E-Learning Be A Substitute For The Classroom - The last few years have seen the growth of several online education platforms that have sought to supplement traditional education

Online learning can be an effective replacement to the classroom:

  • Online learning can either be self-paced, at one’s convenience, or assisted, in real-time with a facilitator. 
  • Learning programmes can be personalized and the progress of each individual can be tracked better
  • With an appropriate blend of these two modes, online learning can be an effective replacement to the classroom.

The missing factor: 

  • But education requires social engagement and peer learning. Though possible through digital platforms, but is not yet the same as a classroom experience

Kinds of courses available online

  • Online learning is not restricted to MOOCs. Several universities and their partners offer digital versions of traditional college programmes. 
  • Such programmes are often as expensive as their classroom versions. 
  • There are other service providers who offer digital learning supplements for example preparations for school exams or college tests, or certification programmes for professionals wishing to enhance their qualifications. 
  • Such digital learning does not come free, but by freeing up the limitation of space, the size of a classroom can expand infinitely, thus enabling access to more at a lower unit cost.

Are such courses disrupting the conventional education system?

  • Though high-quality learning is available online, the demand for admissions to schools and colleges has not reduced. 
  • Educational institutions, particularly colleges, provide not only learning but also a recognition of “having learnt". 
  • It is the degree-granting capability of a college and its reputation that provides a competitive advantage.

Way Forward

Given the huge demand for high-quality, affordable education that is not being met by traditional universities, it may now be time to treat online courses as reasonable substitutes. 

However, a college degree still enjoys social acceptance. Since employers are the biggest ‘customers’ for the education system, it is up to the recruiters to recognize those who have ‘graduated’ from the online programmes.