May 2017
12

LSBF Singapore: Electronic Learning or Ease of Learning?

Remember those days when we would dread going to classes and wish we could attend classes at home instead? You crave for efficiency and convenience, over being stuck in your seat for long hours in a classroom setting. With the development of substantial e-learning technology, your dream of not sitting in a classroom could well be a reality.

What is e-learning to us?

Even if your school has not incorporated e-learning in its curriculum yet, our bet is that you have engaged in some form of e-learning before. Think about the time when you were figuring out how to fix a tie for your important interview. How about putting on makeup? Most of us have learnt something from a YouTube tutorial over the past year, if not week. According to Google, searches related to "How-to" on YouTube are growing 70 per cent year over year. 

Given such a trend, Ivy League Universities, including the likes of Harvard, MIT, and Princeton, have all jumped on the e-learning bandwagon. In schools, however, e-learning takes on a more sophisticated form than what you see on YouTube. The technology, resources and the know-how available in the settings of an institution allows e-learning to be done at a much more advanced level. From animation to pop quizzes, these are just several of the features that aim at accelerating your learning online. Let’s explore how e-learning can revolutionise your experience in school. 

You are your own teacher

Instead of sitting passively at your seat frantically taking notes, you decide the pace of your learning by going through the online courses a second time, by pausing and replaying that theory over and over again. For those fast learners, you can fast-forward your lectures and complete them ahead of time *blows whistle*. In fact, research shows that e-learning reduces learning time by about 25 to 60 per cent as compared to traditional sit-at-your-desk kind of learning. Being able to adjust the pace according to your comfort level also increases your brain’s retention of information.

Are you concerned about compromising on your learning? Well, e-learning could even turn F students into A-scorers. A study by Changing minds found that after three days, a user retained only 10-20 per cent of written or spoken information but almost 65 per cent of visual information. Visual instruction is a big part of e-learning. From cartoon animation to motion graphics, the possibilities enabled by e-learning technology is endless. Moving and still images have been included in learning materials for decades, but only now has faster broadband, cellular networks, and high-resolution screens made it possible for high-quality images to be a part of eLearning visual design. It could well be your answer to better grades in school.  

You embrace failure

In a study published by Research Gate, East Asian students are found to be reluctant to speak up in class owing to a combination of reasons such as deference to authority and the fear of failure. In Singapore, ''Kiasuism'' (fear of failure) is a real concern. In 2016, Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Kuik Shiao-Yin famously called for the eradication of Kiasuism, stating that it is a "costly culture to put up with." Her sentiments were echoed by many others.

But what if e-learning could help us be a little less fearful?  No one likes to fail in a classroom full of people. With e-learning, the security of learning from home gives us the opportunity to keep trying. For example, you can ask questions in your virtual classroom without having to actually speak up. If you so wish, you can also remain anonymous. The result is that our thirst for knowledge is quenched and it benefits everyone in the class.

E-learning technology typically encompasses some form of interactive exercises or questions that allow you to "try it until you get it". Imagine being in a lecture room with 100 other students. Try asking the lecturer to repeat what he had just said – see if you get the glare from your "fast-learning" peers.

We live in a digital era

Technological advancements provide endless possibilities. With the birth of a new era, learning from our computers may even be a thing of the past. Comscore found that the number of mobile users has exceeded that of desktop users for the first time in 2014. A survey conducted by Google in Singapore found that more people watch videos on a smartphone than on desktop.

With the advent of smartphones, you can literally learn anywhere and anytime. This provides an unprecedented level of convenience especially for those who have to juggle part-time ACCA studies with a full-time job. As Singapore becomes a Smart Nation, IP backbone will provide links as fast as 10Gbps, or 100 times the speed of most home broadband packages. Imagine the amount of visual learning you can receive just from your smartphone. This will take e-learning to a whole new level of possibilities. In the near future, we are even looking at hologram technology and virtual reality being a part of our e-learning experience.

Conclusion

As of 2016, it was reported that the e-learning industry has seen a whopping 900% growth since 2000. Taken beyond the educational realm, e-learning can also be seen in many large corporations. You can expect your future employers to embark on the same path of e-learning. While e-learning is here to stay and flourish, we do not see the in-classroom experience going away anytime soon. Being able to socialise with your peers in person is an irreplaceable experience. The future of learning, as we see it, would be a healthy balance of both e-learning and classroom learning, providing us with a synergised educational experience that fuses the best of both worlds.

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