Recently a trend has emerged in public education of E-Learning, a shortened name for electronic distance learning. One or more days per semester are built into the educational calendar year and are a legitimate school day for both teachers and students. The purpose of the E-Day is multi-fold with benefits to both.
E-Learning is a tool which develops students as independent learners. Assignments are issued from the instructor online and accessed through the student portal at a home computer or the student’s issued notepad. The assignment is to be completed and submitted by the student from home at the end of the calendered day. Students do not attend class on campus yet their login for the assignment registers their attendance. The tool of E-Learning gives the opportunity for practice in completing tasks independently, meeting deadlines, using good time management skills and nurtures learning at will.
A hopeful outcome is that learning will become integrated into the life of the students for the long run; that they simply will not have school time and life outside of school, but that the two become intertwined. When successful, learning is transitioned from a task to be completed between the hours of 8am and 3pm to an attitude of learning and a way of living.
For the instructor the advantage is obvious. With an empty classroom space, although class is occurring at a distance in homes all over town, the instructor has freedom. This open space of time may be used for development of the teaching team, meetings, continued education or workshops. This day counts as both classroom and in-service. Over the period of one school year, the E-Learning days reduce the overall school schedule by using them for multiple purposes.
Our students are the workforce of tomorrow. By preparing them to adopt learning as a lifestyle and nurturing a mindset of lifelong continued education, they will be stronger employees. By creating a more educated workforce we gain a more educated society overall.
This type of outside-the-box thinking is exactly the kind of students our educational system is hoping to encourage. How can just a day at home with a laptop or notepad accomplish these lofty goals? E-Learning is a characteristic, solid and strong on its own, but a digestible piece of a bigger puzzle where students learn out enjoyment and lead others to learn. It is having confidence in their innate curiosities to understand more and along the way discover new questions for which they seek answers. E-Learning is a small snowball that when rolled down the hill will grow and increase in breadth and lead to much bigger things.