What is it?
The term eLearning signifies learning with the support of an electronic device, technology or digital media. Since its inception and implementation in tertiary institutions in the 1970s, it has meant that students participate in learning settings that are virtual or online, where teaching materials were made available to students outside of the traditional classroom, where a certain degree of collaboration and communication between participants can take place. Of course, eLearning has been thoroughly transformed with the Internet and the ubiquity of personal mobile devices, expanding learning environments for learners on all levels. The possibilities are endless.
In my teaching
At the school where I teach, a secondary school in the 23rd district in Vienna, Austria, eLearning is being practiced in many subjects at all levels. As the eLearning and eLSA coordinator, I help foster learning practices at my school. Lessons are held in computer labs, teenagers use smartphones or tablets for learning games and research, laptops are used for writing and advanced programming and learning management systems are used to distribute and collect assignments.
Personally, I have used Google Apps for Education and especially Google Classroom this year, as well as other apps such as ClassDojo, Remind, Plickers, Quizlet and Learningapps.org to support the learning process. eLearning makes it easier to engage pupils and to differentiate their learning, giving teenagers options as to which tasks they’d like to submit or in which form. Audience Response Systems (Software) help me gauge where the learners are and where to concentrate my efforts. Our class blog allows me to showcase students‘ work. I’m lucky to be have tablets available so that the students can become independent learners, learning via discovery and through investigation.
The future of eLearning holds much promise. For example, adaptive learning software aims to provide personal and automatic feedback for each learner. Virtual reality in the classroom will open up additional avenues that will help educators to personalize learning even more and more importantly, motivate students on their learning journey.