Increased Opportunities and Reduced Spatio-temporal Limitations: The Promise of Online Learning
Online learning environments are on the rise due to the increase in opportunities they provide for diverse populations, who are otherwise unable to participate in learning enterprises. The electronically mediated environments offer amplified possibilities for interaction and participation via asynchronous discussion boards which eliminate time constrained barriers, while synchronous chats enable real-time collaborations. Today’s education benefits from the anytime, anywhere maxim. While access remains a real issue in many parts of the globe, institutions of higher learning are increasing their digital offerings and promoting continuing education and life–long learning. The fast-paced modern global world demands constant re-training and certification, and E-learning can meet the challenge. The aim of reducing barriers to learning activities has given rise to courses that include virtually the whole globe. Professionals, home-bound individuals and single parents show the greatest rise in the demographics of those taking advantage of these new opportunities. This new medium has both detractors and promoters, yet research and practice has shown comparable quality of online learning to the regular face-to-face classroom. While the arguments present both enthusiasm and skepticism, nevertheless there are numerous ways that online can provide a more personal and interactive environment and ensure all participants have equal time and an equal voice to contribute. The addition of the Internet with its vast databases of materials greatly enhances research, interdisciplinary analyses and creation of new ideas. This paper proposes to take a closer look at the benefits of online learning and the modalities that make online learning successful.
(Virtual Presentation, English)