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The omnipresent eLearning Giant. Online education: 1, School: 0
Not very long ago, the word education elicited some very specific images: stately brick buildings, Ivy League crests, cavernous lecture halls, the whole 9 yards. Education was described primarily through a lens of physical experience; going to college was a rite of passage one would be incomplete without. You had to be a certain way to get a certain somewhere: be witty, speak up in class, make friends, be punctual, multitask, play sports, get a job. You had to be everywhere at once.
Here is one principal reason why online learning is being lauded for its transformative potential: feasibility. Education no longer demands immense sacrifices such as spending lifelong earnings on costly private schools or entire paychecks on travel and living expenses. With e-learning, high quality education has turned into a privilege everyone can afford. The recent pandemic also drove home the importance of e-learning platforms like never before; but as the world wavers on the brink of normalcy, will online learning manage to hold on to its appeal?
Not everyone wants to learn behind a screen. For some, the traditional classroom experience is a priceless one. They want to walk into a lecture hall, talk to the person sitting beside them, borrow a pen, raise their hand, turn in paper assignments, visit professors in their offices - the little things that on-campus physical learning allows students to enjoy. Most of all, people want to be seen and heard, and they don’t always believe e-learning is conducive to that.
However, the way e-learning has proliferated worldwide suggests that it has truly managed to outshine traditional education: platforms such as Udemy and Coursera, with their dynamic approach and impressive course varieties, have established themselves as go-to’s for obtaining certifications and learning new skills. E-learning, together with social media, is a powerful tool that is altering and enriching lives every day - simply because it has made learning and teaching accessible to those who could only dream of it.