Electronic learning or eLearning refers to computer-enhanced learning. It uses Internet technologies to deliver a broad array of approaches that enhance learners’ knowledge and performance(1)(2)(3). It is usually associated with the field of advanced learning technology, which deals with both the technologies and associated methodologies in learning using networked and/or multimedia. Common synonyms for eLearning are Web-based learning, online learning, distributed learning, computer-assisted instruction, or Internet-based learning.
Internet has revolutionized teaching by allowing learners to have direct access to knowledge and to new pedagogical approaches. The history of eLearning is accessible on Wikipedia.
Since HSeT embarked on eLearning in immunology, the advantages of web-based teaching methods have become clear. Immunology Online, HSeT’s first eLearning program, was developed as a partnership between the federated Swiss Medical schools and the Swiss Virtual Campus. Its success has sparked a number of new national and international eTraining collaborations.
HSeT’s philosophy is simple: create unique learning experiences for trainees to build human capacity in the health sciences around the world in both industrialized and resource constrained settings.
HSeT moves beyond electronic textbooks by using:
• High quality animation to convey complex concepts
• Novel pedagogical techniques
• eLearning blended with face-to-face teaching
• A highly adaptable Learning Management System
Advantages of eLearning
A way to renew teaching
A way to enhance a variety of learning experiences. The attention of learners can be captured in new ways by combining text, animation, video and simulation that facilitates understanding of complex concepts. This is a particularly helpful approach for the biomedical sciences.
Flexibility and convenience
Students with access to a global panel of subject experts and fosters collaboration between students from different cultural contexts or working environments. The trainees can work anywhere provided there is an internet connection and can proceed at their own pace.
A way to renew teaching
Institutions adopting eLearning have realized that this approach requires an investment in content development, web design, disseminating training, and site maintenance. Nonetheless, academic, non-governmental and industry partners are investing in the promise of increased accessibility to up-to-date training to support their respective capacity building efforts. Investments in eLearning are expected to reach 40 Million Euro in the upcoming years, most of which will be allocated to lifelong learning program initiatives. The initial cost of an eLearning implementation is expensive, but the cost of training decreases drastically as more learners use the eLearning course material.