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How technology can liberate learners

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Ralph La Fontaine considers today’s not-so-modern education system and how technology is dragging it into the 21st century

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Ralph La Fontaine considers today’s not-so-modern education system and how technology is dragging it into the 21st century

In association with Home Learning College by Avado




Education has changed relatively little over the last century. Learning still usually entails an expert imparting their knowledge to a room full of people taking notes, who with any luck get to ask some questions at the end. The worst part is, it has been this way for as long as we can remember.

Even in the professional learning and development sphere, e-learning is sometimes considered just an imitation of the real thing. This is unsurprising if you look at some of the dreary content out there, which does e-learning no favours.

It’s because of this that many questions arise whether e-learning can compete with the classroom, despite the rise of innovative digital learning technologies. The time has come to say that e-learning can more than just compete with face-to-face, it’s actually superior.


  1. Technology works

The recent economic crisis resulted in businesses making cuts as a matter of urgency. Instead of attending courses, a lot of workplace training started to be delivered online. This was successful both in terms of learning and cost-effectiveness, meaning many companies have had no reason to move away from this trend.

And why would they? Though e-learning tools of the past may have been tricky to use and unaccommodating of learners’ needs, in the digital age there are a whole host of modern solutions that help make content inspiring, relevant and engaging. As many solutions have user experience at the centre of their design, learners can absorb knowledge through a variety of channels – weaving in and out of the digital world, using knowledge learnt online in face-to-face real world scenarios.

  1. Digital lets you be different

Over the years there’s been a lot of chatter on different learning styles that need to be catered to. Though much of this has been disproved, we all undeniably have our preferred ways of taking in information, both mentally and physically. Remote learning allows us to be more flexible in our approach to education, taking advantage of the many personal factors that enable us to absorb more information.

  1. E-learning is for everyone

Simply making it to a classroom can be challenging for some learners, especially those in remote locations or for groups who are spread across different geographies to try to learn together. For those with mobility problems or other disabilities, getting to the right place at the right time can be prohibitive; others might find the social aspect of classroom learning intimidating.

E-learning dismantles all of these barriers, allowing learners to study on their own terms. A digital classroom is accessible to all, making online study ultimately more empowering than face-to-face.

  1. On-demand teachers

If your business has specialist needs, training can be pretty pricey. Training consultants in specialist fields not only have an expensive day rate, but also other costs that need to be factored in. Once you’ve added up hotels, transport, venue and lunch, you might find the bill is way beyond your budget.

For this reason, businesses are increasingly looking to accessing these trainers digitally, via methods such as webinars. This saves not only money but also time, resulting in more possible learning opportunities. This logic applies not only to specialist training, but also the everyday. Why send a colleague halfway across the country for a course in digital marketing when they can tune in via their laptop? Given the flexibility and empowerment it offers students, e-learning far surpasses face-to-face.


Ralph La Fontaine is managing director of digital distance learning platform Home Learning College

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