Articles, Blog

Online Learning Orientation Series – Episode_10: Disadvantages of E-Learning

Hello Again! As part of our Online Education
Success series; In this episode of the Explorations Learning
Network we’ll be discussing the Disadvantages of E-Learning. Hi, I’m Avi Anderson and this is the Explorations Learning Network [music] In our last episode, we talked about all of
the advantages to online learning, like convenience, socialization, working with diverse teams, safely exploring dangerous situations, tapping into a nearly unlimited source of
knowledge, virtual exploration, and learning at a lev… [cutoff] But despite
all of these advantages, believe it or not, there are a few disadvantages
to online education. According to Sean Chamberlain of Fullerton
College, these include: The need for additional time to complete an
online course A tendency toward procrastination Isolation from physical socialization Limitations to kinesthetic or touch-based
learning And finally, Limitations attributed to the Digital-Divide
such as access to electricity and Internet connectivity. Let’s examine all of these in detail. Let’s begin with additional time to complete
an online course. Some professional educators and other individuals point out that online education takes longer to complete due to the amount of reading and writing involved in each course. While it’s true that online courses require
students to read and write more email messages and posts on discussion forums, many online courses are moving toward the
use of video to deliver content as a forum for instructor presentations and
collaborative learning. The single greatest advantage of all the extra
material, whether it be email messages, forum posts,
or video lecture is the ability for a student to review what
they’ve read or watched. This is not typically possible in a face-to-face
learning environment, unless you video the instructor’s lecture. Stalker! Chances are you won’t need to because they
already have all of their lectures on video as part of the online version of the class
that your sitting through. [slow motion voice] In addition, countless
studies have shown that most people zone out when listening to other people speak for looooong periods of time. [finger snap] Wake Up! [clap] Wake Up! This problem can be avoided by chunking the
video and throwing-in quizzes and other activities. In addition to making the material more interesting and meaningful, it also improves student retention and overall understanding by demonstrating
how the theory of the discussion can be applied to solving problems or examining an issue. But that doesn’t mean online classes are
easier than face-to-face classes. Remember, there is a great deal of work involved in
completing an online class. If you don’t keep up with the work, you
could fall behind and may end up failing the course. Which leads us into another disadvantage to
online learning, procrastination. I don’t really want to talk about that now! Maybe we could talk about it tonight or tomorrow. Actually, thinking about it, next Tuesday sounds a little bit better for me. One of the most significant problems with
online learning is the tendency for the student to wait until the last minute to complete his or her work. Like none of us ever did that in class. In a recent study conducted by researchers
at Universite de Rennes 2, students who procrastinated in online courses
tended to post less often in discussion forums, deliberately isolating themselves from the
rest of the participants. Many designers of online learning systems
are addressing this problem by employing academic coaches, tutors, and advisors to
keep the student on track with his or her participation in the class. In addition, many courses require that students
participate in learning teams which also forces them to interact with students and consequently improves both their time management skills and decreases their opportunity to procrastinate. According to a study conducted by Daugherty
and Funk in 1998, students in online classes feel physically
separated from their instructors. The researchers point out that although the
feelings can be minimized they cannot be completely eliminated. Other researchers indicate that it is important
for online schools to create a sense of community for their students. Consequently, some schools require that online courses be conducted in a hybrid format. Hybrid courses require students to meet in
a face-to-face setting at least once during the duration of their course. To create a sense of community, instructors
use this face-time to have students meet with members of their learning teams. This allows you to put a name with a face,
especially for the people that you’ll be talking to most, your instructor and your teammates. When the course is completely online, other
activities help students build a sense of community. Students taking online classes at the University
of Phoenix are required to post a bio, a short essay about who they are and why they
decided to return to school. Each student is then required to read at least
two biographies from other students in the class and then post a response. Although not as effective as a face-to-face
meeting, this does help students create community and may minimize student isolation. Social isolation is not the only physical
limitation associated with online classes. The virtual state or digital-medium in which
eLearning takes place does put limitations on learning that requires students to interact with real
objects. This can be a problem in situations where
students must touch or manipulate a real object, such as turning a dial or taking a pulse. [computerized voice] However, the physicality
of online learning is currently only limited by our technology. Many researchers and technology designers
are working on methods which allow you to interact with real-world objects through a digital
interface. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways
and is most noticeable in online game-systems such as the Nintendo Wii or the Xbox Kinect. Players can manipulate simulated controllers
in the shape of a tennis racquet, golf-club, or steering wheel to control the actions in
the game. Or in the case of the Kinect you don’t even need devices. The popularity of these devices has even lead
to the development of physical education elearning courses that actually make it possible for people to exercise in a variety of fun and exciting ways that they never may have thought possible. Another way that eLearning is taking on the
real, physical world is through Augmented Reality. Augmented reality allows you to interact with
the real world through the assistance of the virtual world. For example, parking assistive devices or
rear-mounted driving cameras that help your car park itself. Companies like BMW are experimenting with
augmented reality to assist mechanics in the repairs of cars. Typically, augmented reality requires you
to wear devices that improve the interface between you and the virtual world, items such as 3-D glasses. But even children’s toys such as Disney
Appmates, which allow kids to use the characters from the movie Cars, like ‘Mater, to interact with games on the
iPad. Children can even manipulate figurines of
the Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie to explore their 3-D apartment. Or, thanks to National Geographic and UPC
apps, the opportunity for mall shoppers to interact with a t-rex, raptors, dolphins, and even a cheetah. Finally, one of the greatest disadvantages
to online education is that created by the digital-divide, or as researchers DiMaggio and Hargittai at
Princeton University call it, Digital Inequality. Digital inequality refers to those situations
where people from a more privileged group have access to the Internet while people from a less privileged group
don’t have the same level of access. For example, some children have access to
smartphones, digital tablets, computers and the Internet both at home and at school. While other children and even adult learners
may only have access at school. This limited access is further restricted
by the type of content available in these locations. People on the downside of the digital divide
do not have the same freedom of access to the Internet-content as those people who can afford the cost of
a high-speed Internet connection. This is a serious problem in a world that
depends more and more on the Internet as a source of information and education. Many policy makers, professional educators,
social activists, and even entrepreneurs are working to eliminate the disparities or
inequalities created by the digital divide. In fact, thanks to a Department of Labor grant,
anyone with access to the Internet can learn about online education through the 22 episodes of this Explorations
Learning Network series about Online Education Success. Just one of the ways we’re trying to breakdown
the digital divide. Wow! These don’t sound like disadvantages. And in many cases we only have to wait for
technology to overcome some of these issues. Don’t ever let the digital divide prevent
you from learning. If you can’t take an online class at home,
visit your library or go to your local college and get online. But no matter what, figure out a way to learn. It’s the best way to get ahead in life! Till next time. The Explorations Learning Network is a production
of Clark College and is sponsored through generous donations
and the support of students and faculty Mark Gaither is our producer and director
and this episode was sponsored by a Department of Labor grant administered by
the Washington State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating
Board is a partnership of labor, business, and government dedicated
to helping Washington residents obtain and succeed in family wage jobs while meeting
employers needs for skilled workers. I’m Aviance Anderson for the Explorations
Learning Network. Advancing Learning for the Information Age.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *