Last updated: 24.03.11

Online learning 'can replace classrooms'

E-learning courses that offer greater flexibility to students may replace face-to-face classes, one expert has suggested.

In a presentation to the Organisations Concerned About Rural Education, National Telecommunications Co-operative Association policy analyst Jesse Ward claimed that online learning is the "future of education", as the technology is now used at every level of teaching in the US, according to the Rural Community Building website.

"Online learning can supplement or replace traditional classroom instruction," she said.

E-learning technology can simulate everything offered by face-to-face workshops, as it integrates file-sharing software, instant messaging, video conferencing and virtual white boards into teaching, Ms Ward explained.

She urged urban people living in rural areas to ensure the "availability and capacity" or their broadband connection is sufficient for such technology in order to "meet today's need and address future requirements".

A growing interest in online learning classes was demonstrated last month, when the iSucceed Virtual High School revealed 1,000 students had signed up to its courses and expected more to come, KiviTV reported.