Advantages and Disadvantages of e-Learning

"For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.”

                                                  Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes



Introduction and Concepts in Distance learning

What is distance learning

Explanation of Various Terms.

Glossary of Web Based learning


Practical self experience with Distance Learning?

Difference between Distance Education and Correspondence Courses

 Can skill oriented courses be covered by DE?

Technologies used in distant education

Instructional Qualities for Web Based Learning

Challenges of Web-based Learning

DE in providing medical education to non traditional students

Teacher and student qualities for distance education

Assignment - Preparation of Distance Learning Module

Evaluation of Distance Learning

Advantages and Disadvantages of e-Learning

Famous quotes

Discussion end- Compliments from Sir & Friends

Summary - Distance Learning 

Advantages & Disadvantages of e-LearningAdvantages of Web-based Learning


Much of the increase in the use of web-based education and training can be attributed to its many advantages. From a student perspective, much of web-based coursework can be self-paced. Students can learn at "any time or any place", rather than facing the constraints imposed by having to attend a class on campus at a scheduled time.
   From the organizational/institutional perspective, web-based learning has several benefits. It has instant multi-platform capabilities and works with a variety of operating systems, such as Windows, MacIntosh and UNIX. Access to courses is controllable through various security measures such as enrollment codes and student passwords. Web-based learning is scalable: It can be delivered to 10 learners or 10,000 (Rosenberg, 2001). Web-based courses can also save travel, facility and labor costs, as instructors can stay in one place, lessening the need for off-campus sites. Organizations and schools have also seen the benefit of being able to simultaneously train entire groups simultaneously through this technology.

   Instructors have realized the many advantages of web-based learning as well. Course material can be updated quickly and posted for student access. It is also adaptable to diverse learning needs, with the ability to incorporate audio, video and various printed material into the web-based classroom


As our discussion month is ending can we simultaneously start discussing advantages & disadvantages of Distance learning. Few of these are enlisted here. List of Pros is big!!
What are the pros and cons of e-Learning?
Potential Pros of Online Learning:

  • No time spent on commuting to class
  • No travel costs  
  • You can have a job while you take classes
  • You can learn when you need it at a convenient time
  • Your learning options are not constrained by your geographic location
  • You can learn at your own pace
  • Learning can be fit into your busy schedule
  • Can be more effective for certain types of learners (shy, reflective, language challenged, those that need more time)
  • Often more student to student interaction
  • Can be more focused on the learner and less on the instructor
  • Instruction can be more customized and flexible 
  • Can lower costs for both learning providers and organizations that need training
  • Often less costs for students than traditional programs

Potential Cons of Online Learning:

  • Instructors need to learn to be effective online instructors
  • Hard for instructors to move traditional content online
  • More time consuming for instructors to provide individualized feedback (because more learners are often actively involved)
  • Equipment needs of students and learning providers
  • Technical training and support of learners and instructors
  • Academic honesty of online students
  • Types and effectiveness of assessments
  • Lack of face to face interaction
  • Requires new skills and responsibilities from learners

Does not provide many social aspects of a true campus or traditional classroom

In other words, DE is "gain-gain" for students, but only partly gaining for instructors.

The most exciting aspect of DE for me is that if I want to learn something, I CAN!

I used to feel that what I didn't like about this type of education is the 'academic isolation'- no chatting with friends or questioning the teacher. But this listserv has changed my impression completely. It is fun! The more you jump in, the more addictive it gets.

Yes, you are very right, if we are motivated to learn definately we can, despite our busiest schedules and present day multiutasking.
Another essential advantage of e-learning is that it has several tools to display contents -texts, graphic, multimedia- and help communication between students and tutors or among students- through forums, chat and e-mail-. This teaching method provides students with not only the contents they wish to acquire but also all kind of novel instruments offered by technology, allowing them to interact, think and absorb contents faster (such as tables, graphics, PowerPoint presentations, audiovisual exercises, etc.).
Virtual training, besides, is not only organized in levels but it also offers, in many cases, the ability to adjust programs according to each student. Many online academic centers design special curricula based on general contents but taking into account each student’s previous knowledge. Finally, another advantage of e-learning is related to the invested time-money ratio. E-learning makes students save, although these courses are generally paid. Saving is basically based on making the most of the time each person has; this is really important in modern world, where time is a highly prized asset.

