Technology has taken over most sectors of our society today, one of them being modern education. To most, E-Learning is still a mystery, but actually, it is quite easy to comprehend. Basically, E-Learning is the use of electronic technologies to deliver educational curriculum outside the usual classroom set up. Computers and the internet are the main platforms for E-Learning. It has been an uphill battle incorporating this kind of technology into African society with many critics arguing that it lacks the human element required in learning and it might erode African culture.
However, the introduction of computers and smartphones (which are now part of our day to day lives) has piqued most scholars’ interest to engage in computer literacy programs hence smoothening the adoption of E-Learning. In this context, the essence is to discuss the pros and cons of E-Learning and how it impacts the African culture.
With all the upcoming debates on this topic, you might wonder why integration of E-Learning into the educational curriculum is important. Here are some of the ways in which E-Learning programs have curbed limitations that come with traditional teaching methods such as facilitated lectures.
Advantages of E-Learning
Global Reach of E-Learning
In the past years, one on one lectures were the only means of delivering educational curriculum to learners. This was cumbersome for both the educators and the learners because of geographical differences and time zones.
E-Learning has made it possible for learners from different places to access information at the comfort of their computer, smartphone or even tablets. For example, you can enroll in a foreign university that offers a master’s program and is able to access lectures in your home country without having to travel.
The E-Learning software is designed in such a way that an educator can feed the required information through the internet for the learner to access whenever they need it. The best part is, that the information can be easily retrieved by any device that supports the software which includes smartphones and tablets. This means that there are no limitations to access the resources compared to traditional teaching methods where information is only found in books and handwritten notes.
Quality and Content
They say “to err is human,” and this is very true. Consider a case where the educator is supposed to attend a classroom session in the afternoon after a long tiresome day. The chances of him/her being mentally disoriented are high, hence it can corrupt the information he/she passes on to the learners.
Nevertheless, information placed in E-Learning software, once uploaded, remains the same to all learners meaning each learner receives the same quality and content even after revisions. This reduces the chances of information being corrupted due to exhaustion, environmental changes, mental conditions or emotions.
In the case of a person who has a day job or is a parent and also attends classes, the learner can have a lot of responsibilities, therefore, limiting their class attendance to only when it’s convenient. With E-Learning, classes are never a nightmare to such a person.
The learner has the choice to attend classes alone or in a conference where you attend classes at the same time with others learners taking the same course. This gives room for the learner to go about their daily life activity without inconvenience.
With all the above-discussed benefits of E-Learning, the cost of studying is greatly reduced. There are notable cost-effective gains that come with online studying, including cutting down transport cost, accommodation, teaching aids, and materials as well as paying for tutors. Therefore, this increases the speed and ease at which an institution delivers distance learning courses.
Barriers to E-Learning
Lack of motivation
This is probably the biggest problem that E-Learning professionals face. Consider a case where you are the best student in your class and no one acknowledges your achievements. No one would want that, right? This can be easily solved by opting for leaderboards in every E-Learning software or giving points to the best-performing learners with badges and certificates.
Limited Technological Experience
Let’s face facts as they are, not everyone is comfortable using a computer or smartphones. Some online learners can have a difficult time using computers since it requires a level of computer literacy that one needs to have. While this might sound like a challenge, it can be easily solved by creating online demos on how to access required online software.
Online Learner Boredom
Well, this comes as no surprise, boredom is a challenge to almost all learners. However, online learning is no exception, you simply just have to know your learners and interact with them through conferencing or interviews and get to know how they would like their classes to be conducted.
Impact of E-Learning on African culture
E-Learning has faced major opposition from African societies in the belief that it is western-based and, therefore, a threat to African cultures. The globalization that E-Learning provides exposes different cultures to the same classes and since an institution is a society on its own, there is bound to be some cultural exchanges.
The truth of the matter is that E-Learning has a very little impact on individual cultures since determining a culture is not solemnly based on education but the people’s beliefs, language, and religion. E-Learning exposes even the rural population to equal educational opportunities as the urban population, hence impacting society positively. African libraries have also gone a step ahead to digitalize their reading materials so locals can access them.
This makes the information of your culture easily available without having to go to a museum or visiting custodians of a given culture. This, in its own sense, preserves the African cultures rather than posing a threat.
The benefits of E-Learning overwhelm the drawbacks, and considering the fact that the overall society is turning to technology ever since the introduction of computers and the internet, the best option would be to adopt E-Learning. Regulations should also be put in place to filter out undesirable online courses, while proper guideline will help new users to access E-Learning correctly.
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