Up-to-date technological tools enable humanity to concentrate on various aspects of any subject than merely memorizing data. This offers him immense possibilities for assimilation and interpretation of information. It is arguable whether the multi-media technologies have improved or worsened the rational and communicative abilities of humankind. The World Wide Web is definitely one of those contemporary information tools that encourage us to absorb what we see, rather than think it over and analyze.
The Internet has established itself as a powerful catalyst of the average man’s requirements, which facilitates them in a short period of time. In its original stage of development, the Internet was a mediator that was regarded as an expedient information tool, which could help people to maintain communication process efficiently at a fraction of the costs that were involved when using well-known and rather conservative methods of communication (Gomolski, 2001). Nevertheless, it became obvious and clear that the main aim of the Internet was to promote a unique contact model: one, with minimized communication quality levels.
One significant transformation that the internet bore, which differs from other media content, is that people even using the World Wide Web for a short period of time, will never run out the portion of flavor to it, as the Internet is a type of service which satisfies communication and informational needs of any user (Feenberg, 2007). Unlike the on-air mass-media services (TV and Radio), which lose their originality, Internet has been successful in the fascinating audience. It happens because of the spaceless amount of information, its dynamically changing nature, and the increasing number of services that are being added to it. It seems that the services that are regularly being added to Internet have changed their appeal among users towards the better side. The Internet tends to transform from the entertainer to the daily tool of information delivery. This is one of the most important factors that have enhanced the status of the Internet as a popular facilitator of e-Learnings (Feenberg, 2007).
According to Gomolski (2001), the exceptional features of the Internet that facilitate e-Learning are:
- It is a tool for getting any necessary information from all over the world. It fully eliminates geographical and state borders
- It is comfortable to use, it is convenient due to its accessibility
- It provides authentic opportunities for all users
- Internet is interactive
- Tools available online can be personalized
- It uses multi-media, which makes it more colorful and visually attractive
In the academic field, the Internet extended the reach of universities substantially. Distance education, proposed by various educational establishments, can be pursued by people all over the world by the means of the World Wide Web (Feenberg, 2007). Distance educational processes no more depend on video and audio cassettes. Today, Internet has significantly bridged the gap between the student and the teacher, whereas students can communicate with tutors in the regime of real-time. It is necessary to emphasize, that the learning and communication processes continuously tend to improve as innovative technologies and applied in the educational field. Moreover, students can scan through the offered courses and apply for the preferred colleges all through the net (Bonisteel, 2000).
Nevertheless, the role Internet plays as a facilitator of e-Learning can also be critically evaluated. It has unfavorably influenced the quality of education in recent years. For example, children started reading less than earlier because of the Internet. With multimedia becoming omnipresent, children apprehend the surrounding information more with their eyes and absolutely without using any images. Audrey D. McCray, Sharon Vaughn, La Vonne I. Neal (2001) suggest that children who are not trained well to read in their early years may have problems with and comprehension in their high-school years (Wilson, 1999).
E-Learning is considered as one of the main reasons that have caused a general decrease in the student’s ability to read and write well. Innovative technological solutions, when applied in the field of e-Learning, bring significant benefits both – economic and educational, which make up for the negative aspects of Internet usage and the subsequent adverse social effects. Teachers and parents, being responsible for the actions of youth, are worried about the fact that kids are not up to reprehend the viewed information critically; furthermore, they often suppose that anything seen in the spaces of WWW is real. This disables students to make any creative decision or approach in his / her life (Aiex, 1989; Feenberg, 2007). When everything unfolds before the children’s eyes like real-life images, their imagination becomes infertile.
Probably one of the most demoralizing impacts on language which happened because of widely spread e-Learning is the use of e-mails in which language is given with an extremely lowered level of respect (Derbyshire, 2000). If we try to combine the structure of the languages which were taught at least thirty years ago with the contemporary sentences used in electronic communication, it would be rather easy to distinguish that obvious difference between the two. It is a significant fact, that at the previous stages of e-mail communication development, web etiquette never required electronic letters to be formal, even when lettering occurred between formal counterparts. As a result, mistakes in spelling, grammar, and sentence structure were acceptable even informal and business correspondence. On the contrary, letter writing was a manner of expression of respect towards a person or a company. Similarly, the wide use of emoticons and abbreviations has negatively influenced the literary abilities of people. Perfection of language thus became the least priority in electronic communications, even in a formal context (Fridman, 2000).
E-Learning also has a negative impact on reading and writing skills. School curriculums tend to stimulate extensive usage of the Internet and by permitting students to submit papers made in electronic form and pass them typewritten. This way, typing skills of students are much better than the reading abilities. The computer software that is used for creating reports and educational projects provides an option for checking and correcting mistakes: both spelling and grammatical, and prevents the student from studying grammar rules, which then leads to repetition of previously made mistakes (Derbyshire, 2000).
It is a fact that Internet has revolutionized the educational sector to a great extent and facilitated many advantages that were not available a few years before. It has also helped to widen the reach of education even to the common man by negating the element of distance. However, it is debatable whether Internet has raised the quality of education. It has enhanced the availability of education but may not have surpassed the quality of time-tested educational methods.
- Audrey D. McCray., Sharon Vaughn., & La Vonne I. Neal. (2001). Not All Students Learn to Read by Third Grade: Middle School Students Speak Out About Their Reading Disabilities. Journal of Special Education.
- Wilson, B. A. (1999). Older students: Making reading happen. Perspectives. 25(3). P. 23-25.
- Fridman Sherman. (2000). Stanford Study Says Internet Transforming Daily Life. Newsbytes PM.
- Bonisteel, Steven. (2000). Internet Transforming Campuses. Newsbytes News Network.
- Gomolski, Barb. (2001). E-BUSINESS PULSE. InfoWorld.
- Derbyshire, John. (2000). The Future of English: A mighty language and its prospects. National Review.
- Wang, M. C. (1992). Adaptive Education Strategies: Building on Diversity. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
- Aiex, Nola Kortner. (1989), How to “Read” Television: Teaching Students to View TV Critically. ERIC, EDO-CS-89-07.
- Feenberg, Andrew. Reflections on the Distance Learning Controversy.