IN THE age of information, learning is an absolute must for all, be it working professionals, housewives or a common citizen. All these rapid strides being made in the field of Information Technology, Technology in general have given new shape and dimension to learning. The need of the hour call for changing the learning model so as to adapt with the new generation dynamics. Gone are those days when learning used to be a tool for a selected few, today universal learning has taken center stage, where everyone irrespective of his caste, creed, religion or economic strata has to have direct access to learning. The emergence of the world wide web (WWW) have thrown newer vistas and geographical barriers which till now used to be the biggest roadblock has given way to knowledge for all concept where anyone and everyone can stay abreast with the latest in their respective fields. Opines, Dr. Ma'en Al Qatamin, President of Dubai based Management Training and Consultancy firm, Knowledge Horizon, "Technology should be leveraged as the biggest enabler in ensuring knowledge reaches to every nook and corner of the globe" Learning for all has to be the pillar of success for all organizations. Knowledge generation and dissemination directly or indirectly is the yardstick to measure individual and organization success. It is therefore apt for all leaner to adapt to the changing times, thereby make a perfect blend of conventional and online learning tools, culminating in maximizing knowledge and also increase the retention quotient. Learning for all, sans any discrimination should be the in thing for all types or organizations, across sectors and nationalities.
E Learning, the supplement
Electronic learning has caught up the fancy of netizens from all across the globe. Professionals like managers, entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, advocates etc. would prefer to log into the google search engine more than their domain related thesaurus as the former provides them a wide gamut of options, which might not be the case with a thesaurus. A sensible and intelligent learner would always love to supplement his contemporary learning with that of the e learning, feels, Santosh Ranjan, Director, Knowledge Horizon, India operations. The novel learning tool of e learning is the biggest supplementary tool and for many it also acts as complementary tool. One has to understand whether to leverage e learning as a complementary or supplementary tool, but one simply con not do away with the e learning methodology in this era of information and technology, like it or not, e learning is here to stay. There are companies, which have started pioneering works in the arena of e learning with a mind to simplify learning and also to take learning to the length and breadth of the globe. This is the time when every leaner irrespective of their area of operations, background and taste need to embrace the concept of e learning so as t o optimize the resources available for a better learning loop.
E learning only for techno-savvy citizens!
The million-dollar question that haunts many a wannable learner, is whethere e learning is meant only for the techno-savvy leaner, i.e. The classes or the masses? Prima facie it appears to be the case where technical revolutions are the devices for the technical haves and not for the have-nots. The rapid pace of technology, computers and mobile phone penetration is turning the tide in favour of the masses rather than the lasses. Today the world is witnessing faster expansion and assimilation, courtesy technology and emerging economies like India, China, and Russia are a pointer to this fact. The underdeveloped nations from the Sub-Saharan region is also improving with every passing day and the day is not far when those backward area of the planet would also do the catching up with their more accomplished peers, as learning is available electronically. The world might be divided on the availability of resources viz. Faculties, trainers, text books, however, the same can be compensated very well through the electronic mode where resources from the part of the planet can be shared and judiciously used by the other end of the planet. For all this happen. What is required is to have the right mindset, where everyone takes up the onus of creating, sharing and evaluation knowledge through the electronic mode in the larger interest of the human kind.
Benefits of e Learning
e. learning has many benefits if leveraged judiciously along with conventional learning tools. E. learning tools as discussed earlier can also be utilized individually for selective target audiences. Adds, Santosh Ranjan, e. learning tools are handy and user friendly for practicing managers, who would like to increase their theoretical concepts by blending with their practical notions. Executives from industry, practicing managers and entrepreneurs would prefer learning tool, which would simply learning and at the same time gave them the ore understanding of the topic, thereby increasing the applicability and retention quotient of the reader. E. learning tools are concise presentation of a topic which would allow the reader to grab the underlying meaning along with the application related dynamics.
Broadly speaking e. learning provides the following benefits-
Easy to understand and comprehend
Can be shared with many on the web for a composite learning by gathering inputs from experts all across the globe
Can be revised while on the move
Handy for last moment preparations for making a presentation, business plan
Can be updated, modified at a short notice
Room for innovation, creativity while for mulating knowledge reinforcement exercises
Can reach the nook and corner wherever, there is internet penetration
Bring, students globally on a similar pedestal
Economical proposition vis-a-vis setting up a stock of books
Round the clock availability on the web, overcoming time and geographical constraints.
Dr. Ma'en Al Qatamin was vocal in saying "e learning would be an effective tool in bridging the knowledge divide existing in the planet". One tool which can bring a backward person at par with his developed peer form the other part of the globe is by making the knowledge available in those areas, which lacks physical resources like libraries, college and other formal and organized set up. Governments form various countries can join hands under the banner of international banners like UNICEF to make these e. learning tools available, as they are economical and highly effective. The companies working in this sphere have understood the significance of th teaching model through the web and therefore are investing huge sums or the overall development of the human fraternity.
One challenge which is encountered by the proponents of e learning is that the conventional academicians, managers, practitioners or even entrepreneurs are little apprehensive about this model fearing their loss of identity and also the need to upgrade their on-line working skill sets repertoire. This is more of a myth which can very well be broken once they understand the advantages they are going to accrue after embracing e learning with the conventional methodologies.
The way forward
The way forward for all and sundry is to leverage the conventional learning methodologies with that of the new generation techniques, notably e learning techniques, as globalization, privatization and liberalization have together made this world a small village where there are no physical barriers. The experts often sy that traveling all across the globe not only makes you more intelligent but also enables you to understand the similarities human kind have in general, irrespective of differences in language, nationalities, culture, ethnicity etc. The modern era of communication and technology can take you for a globe trotting journey even while you are seated in your computer. Virtual learning has compensated the absence of physical movements required to understand the differences in dynamics at various parts of the globe. A student pursuing an MBA from Harvard has access to the same materials like that of his peer pursuing a course of study in Africa. This is a miracle which can only be seen if one uses technology as an enabler and goes for a blended approach of conventional and e learning. Happy learning!
(The author is an independent Management Trainer and Consultant) He can be reached at [email protected]