e-Learning Pros and Cons

e-Learning advantages and disadvantages are important to consider when organisations and individuals are making learning decisions. Many organisations provide different forms of training and instruction to their employees. Typically they provide training by sending people to external courses, holding in-house training classes, or providing manuals and self-study guides. In some situations it is advantageous for them to use e-learning instead of more traditional styles of training. But there are a few disadvantages as well.

Let’s compare the advantages and disadvantages of e-learning:

Advantages of e-Learning

  • Learning can be scheduled around personal and professional work
  • Reduces travel cost and time to and from courses
  • Learners can study wherever they have access to a computer and Internet
  • Self-paced learning modules allow learners to work at their own pace

Disadvantages of e-Learning

  • Unmotivated learners or those with poor study habits may fall behind
  • Lack of familiar structure and routine may take getting used to
  • Students may feel isolated or miss social interaction
  • Instructor may not always be available on demand
  • Different learning styles may not be addressed
  • Learners miss out on the networking opportunities of a classroom, as well as the different perspectives and experiences of co-learners
  • Learning the e-Learning software can involve a learning curve (if you get what we mean 🙂 )
  • Some courses such as traditional hands-on courses can be difficult to simulate

Candace Thille, the director of Carnegie Mellon University’s online program, put it this way: “There is something motivating about the student’s relationship with the instructor — and with the student’s relationship with other students in the class — that would be absent if each took the course in a software-only environment.”  Those relationships — with humans in the flesh — help students to persevere. Online courses are notorious for high dropout rates. And students do not receive vital feedback about their own progress that an instructor provides.

Knowing e-Learning’s advantages and disadvantages helps with selecting which mode to use as well as differentiating between different approaches to online learning. It is important to know the merits and demerits of e-Learning to make a decision.