Distance Learning Pros:
Here are some of the benefits of distance education courses.
Convenience -- take online courses when you need them, not based on some college’s annual or semester schedule. A course is as close as a computer with an Internet connection.
Flexibility -- with no set class times, you decide when to complete your assignments and readings. You set the pace. In some programs, you can even design your own degree plan.
Availability -- distance-learning opportunities have exploded over the past few years, with many accredited and reputable programs.
Cost -- prices are often cheaper for online courses than traditional college and trade courses -- with no housing or meals plans to worry about.
Self-Directed -- you set your own pace and schedule, so you control the learning environment.
Time Spent in Classroom -- now you can take a course on just about any subject without ever having to be in -- or travel to -- a classroom so you have very little wasted time. Note, however, that some distance-education programs still do have an in-class component.
Accessibility -- with an online course, you can work on the course just about anywhere you have computer access.
Better for Some Learners -- distance-education courses are often better for people who learn through visual cues and experiential exercises and those that require more time, are language-challenged, or introverted.
No Travel Expenses -- you may never even have to leave your house to take an online course, and certainly there are no relocation costs.
No Interrupting Job/Career -- because distance learning courses are located in cyberspace and controlled by your pace, there is no need to quit your current job -- or even take a leave of absence -- to go back to school.

Distance Learning Cons:
Here are some factors that could negatively affect your success with distance learning courses:
No Instructor Face Time -- if your learning style is one where you like personalized attention from your teachers, then online education will probably not work for you.
Perceptions/Reputation -- while slowly changing as more and more mainstream colleges and universities embrace distance learning, there still is a stigma attached to distance education.
Requires New Skills/Technologies -- if you’re not computer-savvy or are afraid of change or new technologies, then online education will probably not work for you.
No Social Interaction -- while you often interact with classmates via email, chat rooms, or discussion groups, there are no parties or offline get-togethers.
Making Time -- if you are a procrastinator or one of those people who always needs an extra push to complete work, you may have a hard time making time for your online classes.
Little Support -- students are expected to find their own resources for completing assignments and exams, which is empowering for some, but daunting for others.
No Campus Atmosphere -- part of the traditional college experience, of course, is the beauty of the campus, the college spirit -- but you have none of that with distance-education courses. 

Pros and Cons of Distance Learning
In order to make the right decision about distance learning, you should first consider the pros and cons.
Distance learning is a great way to obtain a higher education. However, you should choose the best learning method for you based on your own goals and study habits. There are many advantages to online education as well as a few factors that could inhibit your learning.
• There is no time spent commuting to classes.
• There are no travel costs.
• You set your own hours.
• You can schedule your time around your current job and personal schedule because the hours are flexible.
• Your geographic location does not limit your learning options.
• You can benefit from distance learning if you have certain health conditions that might otherwise keep you out of school.
• You do not have to keep up with the pace of the group. This works for those who seem to always be behind or ahead of the group.
• There is less classroom competition
• More flexible deadlines
• Up to date material via Internet
• If you are the type of student that performs better with the aid of visual or verbal cues you may be at a disadvantage.
• You have to be a little more patient when getting your questions answered. You are not in a traditional setting so you have to correspond by e-mail when you want to speak to your instructor.
• Lack of face to face interaction with other students will reduce learning and study opportunities with your peers.
• You may be required to set your own deadlines which requires more motivation and self discipline than traditional classroom settings which usually have a set end-of-term date.
• More potential for miscommunication due to misinterpreted written instructions
• You may have a delay to have your questions answered by email or on a discussion board. (although some classes also offer telephone support)
Suman Singh

There are  lots of advantages and offcourse some disadvantages associated with distance learning. Some of them have already been discussed . They are

