Information Technology has continued to evolve with a remarkable effect on the teaching and learning experience in the world over. The use of Information technology in Education is generally referred to as technology-based learning or eLearning. E-learning is being employed increasingly and at all levels of education. Major advantages are listed below.
Due to time constraints teachers can not ensure that all learners are able to understand a module or lesson before moving on to the next stage. With the aid of computers, learners can study at their own pace. Learners are given access to both interactive and non-interactive learning instructional materials, computers become the tutors and learners are able to go review the learning materials as many times as possible until they are able to gain understanding.
Removing the Barriers of Distance, Time and Cost
Far and above traditional distant learning, Information technology provides enhanced distant education. Learning can take place in many ways without physical contact, anywhere and anytime. Thanks to IT, people can earn a degree or qualification in universities and colleges of choice without the need to travel, thereby cutting down on cost and time. University or colleges awarding a degree/qualification can be located in almost any country in the world with Internet access. Students can access their institution’s Intranet from home and download study and session materials.
Adults are given another opportunity to go for higher education whilst they are working, or to improve on their professional qualifications. Women do not have to leave their young children to attend colleges or earn a degree; this can be done from home.
Students who ordinarily may have been unable to attend college or university due to certain disabilities have the opportunity to do so with the aid of assistive technologies.
Wide Variety of Learning Tools
Teaching and learning can be achieved through a wide range of technologies and these have continued to grow very rapidly. Delivery technologies include video and audio tapes, Television broadcasts, emails, discussion boards, online chat rooms, podcasting, videocasting, virtual classrooms, teleconferencing or videoconferencing and similar applications of software and hardware.
Instructional materials can also be downloaded from the Internet, Intranet or Extranet painlessly. The use of these tools makes learning more interesting and encourages collaboration among learners and teachers.
It is not uncommon to use social networking sites as e-learning tools. Examples of social communication tools that are commonly used for e-learning are blogs, Skpe, Facebook, Wikis, Twitter, Ning, Filkr and You-Tube
Also, due to the fact that students have a wide variety of learning technologies at their disposal, they can decide to use a mode of learning that best suit their learning styles.
Easy Access to External Resources
With the advent of Information technology, doing research or self study has never been made easier. Students, teachers and researchers have easy access to general resources such as e-libraries, online dictionaries, thesaurus, research sites and reference books. The World Wide Web itself is a network full of free and accessible information.
The application of Information technology to education has brought about lots of advantages and benefits to the educational system. These include enhanced self-spaced learning, removal of distance and time constraints, as well as reduction in cost.
One major disadvantage is that because of the rapid way in which technology changes and evolves, many educational infrastructures tend to become obsolete and the need to invest in newer technologies arises rather frequently. However, it is important to stress that the advantages of IT tend to overshadow the disadvantages.