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Monday, May 27, 2002

Self-paced and explorative, e-learning is here to stay
Rajiv Kapoor

WE are currently in a transition period when, the academicians have started reviewing the teaching and learning methodologies. In the present system, a specified space, equipment, tools, costly software and teachers are required. Our country is a developing country and reducing the cost and upgrading the quality of teaching and learning is the priority. Opening of a large number of technical institutions in every state of India is leading to extra cost factor, which is ultimately borne by the common person.

The setting up of new institutions to meet the demand for technical professionals has not led to any improvement in quality. Hence, it is extremely important to find out the new way of learning. Any service provided due to application of IT generally starts with a key-character 'e', hence, let it be named as e-learning. Ideally, the new mode of learning should provide the following:

a) Education to everybody.

b) Quality education.

c) Online books/literature facility.

d) Online consultation sessions.

e) Online examination.

f) Admission for all and at any moment.

g) Practice based learning.


Implementation solution is feasible as the Internet in our country is reaching 10 million persons. This number is much bigger than the population in many countries. Some initiatives have already been taken by few educational institutions of India A question that arises regarding e-commerce, e-business, e-solutions and now e-learning is: "Are these just trendy words or do they point to new life styles and a new economy?" Is e-learning just another training technology that will be replaced by something 'better'?

It is clear that e-learning represents convergence in education, training and information fields. It groups together education, training and structured information delivered by computers, through the Internet, or the Web or from the hard drive of the PC or an organisation's network. E-learning may not be a universal solution presently. It is complex. It demands new understanding and new leadership.


  • It is less expensive to produce Synchronous programs will have continued costs associated with the instructor managing the class, but will still be much lower than traditional costs.

  • It is self-paced E-learning programs can be taken when needed

  • It moves faster E-learning courses progress up to 50 per cent faster than the traditional courses. This is partly because of the individualised approach, which allows learners to skip material they already know.

  • It is explorative Like building block of knowledge.

  • It can be updated easily and quickly Online e-learning sessions are especially easy to keep up-to-date because the updated materials are simply uploaded to the server.

  • It can lead to increased retention and a stronger grasp of subject Tools like multimedia and graphical environment leads to better understanding and it's retention.

  • It can be easily managed for a large group of students.

  • It is collaborative Participants can be from wider range of disciplines.

The bottom line focus of modern business is leading training managers to find ways to reduce training program costs. Reduced funding for education and training institutions should look for economical ways to deliver education. Many full-time and part-time students are under economic pressures. Due to this they can work part-time and appreciate the reduced travelling costs and time with e learning.