Today we live in a world where technology is an active player in our live, ensuring that we have within reach all the information we need to perform our daily tasks, no matter where we are located (home, office, school, train…etc.). In recent years, thanks to the development of new technologies and innovative products (such as: smartphones, netbooks, PDAs, e-readers…etc.) information has become more accessible than ever, and the stream of information available has suffered a noticeable increase.
Even more, the recent advancements in technology, especially in the communication area, have changed the way we work, the way we communicate with one another, and also the way we learn. Regarding the latter domain “learning and teaching”, a major difference in the way we learn and teach today, was brought about by E-learning.
E-learning is what we know today as “electronic learning and teaching”: electronic applications employed in the form of: “Web-based learning, computer-based training, virtual classrooms or digital collaboration”. By employing E-learning, the information reaches the user much faster, via the internet / intranet, CD-ROM…etc., and it has the advantage of being delivered in all sorts of formats: text, image, animation and also video or audio formats.
The advancements in technology and the decreasing costs, have allowed an increase in the number of users who attend on-line institutions. According to estimates, in 2006 more than 3.5 million students were attending on-line courses at institutions of higher education in the U.S.A. This number is expected to increase in the following years to such an extent, that by 2014, 81% of the students (from U.S.A.) enrolled in a post-secondary institution will be taking most part of their courses on-line.
Thanks to the numerous advantages offered by e-learning, this kind of education is becoming more and more popular, prevailing over traditional higher form of education. One such benefit is the (fast) accessibility to information no matter where we are located in the world. Another is flexibility: with a basic Internet connection and a PC, anyone can have access 24×7 to online courses. Last but not least, it helps learners to develop a set of digital competences and skills which will be useful in their day by day activities.
Other positive aspects of E-learning are: reduced learning times, smaller costs (even transportation costs are reduced), the possibility to keep track of the progress and to keep updated all the time no matter location, permanent access to the web content..etc.
E-learning is becoming an important part of the educational process, and day by day it conquers more ground and more followers in the detriment of traditional methodologies.