The use of computers has made it easy for students to access the internet and learn online. A good example is the ‘one laptop per child’ initiative that has enabled a number of learners to access computers, hence, making research easy. E-learning is utilising electronic technologies to access educational curriculums outside of a traditional classroom setting.
E-learning can be in form of emails, live lectures, and video conferencing. This permits all the participants to give their insight on a particular topic and then discuss it further. It can also facilitate other learning materials that can be printed for the advantage of all the participants.
Pupils use laptops for learning. File.
According to Casimir Manirareba, a language teacher at Lycee Notre-Dame de Citeaux, Nyarugenge, e-learning is a network that enables the transfer of skills and knowledge, and the delivery of education to a large number of recipients at the same or different times.
He says e-learning acts as a mediator between students and teachers. For instance, they can learn online and exchange views, participate in discussions and engage in forums. However, their connectivity with their teachers is also improved due to time flexibility and online support provided by teachers.
Martha Nassolo, a teacher at Little Bears Montessori School, says that e-learning helps in creating and communicating new training, policies, concepts, and ideas in formal education, entertainment, and is a quick way of learning.
She explains that e-learning helps in effectiveness, that is to say, it makes it easy to grasp the content and digest it, and it reflects in enhanced scores on certifications, tests, or other types of evaluation.
Manirareba says that e-learning enhances the ability to study, since education is the most important tool of any nation’s development.
In Rwanda, schools have also started using it; it is used for research amongst teachers and students, watching videos, tutorials, illustrations on YouTube, and communication among education stakeholders like parents, MINEDUC or REB, district and sector education officials, school owners, teachers and students.
“As teachers or facilitators, we need to help our students learn through all the senses (sight, touching, auditory, smelling, tasting). To do this, we need to use the internet to download some audio-visual materials, pictures, illustrations, among others, that are clearer, motivating or interesting for learners,” he explains.
Manirareba adds that while doing research, either in groups or individually, it is easier and quicker when students use the internet to learn about the given topics. In addition, this research is well done; they can find additional information that is not found in printed books, issues or news, which is important to know.
Manirareba notes that teachers are also permanent learners; they need to refresh their competences regularly. Teachers should advance their learning through taking short courses online that can make them better.
He adds that teachers should also take tests online to get certificates from international organisations; trials like, Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Duolingo, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), among others, as these tests and courses can also be taken by our students as well.
Nassolo says that e-learning enables students to manage their time as they have to be online at a given time; it is also stress-free since there is no panic that one hasn’t attended class. Learning is also flexible, as you learn at your own convenience.
According to Aggrey Buhungiro, a teacher at Kigali Parents School, e-learning is easy since students don’t need to travel for lectures, which saves money and time. They can also do their jobs comfortably and study with in their free time.
He says, studying online allows learners deal with advanced facilitators who are highly qualified from different countries, either from Cambridge, or different institutions, thus acquiring a wide range of information.
Buhungiro explains that the main benefit of learning online is that it ensures that one is synchronised with modernity. This enables the learner to access updated content whenever they want it.
“Students can choose to study specific and relevant areas of the learning material without focusing on each and every area. It also gives chance to learners to get a higher degree of coverage to communicate the message in a consistent way for their target audience,” he states.