• You can complete most of the classes at your convenience.
•  You can review the assignments and do your homework during off-hours or from home.
• Live anywhere, study from anywhere while pursuing the education of your choice. You don't have to live in the same city or the same country to attend the learning institution of your choice. You can study wherever you have access to a computer and Internet connection.
• Gain extra knowledge. You can transfer the computer and Internet skills that you'll gain in the process of your distance learning experience to other facets of your life.
• Self-paced learning. For slow and quick learners. This reduces stress and increases satisfaction.
• Accessibility. Online classes address physical accessibility issues that some people with limited mobility encounter when taking traditional classes.
• You don’t have to worry about gaining access to a classroom or sitting on uncomfortable desks. Instead, you can use your comfortable furniture in your home while enjoying free movement and a chance to further your education.
Disadvantages of distance learning:
• Costly and complex technology. Despite the many opportunities of distance education, there are inevitable accompanying costs. Live video communication for example, requires careful planning of the equipment and facilities. For online learning, you must own a computer (possibly with access to the internet) or have access to one. Thus required technology is not always available. Some learners may also be afraid(technophobic) of technology.
• Advance planning. Both the instructors and students involved in distance learning may need to make sacrifices at times to get things done in time.
• Distance learning does not offer immediate feedback. In a traditional classroom setting, a student's performance can be immediately assessed through questions and informal testing. With distance learning, a student has to wait for feedback until the instructor has reviewed their work and responded to it.
• Distance learning does not always offer all the necessary courses online. Students pursuing a specific certificate or degree program may not have all the necessary courses available through distance learning so it is not suited for all subjects. While you can study a history lesson completely online, you cannot perform nursing clinicals online. Thus physical classroom attendance will be mandatory to complete the course.
• Distance learning may not be acknowledged by all employers. Although most employers do acknowledge distance learning, certain employers do not. Students who want to work for a specific employer upon graduation should be sure of that employer's perspective about online education.
• Distance learning does not give students the opportunity to work on oral communication skills. Students in distance learning courses do not get the practice of verbal interaction with professors and other students.
• Social isolation. Most often you'll be studying alone. Distance learners may feel isolated or miss that social physical interaction that comes with attending a traditional classroom. However this impersonality has been lessening with advances and use of communication technologies such as bulletin boards, threaded discussions, chats, email and conferencing.


Oral communicaion skills can be availed during
teleconferencing/videoconferencing sessions.You have mentioned the various modalities of interactions therefore there is no question of social isolation.Ifeel more associated in DE in this listserve more than what i was in my college.

Suman Singh
You are very right we all feel more closely associated on listserv and the credit goes to TS sir and Anshu for keeping the atmosphere live but if you compare we were surly more close when we were at Ludhiana where we had chance to get glimpses of TS sirs wonderful tie and Stewart sirs colorfull jacket. I am sure DL cant give you that and we do miss that.
teleconferencing/videoconferencing sessions are occasions not routine.

What is overall emerging from the whole discussion is that distance learning is a very-very useful concept atleast for those who are motivated.
Those who are not motivated are actually not fit for any system, they will exploit all systems for their own sake without any learning.
This system, that way, can be more useful for P.G.'s in their add-on modules and for faculties who are otherwise motivated but their is lack of time for personal attendacce.
Our FAIMER is a live example of A Successful Distance Learning for all of us!!
But somewhere somehow  accreditation for DL programmes is must more so if the students are not motivated enough to participate or even the organisers are not willing to deliver properly including the assessment part. What does the house say?

It is a good compilation for almost the whole month and I must
congratulate you for leading the discussion as a good moderator.
You are very right that accreditation is a must for such course to
make it more acceptable and this will probably motivate more student to take up such course with confidence. It is also quite evident that this mode of learning serves its best when a motivated learner take up it as a specialized training on top of his basic knowledge rather than as a pure beginner.
I only beg to differ that non motivated learners are not fit for any
system rather, I feel that it is the duty of the educator to make one motivated to learn and in this context I feel that, the conventional mode might have a better edge over the DL mode.

