Technology…well, which area of human life has it not changed? People who have no idea of how a mobile phone works use smartphones for everything ranging from choosing the best weather conditions for harvesting and finding the nearest market for the grains they have grown to knowing exactly where their children’s school bus is located at any point of its journey. Given the multitude of ways in which technology has pervaded our lives, does it surprise that this tool should also become a force to reckon with in the education industry?
Education is such a huge and heterogeneous market that trying to make an estimate of it is something like asking how much cotton the world grows. One may produce figures, but making sense of these figures requires some element of discernment. The sheer variety and nature of educational systems around the world baffle the mind. Given this humungous diversity of the spread of education globally, it is not surprising that technology should make sharp inroads into this field.
Enter, the idea of MOOC
The infusion of technology into education has led to the birth of what is called MOOC -short for Massive Open Online Courses. The name is pretty much suggestive of what this means. Like every other offshoot of technology; MOOC too, brings its share of pluses and minuses. But then, as in the case of most other such developments, its benefits clearly outweigh its drawbacks. To start on the benefits side, the whole rigidity surrounding traditional education can be broken with online education. Governments and private educational institutions can save massive amounts of money that they put on making education possible, in the form of buildings, maintenance, expenses on administration, etc.
The biggest thing with MOOC is that reputed universities have jumped on the bandwagon, which means that someone in a remote village of Africa can learn a course structured and taught by some University of the reputation of Yale or Stanford! Of course, we are still not yet there, but this scenario is a perfect possibility, given the extent to which technology is penetrating the remotest areas of the world.
One may argue that the discipline and standards associated with the present system of education may be lacking in online courses. While this point is very valid, one has to see how this can be overcome. There is enough reason to believe that the community of educators will join hands and come up with some kind of a viable solution to this problem at a not-so-distant point of time in the future.
Well, that brings us to the next question: if one has to take up online education, what should she look for? Which are the top online course platforms that offer relevant and high-quality education through this alternative medium? We have assembled here a small, but very pertinent list of five amazing e-learning websites that offer valuable alternative mediums of education:
Udemy: One wouldn’t be exaggerating if one said that today’s online education market is synonymous with Udemy. This is an online educational platform whose name just anyone who has heard of online education is likely to have heard.
Simpliv: Simpliv has a lofty goal-that of bringing education to simply anyone and everyone who wants to learn. Its objective is to remove the elitism out of education and offer any course that anyone wants to learn in her areas of interest.
Coursera: Coursera is another solid name to reckon with in the area of online education. Its spread of courses is simply amazingly vast. One is not likely to miss any course on any topic of one’s interest.
Khan Academy: Another name for reliable and high-quality online courses, Khan Academy is known more for the enormous collection of its free courses.
Academic Earth: This is one of those rare learning platforms, and is chosen to complete our list of five amazing e-learning websites that offer valuable alternative mediums of education simply because it wants to take education to the most disadvantaged sections of the world’s population. This aim is certainly laudable, and if it succeeds, this online platform would have made quite a difference to the world of education.