Digital learning is an innovative method that integrates technology with the process of learning. Digital learning can be implemented across any areas or fields of learning. With the advent of smartphones and computers, the processes of learning have evolved rapidly. Today, digital learning involves—
1. Digital classrooms: Online webinars conducted is best example of virtual classroom.
2. Digital textbooks: A plethora of e-books, google books, pdf/docs of books, notes in jpegs etc are available on internet which serve as resource for digital books.
3. Digital Lectures: Video lectures on various subjects and topics are available on YouTube and various institutions these days provide video lectures for e-learning.
4. Digital Notebooks: With the help touch phones and stylus an electronic device can be very easily used as a notebook and notes can be saved in the form of word documents/pdfs etc.
Let us understand the benefits of digital learning.
5. Learn anytime and anywhere: The development in e-learning technology has provided such facilities with which, students can learn from anywhere and anytime. The online webinars(virtual classrooms) can be attended from home/work, video lectures can be watched any time and any number of times, digital textbooks can be accessed from home/library etc.
6. Spread Knowledge widely: Digital platforms allow instructors to reach to more students, often by orders of magnitude than via on-campus courses. Instructors can disseminate new ideas more quickly, touching more people and impacting more lives.
7. Personalised Learning Experience: Think of online courses as self directed education. The trainer will help build up a structure for each course, but you’re ultimately in charge of personalizing the experience to suit your needs & preferences.
8. Learn at your own pace: Digital learning allows students to learn at own pace. Students can view videos as many times as they need to fully understand the topic.
9. Faster Delivery: Quicker delivery cycle times than traditional classroom based instruction. Research indicates, e-learning reduces time by at least 25% to 60% when compared to traditional learning.
10. Reduction in Paper usage: For digital learning, internet is the most important tool and most exams are conducted online. Neither the professor nor the students need to carry paper bundles. Digital textbooks, Digital notes etc help in reduction of paper usage.
Every technology has disadvantages attached with its advantages. Let us understand the disadvantages of Digital Learning:
1. Dependency on Technology: All forms of digital learning requires internet connection. In the absence of which, learning is either halted or stopped completely.
Reduction in creative abilities: All content is very easily available on internet. This reduces thinking and creative imagination ability of students.
2. Lazy approach towards studies: Digital learning can also make students forget the basic way of studying. Even for simple problems & homework, they rely on internet for information. This may lead to poor study habits and can develop in students a lazy attitude towards studies.
3. Students might feel isolated: E-learning reduces personal connections with other students that one would get in schools/colleges. Even though there are chat rooms and other such tools available to connect with other like-minded students, the personal connection somehow gets lost. But, for this, there are alternatives, such as, GATE School, UPSC Pathshala, IELTS Ninja, which provide study circles on online platforms. Here, the students are connected to their peers across the country. A student can compare his/her preparation with others, exchange notes, news, discuss studies etc.
Considering all the advantages and disadvantages, it can be summed up as, the internet has created an environment that encourages learning, so why not take advantage of it? Distance education has existed for more than a decade now (and even longer before that, through extension courses). Just as you can learn from people in your community, you can learn from instructors who have the experience and knowledge necessary to teach you new skills. It’s time to abandon the notion that education only happens in classrooms and within ivy-draped walls. It happens every day, whether it means reading a book, exploring a new blog, or taking an online course. It’s time to take advantage of the many educational opportunities available to you.

About the Author

Akshay Palande

Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.

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