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 promiseor...doc (44.3 KB)

As we are about to reach the finish line, let me share with you an article by Andrew Feenberg that I stumbled upon during my date with distance education. What makes this article stand out is the author's astounding ability to expose the motivations, flaws, strengths and fears associated with DE.
A splendid one !

Interesting stuff Ciraj. I agree that distance education should not be given step motherly treatment. But it is a fact that any innovation is always met with resistance at first. It is an art to gradually incorporate it into existing systems. Any attempt to bulldozer change will always fail.

On-line degree programs are not for everyone, and some students will not be able to succeed in their studies this way. A great deal of self-discipline, motivation, and perseverance is required. Many people need a rigid study schedule and the day-to-day interaction with other students that a college environment can provide. It is important to examine one’s own priorities before deciding on a course of studies and how to achieve the desired academic goals.
     Most people still believe that a degree qualification is best achieved in the traditional way, attending lectures and writing examinations at college with other students. If this is not possible, then by all means, on-line programs should be considered. The cost of obtaining a degree this way is no more than it would be for attending college, and as these programs improve in scope and depth they are becoming more acceptable in the workplace.

Your absolutely right MOTIVATION is the key word for a learner this applies for all learners whatever modality of system they follow.
The GOI has recognised the DE courses and many of them get employment and promotionds with these qualifications
Only the medical DE courses are not given value and you know the reasons.
Dear Suman P I differ once again with you as in Ludhiana we were "close" that was just the physical presence!
In this forum we chat, we share,we fight, we have conflicts,resolve them and what not? I just mentally picturise and bring all of you in front of me when I adress you and respond to any of our fellows every time I am online.
Did we have time at our will and wish,our diposale to chat in CMCL as much us we have now? we were too busy isint it?
If you remember, we knew each other before we met in Ludhiana and also recognised each other when we first met and that is the POWER of the List serve thanks to the 007s to make that moments possible!
I do agree video conferencing are occasions I only told you that there are means to see your teachers and interact! what is a rare occasion today will be a common one tomorrow..just like tha PCs mobiles and Laptops we have now and how was telecommunication in the last decade?
with regard to student-teacher interaction I think we are at our best in DE rather than in conventional one were in most students rush to the next class and evening hardly there will be time for meaningful interaction.
Dear kalyan,Not necesarily DE should be only for topping up basic
knowledge.yes you are right that we need to motivate the students. NO NO I strongly that conventional mode has an edge above the DE. Cant you see the motivated fellows contributing in this forum? Arent we motivated my our peers,our comentors,faculty? didnt we respond immediately when some home work was given ( the recent one with making modules.. I think motivational levels is more here .May be it depends on who motivates and our receptivenss.

Hi Ciraj, you appear rarely and give contribute articles which are rare to get...Its indeed splendid.

You are perfectly right. whole universe lies within. physical distances are just an illusion we all are very close to each others in all the possible aspects and listserv is the mediator.
both DL and conventional systems can not replace each other and both will have their pros and cons its the choise of the user that matters and nothing else.
any way it was fun learning about DE through DE and we all enjoyed. Thanks to sanjay,anshu , barathi,and TS sir for all wonderfull leaarning experiences.
with regards

Its fun learning from each other who has a common
interest.listserve bridges the distances between us.whereas in class rooms we have walls

Hey! I'm not willing to say adieu to this discussion yet. We still have a few days left and I am keen to see your modules soon.
But I must compliment Praveen, Navneet and  Maya for teaching me so much about distance learning. Not to forget our Sanjay's weblinks and the inimitable TS Sir for just providing the right nudges at the right moment. Thank you  Barathi for being completely involved, to Ciraj for the excellent reference articles and to Suman P for asking pertinent stuff. You all have made learning fun. Keep up the great work!
 Send your creative stuff fast!
We are all enjoying the discussion and Thanks Anshu for the compliments actually everybody is helping make our discussion interesting and its not ending yet.
Yes, really speaking our work on distance education will continue for long !! with added inputs from this months session.

We are yet to discuss the accreditation of distance learning!!!
Find herewith a very good article (but with many copyright regulations)