Cyberspace has been a venue for many things done in real life. There is online chat, where we met and greet with old friends, e-Bay where we can shop for items we want and there is streaming for our movies, music, and other entertainment needs. As more everyday life activities are offered in the internet, the more time people spend surfing the net than doing real social activities.
Education has also found a venue in the World Wide Web. Elearning is a new technology enhanced learning or to simplify online learning system. It is also sometimes referred to as computer based learning where students study their lesson through a simulated learning environment program. In some cases, an overall instructor teaches students and trainees via web connection. This online learning system offers various courses such as: business administration, health care and other professional courses. In this simulated or virtual learning classroom, students do not meet face-to-face nor personally interact with their instructor and fellow students. As this learning system teaches students remotely from real-life school activities with no social interaction, many are asking is this what lays ahead for our education system?
According to social research, E.Q. or Emotion Quotient is as vital as I.Q. in performing well at work and everyday living. With many students patronizing online learning system, many are asking: “will this system be able to produce a professional working force?” The U.S. Department of Education confirms that students who took up online learning perform better than those students in schools. However with healthcare related course where values such as care, compassion, and hospitality are of essence, how can a computer simulated program teach these to the online students?
The older generation believes that the traditional way is still the best when it comes to teaching the young generation. They believe that computer programs are unable to teach values to online students, mainly because although computers may have a vast stored knowledge, it does not have what we humans have: emotion. Real life experience is said to be the best teacher, experiencing to do something whether it was a successful or failed effort, it still teaches valuable lessons to those who experienced it.
Human interactions like: creating circle of friends, student- teacher relationship, camaraderie and bonding with relatives are what makes a professional successful. Interacting with different people from all walks of life helps students deal with their co-worker, subordinates, customers, clients, superiors and all the type of people they will meet once they work as young urban professionals. No amount of hours spent in front of the computer screen will be able to replace actual human interaction, so many are still skeptical about the online learning system, especially the older generation.
Learning the lessons of life can only be learned if one experiences it, no amount of rigid training can prepare an individual for what life has to offer if that individual never experience living and experiencing life at first hand. However we cannot deny technology because it is the only way to go. Maybe it is too early to say that the online learning system can not incorporate values in its simulated learning programs, perhaps it’s only a matter of time until virtual classroom can fully interact with its learners. One can say that Elearning is a work in progress in teaching and producing social responsible professionals.