April 21, 2020

The importance of e-learning: how online resources are reshaping how we study


The rise in education technology has provided a diverse selection of learning materials and resources that students would be a fool to miss out on. These resources not only make the learning process more enjoyable, but they also minimise the manual labour of writing/drawing your own notes from scratch. Furthermore, in a traditional classroom setting, students are taught homogenously- in large classes it is simply too difficult to tailor the teaching style to each student. E-learning therefore can supplement traditional teaching methods, allowing students to restructure notes into a format that they find easiest to digest. In this article, I will be breaking down some of the key benefits of e-learning resources; the different functions they have; and also listing a few examples that prospective students may find useful.

It is important to note that these e- resources are not providing a cheat sheet: students still need to study their topic. However, these resources can personalise and simplify the learning process. In the words of Bill Gates:

‘I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.’

This does NOT mean a strong work ethic is not needed to achieve your goals, but does raise an important point- working smarter not harder can be the way to boost performance, and these resources help to facilitate exactly that.

  • Novel ways to learn: e-learning apps aims to make the education process more engaging fun. Examples include Kahoot (a game-based learning platform, , Lumosity (a general brain training game, and Duolingo (helps to learn languages in a more conversational manner).
  • Providing Incentives: Such incentives can come in a number of different ways: a) daily challenges encouraging continuous learning b) Providing a social dimension to learning, either to increase competition or to build online communities where discussions concerning the related topics can be held. Goodreads, for example, claims to be the first social media for reading, and people can enter discussions around their favourite (or school-assigned) texts.
  • Eliminating distractions: this is one of the simplest but, I would argue, important developments in learning tech. Phones and other electronic devices, whilst being incredibly useful, are our main source of distraction. Apps like Forest help to eliminate this by reducing phone function for a limited period of time so work can be focused on.
  • Transferability/Ease of Access: Producing notes is one of the main parts of studying, but can be a time-consuming endeavour. To minimise the amount of work spent on producing revision tools, there are a range of apps that offer study resources in an aesthetic format and which facilitate the conversion of handwritten notes into an online format. These are often transferable between different devices. Good examples are GoConqr (provides access to Mind Maps, Flashcards, Quizzes, Slides and Notes and also has social learning function), Evernote (transfers notes directly onto every device and allows you to take a photo of written notes and upload them) and Office Notes (allows photos of diagrams to be uploaded into your notes).
  • Auxiliary learning: Apps not only improve the format in which we learn, but also provide the means to explain complex topics. For example, Grammarly helps to correct and explain grammatical errors and Mathway helps to solve mathematical problems, providing a step-by-step guide to the answer.

There are clear trends showing that e-learning platform is only going to grow. The largest tech companies – including Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft – are all targeting the EdTech market, and it would be a waste to not maximise your efficiency by taking advantage of all of the online resources on offer.

By supplementing traditional schoolwork with the range of e-learning resources available, students have an unparalleled platform to maximise their learning efficiency. Any students interested in using this technology are very welcome to contact me with queries.