It is surprising how new online/ e-learning is but it has been increasing over the years. The word ‘online’ brings to mind technology. One definition described online learning as “a way of studying for an internationally recognised qualification without needing to attend classes on campus” and it refers to postgraduate qualifications. My personal opinion is that it is any course (full qualification or a short course) that can be completed online.
You can study whenever and wherever it suits you: it is flexible but needs to be completed in a prescribed time frame. Although the emphasis is on individual self-learning it is my opinion that collaborative learning (interaction with peers on-line) and the instructor also play very important roles. If you cannot study independently this is not a suitable option. For somebody like myself that works long hours and belief in the importance of family time this is a perfect alternative solution to attending a university or college.
It is more challenging to develop an effective on-line course than a course that is offered classroom-based. The student cannot ask a question and expect an immediate answer. The instructions and tools should be developed in such a way that it addresses students’ different learning styles.