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Edmonton Catholic Schools

What are the Pros and Cons of eLearning

eLearning Benefits

Convenience is at the top of the list of reasons why students take eLearning courses. Although assignments usually have submission deadlines, eLearning courses are primarily independent of time and place. Students can access instruction at their convenience, no matter where they live or travel.

Online instruction knows no geographic boundaries. Online courses link students from all over the world. Students can share ideas in a culturally diverse setting with people from different social, economic, and experiential backgrounds. Since its inception in 1999, Revelation Online has linked together high school students across Canada and in England, USA, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Russia, Italy, France, Taiwan, and Germany.

  • Students can study anywhere they have access to a computer and Internet connection
  • Class work can be scheduled around work and family 
  • Learners can test out or skim over materials already mastered and concentrate efforts in mastering areas containing new information and/or skills
  • eLearning can accommodate different learning styles and facilitate learning through a variety of activities
  • Self-paced learning modules allow students to work at their own pace
  • Students have the option to select learning materials that meets their level of knowledge and interest

Online courses can provide individualized attention and a depth of interaction from instructors and students not achievable in a large classroom environment. eLearning courses encourage contemplative and reflective learning opportunities. With eLearning, students have time to reflect before responding. The asynchronous communications can eliminate the barriers that inhibit some individuals from expressing themselves in face-to-face settings. Setting aside quiet space and time without interruptions, students concentrate and think about the readings before participating in the discussions.

  • Uniform standards maintained
  • Consistent content delivery
  • Fewer errors, safer environment
  • Students develop knowledge of the Internet and computers skills that will help them throughout their lives and careers

The online format reduces preconceived notions based on students age, gender, race, background, or level of experience. Through online discussion, students can receive and give valuable feedback to each other and learn from people with a broad array of backgrounds and experience with less judgment than might be found in a face-to-face situation.

  • Flexibility to join discussions in the bulletin board threaded discussion areas at any hour, or visit with classmates and instructors remotely in chat rooms
  • Instructors and students both report eLearning fosters more interaction among students and instructors than in large classrooms
  • Hands-on or lab work is simulated in a virtual classroom
  • Fewer penalties from non-compliance
  • Successfully completing online or eLearning courses builds self-knowledge and self-confidence
  • Encourages students to take responsibility for their learning

eLearning Shortcomings

  • Learners with low motivation or bad study habits may fall behind
  • Without the routine structures of a traditional class, students may get lost or confused about course activities and deadlines
  • Students may feel isolated from the instructor and classmates
  • Instructor may not always be available when students are studying or need help
  • Slow Internet connections or older computers may make accessing course materials frustrating
  • Managing computer files and online learning software can sometimes seem complex for students with beginner-level computer skills