Learning has never been the same. There used to be a time when students used to stay with the teachers and learn the way of life. The curriculum was wide, they taught how to live. Then children learnt skills from their parents. With schools came structured learning. Curriculums were formed to decide what to teach at what age. Universities, colleges and school all follow curriculums. Now it is the era of eLearning.
Computers and Internet has wide opened the whole world in all matters. Communication, media, entertainment, research etc. there’re very few technologies that have not changed. Medicine, art, work, entertainment, cooking and every other way of life has changed with technology. People can search for anything now using search engines and get an answer to it. This has changed learning in a big way.
While it is impossible to estimate how technology has helped learning to evolve, we can just discuss about some of the major areas where technology has improved learning.
As the mode of communication has evolved, people now have access to everything known in the world through internet. With a desktop and an internet connection you can have any information about anything known in the world as on that minute. Earlier the teachers used to be the only reference point other than books to clear any doubt whether academically or generally. Referring books is very time consuming. It is impossible for any person to know everything. With internet and search engines even a 4th grader can find out the latest developments in space research and underwater explorations.
Gone are the days when students used to carry loads of reference books to schools and colleges. Now it is the age of eBooks and laptops or electronic notebooks which will have the eBooks loaded in them. This is lighter, saves paper and environment and easy to refer. eBooks is an evolving trend. Many paper books are now being converted to electronic books. eBooks are available for free, available via subscriptions and can also be bought outright.
Getting expertise help can be a big problem especially in smaller places where very few skilful teachers are available. When it comes to specialization many students find it difficult to get a tutor for subjects they find difficult to learn. eLearning is a big boon for such students. With eLearning a specialist teacher can teach a student from anywhere in the world with the help of a computer and internet. Live classes can be taken over the internet with live video sessions. Students can receive special notes in emails. This method is now becoming very popular. Online and offline classes are available over the internet for almost all the topics. They are available for free, paid or can also be subscribed for.
Now the textbooks are also interactive. Online textbooks can have study material in the form of text and media. Online tests and assignments also help students to understand their level of learning.
Chalk boards are disappearing from class rooms now. Projectors and smart screens have taken their place.
The teachers are also tech savvy and can form online groups and discussion forums for the more enthusiasts to learn outside the class. This is particularly helpful during assignments and projects when team work matters a lot.
Emerging technology has opened up the way for distant education and off campus learning. While this takes away the fun and rich experience that a live campus offers, this is a boon to people who cannot afford full time education. Many working people are taking advantage of distant education and attend online lectures and refer online books for learning.
While it is true that the humane touch will disappear soon with technology, it remains a fact that many people find technological advances a boon to learning. Lessons on anything and everything is available online from classical songs to dances to knitting and cooking, jewellery making, drawing and everything else that can be learnt. This is a boon to many people who cannot afford to learn these in the traditional way due to monetary, time or location factors.