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Education is not just a word, it’s a base for everything that makes a person successful, from a daily labourer to the president of the country, everything is based on education. And therefore it is very important that it flows via proper medium so that the objective is achieved.

One such medium is via internet which is becoming a necessity in this modern era.All we need to know is the correct way and explore the wonderful opportunities offered by it.

But before you start exploring them, let me just provide you with some guides I have here to help you understand the concept of education via internet and social networking and learn how to leverage the power of internet and social networking in your education and professional development.

I found a study carried out on The Use of Social Networking Sites in Education by learned people on internet which I would like to share with you people here today.

The purpose of this research was to find out how internet and social networking create a positive effect when used in education and to investigate teachers' opinions about the Online learning environment. This experimental study was carried out in primary and secondary schools with teachers who use Facebook. The study took six weeks .The teachers attended lessons and accessed materials online and offline, in face-to-face learning environment. Moreover, they were able to co-operate and share information with their colleagues via Facebook. The study sample consisted of teachers from primary and secondary school who constituted a blended learning group and teachers from primary and high school who formed an online learning group that enrolled in the material development for Facebook course. These teachers were chosen randomly. The participation was anonymous and the study was carried out amongst volunteered teachers. Data was collected using a questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of 39 positive statements about Facebook. It was completed by teachers at the beginning (pre-experience test) and the end of the study (post-experience test). Results show that, if used for educational purposes, Facebook could bring about a positive change in teachers' opinions. Results also indicate that online virtual environment helps teachers to do many activities with online classes, which is not possible to do in schools. Teachers are convinced that this environment helps students not only to improve their team work, but also to improve their learning skills. And hence based on the findings, recommendations are made about using Facebook in education.

Lets now try to understand what exactly this term e-Learning is?

Going in simple words, one can put it as learning which is carried out over the internet that is via network is called e-learning

Technically,E-learning refers to the use of electronic media and technologies in education. E-learning is inclusive of all forms of educational technology in learning and teaching. E-learning includes multimedia learning, computer-based training (CBT),internet-based training (IBT), web-based training (WBT), online education, virtual education,

E-learning can occur in or out of the classroom. Although E-learning is suited to distance learning and flexible learning, but it can also be used in conjunction with face-to-face teaching, in which case the term blended learning is commonly used.

So basically E-learning refers to the use of technology in learning and education.

E-learning has an educational approach or tool that supports traditional subjects. Similarly, e-learning as a technological mediumassists in the communication of knowledge, and its development and exchange. Moreover, e-learning is a Study Medium without Teacher and Physical Classroom and most importantly e-learning is beneficial Economically because of no use of Paper & Pencil.

But again the definition is not limited to the above, it is broader in every sense. This "e" of e learning should be interpreted to mean "exciting, energetic, enthusiastic, emotional, extended, excellent, and educational" in addition to "electronic." This broad interpretation focuses on new applications and developments, and also brings learning and media psychology into consideration. Ratherthis "e" should refer to "everything, everyone, engaging, easy".

"Virtual" is used in that broader way to describe a course that is not taught in a classroom face-to-face but through a substitute mode that can conceptually be associated "virtually" with classroom teaching, which means that people do not have to go to the physical classroom to learn. Accordingly, virtual education refers to a form of distance learning in which course content is delivered by various methods such as course management applications, multimedia resources, and videoconferencing. Students and instructors communicate via these technologies.

Educational institutions began to take advantage of the new medium by offering distance learning courses using computer networking for information. The biggest one which we can see is the growth of satellite centres in the past one decade who impart knowledge via the best teachers in the education industry using the satellite medium. This has not just led to convenience but also saved a lot of time for students whoearlier spent so much time on commuting. Also the system of watching the classes later has led to a major change in the concept clearance of the students which earlier wasn’t possible in case a student wasn’t able to attend his lectures.

The emergence of e-learning is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools available to the growing need for education. This has allowed students who desire to pursue their education but are constricted due to the distance of the institution to achieve education through "virtual connection" newly available to them. Online education is rapidly increasing and becoming as a viable alternative for traditional classrooms.

Now we might argue that there might be some cons as well of the same. One of them can be that how will the poor people have access to such technologies. Well I have an answer for this question, the answer to his question lies in a study carried out by researchers where they found that low-income students are in many ways just as technologically proficient as their counterparts

The study found that, of the students observed, 94 percent used the Internet, 82 percent go online at home and 77 percent had a profile on a social networking site. When asked what they learn from using social networking sites, the students listed technology skills as the top lesson, followed by creativity, being open to new or diverse views and communication skills.

"What was found was that students using social networking sites are actually practicing the kinds of 21st century skills we want them to develop to be successful today,". "Students are developing a positive attitude towards using technology systems, editing and customizing content and thinking about online design and layout. They're also sharing creative original work like poetry and film and practicing safe and responsible use of information and technology. The Web sites offer tremendous educational potential."

So we can see this very clearly that social networking sites offer much more than just social fulfilment or professional networking

This in fact also has implications for educators, who now have a vast opportunity to support what students are learning on the Web sites. "Now they will know what skills students are learning and what experiences they're being exposed to, we can help foster and extend those skills,"

By understanding how students may be positively using these networking technologies in their daily lives and where the yet unrecognized educational opportunities are, we can help make schools even more relevant, connected and meaningful to kids."

E-learning may either be synchronous or asynchronous. Synchronous learning occurs in real-time, with all participants interacting at the same time, while asynchronous learning is self-paced and allows participants to engage in the exchange of ideas or information without the dependency of other participants′ involvement at the same time.

Synchronous learning involves the exchange of ideas and information with one or more participants during the same period of time. A face-to-face discussion is an example of synchronous communications. In e-learning environments, examples of synchronous communications include online real-time live teacher instruction and feedback, Skype conversations, or chat rooms or virtual classrooms where everyone is online and working collaboratively at the same time

So we can see that we are nearly very close to an era where the effectiveness of online instruction will be considered equal to that of face-to-face classroom instructions

All we need is a proper system in place which motivates the people in general to make use to this technologically based system to the maximum capacity possible. 

By: CA Rishabh Ahuja


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