We use the term E-learning to describe a broad spectrum of internet-based education, which unfortunately—translates into a broad spectrum of costs.
Although e-learning breaks down the barriers of tradition education and provides educators an apparatus for growth, the maintenance responsibilities inhibit mass adoption.
The hurdle: academic content must run parallel to the frenetic influx of new information and have the capacity to eliminate its own archaisms as they arise. Most software does not have the capacity to adapt this dynamically and for this reason, the frequent system updates, integrations, and installations come with a high price tag.
In academic environments, we see these reoccurring costs accumulate in computer labs, where PCs serve as a singular, e-learning access point. By storing e-learning content on individual hard drives, the lab forms a decentralized system. Decentralization limits e-learning content to a specific location and requires administrators to perform updates to the legacy systems manually, computer by computer.
So logically, the e-learning community is transitioning to centralization, tying individual computers together to form a unified network. To lay the groundwork, programmers are leveraging the cloud.
Cloud computing, a flexible and internet-based data storage hosting service, allows E-learning providers to host their proprietary software over a centralized network. The cloud allows users to access E-learning content from anywhere with a network connection, and for the university computer lab—updates are no longer a hurdle. By supporting big data and multimedia stream, cloud computing liberates providers from bandwidth limitations.
Software updates are an infrastructural imperative, increasing functionality and quality of content. Imagine a world where updates occur automatically, and are then immediately functional from all access points. This is the world of cloud commuting.
The cloud centralizes estranged systems, expediting time to market and totally eliminating the manual roll out a decentralized system requires. Administrators run updates through the cloud, rather than going through the grueling process of preforming individual system updates. Storing and implementing software from a third-party server lets administrators deploy updates and then step back, watching students access their content from all over.
Collaborative Learning Environment
Cloud-based, E-learning architecture facilitates an enriched and immersive learning experience with interactive features such as quizzes and voiceovers that challenge the user’s depth of understanding and level of retention by mirroring the traditional back and forth that comes with face-to-face instruction.
The most impactful lectures include checkpoints and group participation; we learn as much from our peers as we do from the material presented. The cloud allows remote collaboration; classmates, worlds apart, can work together on a project or power through a lesson.
By offering E-learning services over the cloud, providers take a monumental step in the right direction toward the overarching goal—to emulate tradition learning, eventually surpassing in-class instruction in effectiveness.
Reduce Your Expenses
Scholarly institutions are not the only benefactors of E-learning technology; corporations of all sizes and all industries benefit immensely from migrating from instructor-led training to E-learning training. For large corporations who onboard thousands of employees a year globally, the expense of training becomes a pain point.
By uploading their E-learning content to the cloud, organizations will not only experience significant reduction in expenses, but will gain better insight into the impact. In other words, with cloud-based e-learning administrators know exactly what to expect, knowing each user will receive the same content, access the same portal, and, in turn, have a similar take away.
Decentralized E-learning systems liberate administrators from inconsistency, but they bear the burden of IT acquisition and maintenance costs, resources that cannot be scaled to their usage.
Cloud computing leverages scalability—proprietors pay for the resources they use and nothing more. This scalability comes with unlimited bandwidth and total flexibility.
Through a centralized, cloud-based system, E-learning proctors gain insight into their users’ habits and progress. E-learning service providers use this data to provide relevant study material on problem areas or to track program effectiveness, fostering a unique E-learning ecosystem for every user.
When cloud-computing systems unearth information regarding student behavior, E-learning proctors use the information to determine what content is working and what is not.
The most compelling argument for E-learning is the flexibility it brings education, eliminating geographical barriers and time constraints. For a growing population, remote lectures could be revolutionary, giving students the power to manipulate their pace and giving teachers the tools needed to grow their sphere of influence.
Cloud computing is an opportunity for providers to extend their reach even farther and ignite a global learning community without expending any additional resources.