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Why is E-learning Vital for Early Childhood Education?

by , 13th Nov 2016

E-learning has dramatically changed the teaching and learning process in classrooms. Being described as the future of education, here we look at the benefits of e-learning.

As the use of technology grows day by day, new modes of teaching and learning have entered the world of education. The trend taking the spotlight currently is e-learning. Without a doubt, online learning benefits children and teachers alike. While it enhances children’s learning experience in the classroom, it also allows teachers to find an unlimited supply of resources. Promoting and implementing e-learning at the kindergarten level is crucial to shaping children’s educational prospects positively.

E-learning as a Learning Aid

E-learning is mainly seen as a learning aid. This is because e-learning platforms and software help children remember information more clearly, motivate them to develop working schedules, support them mentally when winning or losing, and foster interaction when working in groups.

Studies have shown that children learn by using their senses. It is assumed that the sense of sight and hearing are the most important senses in the learning process. Shepherd Chimururi, the executive director of an audio and visual learning company in Zimbabwe, observed the positive impact of both audio and visual elements in the classroom. When he compared the abilities of two children, he realized that the child who had watched a video of a trumpeting elephant had a longer lasting and clearer image of the scenario than the child who had only seen a picture of the elephant. E-learning has this positive impact on learning because children develop better hand-eye coordination and motor skills. These skills help them to form clearer images and improve their capabilities to solve problems.

Copyright: Rawpixel.com

Copyright: Rawpixel.com

Besides learning skills, e-learning can help children to develop emotional and social skills. E-learning can have a powerful impact on children’s behavior. Christopher Pappas, founder of The Industry’s Network, explains that e-learning software that uses bright colors and images can increase the engagement of learners. In practice, children are more motivated to learn when they see an interactive and colorful screen in comparison to a boring black and white map on paper. E-learning platforms also provide a range of multimedia tools which help children to communicate with other children and teachers. Through cooperation and interaction, kids learn new topics more easily and have better insights.

Computer Education

Apart from thinking about e-learning in the context of learning aids, including useful online platforms and smart hardware in classrooms, the implementation of e-learning also includes computer education.

Shepherd Chimururi highlights the importance of computer education because of its positive influence on child development. He argues that computer education facilitates a variety of skills which are also associated with employment in the areas of programming and graphic design. The basic skills required in these areas include intelligence, emotional intelligence, hand-eye coordination, mathematical skills and social competence. In the future, the majority of companies will be web-orientated in their business, and will expect employers to be able to support their business system to the core. Following this long-term scenario, Shepherd Chimururi acknowledges that children who have had the ability to develop computer operation skills from a very young age will have better life prospects as they grow older.

Copyright: MNStudio

Copyright: MNStudio

Therefore, it is crucial that subjects focusing on the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are taught playfully at the early childhood development level. Studies in Zimbabwe have shown that only a few schools have been implementing the country’s current syllabus which was outlined by its Ministry of Education. According to these studies, 90% of the observed schools at early childhood education level that claimed to offer computer studies only offered a very limited program. In addition, the study identified a few schools that showed no strategic planning, teaching, or evaluation of the recommended syllabus at all. This drawback is mainly caused by factors which have a negative impact on the acceptance and teaching of computer education such as lack of resources, lack of trained teachers, lack of information and lack of age appropriate programs. On the contrary, the training of teachers on e-learning and the access to resources is growing rapidly in the US. A recent study on the effects of media on children found that the number of preschool teachers with tablet devices in their classrooms increased from 29% to 55% between 2012 and 2014.  Ellen Wartella, a professor at Northwestern University who led the survey also concluded that there is a rising acceptance for technical devices in preschools although the technology is predominately used by teachers for administrative work.

E-Learning the future of American education

Given the fact that we use the Internet for almost anything that concerns our life, it is no surprise that schools are deciding to invest more and more in learning through digital media. It is highly likely that interactive whiteboards and other digital tools will replace traditional blackboards in the future. Children who are already confident e-learners will have an advantage in such scenarios.

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