanced technology in learning has reached levels never witnessed before in history. Through the use of e-learning, institutions in the education sector can comfortably and effectively relay the right information to students thus guaranteeing the success of the learning process (Bates, pp 42). Indeed, schools are almost entirely dependent on e-learning in the administration of tests and assessment of students. The high uptake of the concept of e-learning across the different levels of education is testament of the increased role of the concept in education.

The use of e-learning is however, not merely limited to the process of learning and the relaying of information across the many users. Rather, it is also used in the handling of student affairs to provide easier access to student information. Most institutions have a department that caters for the needs of the students through effective records management. Today, schools have better electronic records of the students as well as course catalogues, student registry and online career development (Bates, pp 39). Further, it is common to come across schools with electronic enrolment thus facilitating faster and accurate delivery of services to the students. Indeed, years of information technology evolution have witnessed increased proficiency in the use of technology to serve the needs of different set groups. The education sector has been one of the most revolutionized in terms of the concepts of advanced technology. E-learning is one of the beauties of these developments and is almost certain of a long term usage among the different education levels. The uniformity with which the concept has been adopted regardless of the education level is a manifestation of the important role it plays in the administration of education (Rosenberg, pp 58).

The increase in the number of people yearning for education opportunities is a leading cause of the uptake of the e-learning concept in schools. With an ever increasing population, the number of students is certainly on a gradual increase thus leading to a demand for the concept. Indeed, the world is experiencing changes in education environments as universities embark on reaching more students. Today, higher education is not a reserve for a few people owing to the proliferation of institutions of higher learning. Consequently, higher learning is as basic as primary school learning in today’s world of education (Urbanowicz, pp 89). The increase in interest towards higher learning has widened the scope of students to include those that are engaged in marriages and employment. In addition, some students live far way from institutions of learning thus facilitating the need for e-learning otherwise known as distance learning. With the above set conditions, the need for a new learning method that incorporates the various needs of different students. In these circumstances, e-learning provides an ideal solution by making learning a flexible process (Kilimci, pp 61).

The concept of e-learning has gained prominence over the last three decades and is one of the most popular methods of learning. The high uptake of information technology among young people and students is one of the reasons for the popularity of the e-learning concept (Garrison, pp 47). Today, students are much moiré inclined to prefer soft copy notes as opposed to having them dictated as they write them manually. The main advantage of using e-learning in education is the fact that students can access programs at any time of the day and in any location thus making the process of learning highly flexible. That is not to say that it has no weaknesses however as evidenced through the many poorly designed courses. In fact, e-learning has occasionally been blamed for the lack of originality in research papers among students (Kennedy, pp 60). Also, most of the e-learning programs are nothing more than electronic versions of paper-based materials.

The benefit of having e-learning in schools is that it shifts focus away from the traditional instructor oriented teaching methods to ones that are student oriented. As thus, learning is customized to meet the particular needs of individual students with an emphasis on the learning outcomes (Bates, pp 34). Moreover, lecturers can have virtual classrooms and form student-lecturer discussions to further enhance the process of learning. In fact, interaction is known to be a key component in the successful administration of learning whether traditional or modern methods are in use. The widespread use of e-learning in educational institutions can only mean well to the millions of people in search of education knowledge (Rosenberg, pp 76). Moreover, the concept is not limited to educational information and has been tested successfully in the administration of professional education. There is no doubt that e-learning is fast taking over the traditional methods of learning in all the levels of education. This research aims to answer three research questions as follows: 1. What are the perceptions of teachers regarding the use of e-learning? 2. What is the penetration level of e-learning among the different education levels? 3. Does social background affect success of e-learning? In answering the above questions, the research will have contributed to the conversation regarding e-learning.


Works cited

Brändström, Camilla. “Using the Internet in Education-Strengths and Weaknesses: A Qualitative Study of Teachers’ Opinions on the Use of the Internet in Planning and Instruction.” (2011).

Kennedy, Jarred. “A New Way of Learning.” Online Submission (2010).

Kilimci, Songül. “Integration of the internet into a language curriculum in a multicultural society.” TOJET: The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology 9.1 (2010).

Urbanowicz, Anna. “Internet Education as Mirrored on the [Commercialised] Internet.” Kwartalnik Naukowy Uczelni Vistula 4 (46) (2015): 86-100.

Rosenberg, Marc Jeffrey. E-learning: Strategies for delivering knowledge in the digital age. Vol. 3. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2001.

Garrison, D. Randy. E-learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice. Taylor & Francis, 2011.

Bates, AW Tony. Technology, e-learning and distance education. Routledge, 2005.


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