Last updated: 31.12.11

Communication tools 'a benefit of e-learning'

The benefits of e-learning go beyond the educational positives and proceed to provide excellent communication tools between teachers and students, according to one industry spokeswoman.

A representative from the Beyond Distance Research Alliance at the University of Leicester, which aims to bring together teachers and researchers interested in the field of innovation in teaching and learning, suggested that online learning platforms allow both academics and their pupils to access course-relevant information in an unprecedented way.

Grainne Conole, director of the program at the University of Leicester, said that there are significant benefits to implementing e-learning systems in schools and universities compared to face-to-face educational methods.

"I think it offers huge potential - particularly with new, social and participatory media. They enable learners and teachers to connect, communicate and access information in an unprecedented way," Ms Conole commented.

She added that online facilities and networks such as Twitter and Facebook have the potential to become large education platforms whereby information can be easily shared among students and their peers.

"Likewise, various collaborative tools - from Wikipedia through to different social networking and synchronous and asynchronous technologies - enable learners to be able to work in amazing ways," the expert continued.

Furthermore, Tom Kuhlmann, editor of The Rapid E-learning Blog, recently suggested that learning on the go is a major benefit associated with the virtual classroom and that the ability to access information with ease and flexibility is a benefit to both the learner and the teacher.

He explained that e-learning tools are becoming more mainstream among schools, colleges and businesses, and that the struggling economy is exacerbating the need for cost-effective learning solutions.

Additionally, Mr Kuhlmann predicted that mobile technologies and social media will also become a driving force behind the future success of online learning and create a larger recipient list of those using the strategy for educational and training benefits.