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Is Everyone a Qualified Candidate for E-Learning?

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen•edited by: Amanda Grove•updated: 8/1/2010

Are you asking yourself, is everyone qualified for e-learning? If so, read on to learn about the pros and cons of e-learning.

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    Whether or not everyone is qualified for e-learning is a question that is becoming increasingly common due to so many opportunities to pursue a college degree online. Online learning is now common-place and respectable and it gives people the chance to obtain their college education from anywhere and at any time that is convenient to them. However, e-learning has its challenges and it is not for everyone.

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    Convenience and Flexibility

    E-learning provides a lot of convenience and flexibility which is beneficial for many students, but it is a barrier for others. With flexibility comes the need for discipline. Online students must complete their work without supervision. There will be assignment deadlines, but they aren't as strict as brick and mortar schools. Students have to make themselves sign into their class and complete their assignments. They have to create a study plan and discipline themselves to stick to it.

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    Computer with Internet Access

    In order to be a successful e-learner, students must have regular, convenient, and easy access to a computer and the internet. The computer must also contain all necessary software as required by the student's college or university. A computer with internet access is not cheap so the student must either have one already or be able to afford one, along with continuous internet access. Students must ensure they will be able to use a computer at any time of day for as long as they need it to complete their assignments.

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    Computer Literacy

    Students must have intermediate computer skills in order to successfully obtain an online degree. Whether or not everyone is qualified for e-learning falls heavily on computer skills. Students will need to be proficient in using the internet, a word processing program, and other basics, such as opening, creating and sharing files, uploading and downloading documents, using printers and scanners, and any other computer-related activity as required by their degree, chosen major, and college or university.

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    Forums and Message Boards

    Student interaction is most often completely through forums and message boards. Students will complete assignments and post them on a board or forum. Once they post their assignment they will be expected to analyze, debate, and discuss the topic of the assignment with their fellow students. They will also often be expected to look at what the other students posted and agree or disagree while backing up their opinion.

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    Self-Learning

    E-learners must be prepared to teach themselves for the most part. Their teacher will provide guidelines, objectives, and assignments, but the student must take the time to read, take notes, and learn on their own. There is no open classroom where students can ask questions and get instant answers. Questions are handled via email or message boards and most teachers take about 24 hours to respond to students. Students who need a more hand-held approach or an observational approach may not be a good fit for online learning.