Benefits of technology in learning
As the world advances in learning, efforts have been made by man to make use of technological developments to enhance learning to be able to promote learning in all its forms and facilitate learning and acquisition of knowledge.
It is for this reason that the way we learn today is changing from one form to the other. Many ears ago, face-to-face learning was the common practice in many parts of the world. This is what is known as traditional learning system. Today, this mode of learning has changed.
TRADITIONAL LEARNING SYSTEM
In many places, the traditional way of learning is being combined with technology in learning. For example, the traditional method of learning is being enriched by technological advancement through PowerPoint presentations and online learning. Some tertiary institutions refer to online learning as alternative learning. This form of alternative learning helps people all over the world to access learning materials irrespective of where they are located and also the nature of their work schedule.
Learning is the process of acquiring new knowledge, skills or values. It deals also with updating already acquired knowledge. Books and apprenticeship were predominantly used in acquiring new skills, but nowadays, with the help of technology, everything has been made simpler. In the past, the main source of information was the library.
BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY
With the help of technological devices such as computers and routers, information can be accessed from almost any location. Also, technology has found a way to solve problems associated with the older systems of learning. What all this means is that life has been made simpler and that man can take advantage of the benefits of technology to improve the social wellbeing in terms of learning.
The use of technology in learning, it is clear, has come to stay because it has brought great improvement in line with advancing knowledge to various categories of learners irrespective of their levels or where they are physically located. If technology has made this possible then it will be unwise for anyone to do away with technology in learning since obviously this will turn back the clock of progress in society.
Technological development overall started in a simple, gradual process. Man started making use of stones and other natural gadgets to develop himself. With time, this advanced into simple metals such as cutlasses and other tools used by man to promote social development at a certain level. This process has continued gradually until today when sophisticated implements, tools and gadget have been manufactured for use by man.
COLLABORATION IN LEARNING
Technology has continued in advancement until today making it possible for computers, phones, and other devices to be used in learning. This development has proved positive in the sense that it has helped to facilitate learning.
Technology has improved collaboration in learning. This is because both teachers and learners can interact outside the classroom or learning centre. When students have questions, a platform can be created to enable students to ask these questions and contribute as well. Before the spread of technology, when students had problems with a course or topic of any sort, the library was the major option.
There could also be friends and family with experience, but this is not guaranteed and is highly unlikely. This merit of technology has gone a long way in learning. The disadvantage about this is the fact that the learner is limited to a particular learning resource when so many can be explored. This is one of the ways technology has rendered services to learners.
EFFECTIVE USE OF TIME
Due to unforeseen circumstances, there can be a situation where either the teacher or learner, or both, will not be able to make it to the class. When this is the case, valuable time is either lost or wasted, and the students or learners start to lag behind. Now, even when these events occur, students are still able to learn because the teacher can forward learning materials to them. For example, if a lecturer or instructor is sick and cannot make it to a class, he or she can show the class the areas to read for that session. This paves the way for effective use of time.
There are some people who study better when with other people. But what happens when they are home and there is no one to study with? Everyone has different ways of learning. There are visual, auditory, read-and-write and kinaesthetic learners. Some are a combination of the four learning styles. Based on this, it can be said that it is not everyone who can use the library because it is not everyone who studies by reading.
In other words, we can say that the library being the only source of information serves as a disadvantage to some. With the help of technology, tutorial videos, audio books, online articles and images can be accessed to suit the various styles that people use to study. Briefly, we can say that technology aids individual learning.
Aside all this, it can also be said that it equips individuals with computer and other technological skills because of regular usage. Though what is being studied may not be about technology, it is very likely to acquire knowledge on how to use a technological device.
When a lay person goes to the library and that library is equipped with computers, the person can be taught some basic tasks or operations. These tasks may include turning on a computer, opening the browser and connecting to the internet and turning off a computer and so on.
ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES
Some people may say technology has been a bad influence on the current generation and will be an even greater ‘disease’ to the up-and-coming generations. Some also say that learning and technology do not correlate because it serves as a distraction and increases laziness. This, however, is a very ignorant thing to say because technology has made learning very entertaining and has broadened the scope of learning also.
It was earlier stated that technology in learning boosts collaboration, makes up for time wasted, helps equip learners with technological skills and encourages individual learning. It is agreed that technology could be a menace in learning, but it is up to the user to determine that. Despite all this, technology has been effective with learning and has reaped so many benefits.
In conclusion, technology in learning can have its advantages and disadvantages. However, in the midst of the realities of today – pressure on time, staying in long distance spaces, difficulties in making oneself available for learning etc – it is clear that the benefits from technology in learning far overweigh continuous learning without technology or learning face to face.
By Dr. Kofi Amposah – Bediako
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