E-Learning ~ Study from home!!
Information and communication technology (ICT) is acting as a bridge for connecting the whole world through Internet. E-learning is a growing industry worldwide, owing to developments in the internet and multimedia technologies. A large number of women are now resorting to online courses to learn at their own pace, without the hassle of traveling to schools and colleges and at a reasonable cost too. E-learning allows a much wider scope of interaction online using 24-hour discussion forums, chat-room texting and e-mail. Individual coaching takes place via e-mail, Skype etc. Assignments and projects are a blend of online work with local community involvement and research.
The International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD), that has been training women in helping them develop entrepreneurial inclination, launched a module in 2008 for training women in 2,000 villages across the state though e-learning. Based in Ahmedabad, ICECD conducts courses in entrepreneurship development and career development and has been working with rural women and widows across the state to train them to start their own businesses and be independent since 1986. It has also conducted similar training programmes in more than 50 developing countries of Asia, Africa, Caribbean and Pacific regions. The United Nations has even recognised it as a centre of excellence for their contribution in women empowerment.
Since time immemorial, Indian women have been suffering from social and cultural handicaps. It is high time society realizes that without their empowerment, the socio-economic development of our nation is not possible. Women and men alike need to be involved in analyzing their own problems, proposing rational solutions and consequently taking collective action. Regional networking, social mobilization, changing the attitudes and knowledge, and translating the posed objectives into reality are certain effective measures which can be adopted in empowering women, creating legal awareness and helping women litigants.
E-learning can also be effectively utilized to link between social and legal organizations where women issues are concerned. For example e-learning networking would establish links between Mahila Mandals, lawyers and courts. Thus, by making concentrated efforts of e-learning we can bridge the gap between social organizations and legal system, between lower and high court, between rural and urban areas, between senior and junior lawyers and so on. This will also considerably serve the purpose of empowering women.
E-learning can be promoted with the help of interactive websites, online questionnaires, e-learning wired magazines, and a strong network of e-learning counselors. In today’s date, there are several Indian universities which offer distance learning courses, namely – Indira Gandhi National Open University, Sikkim Manipal University, University of Mumbai, Symbiosis Centre for Distance Learning, Annamalai University, Osmania University and the like. Amongst a few universities in the US are, University of Massachusetts, University of Phoenix, University of Idaho, Bellevue University and others. The American Business Woman Association, in accordance with its mission to help train and educate its female members, in 2001, views online classes and course-work as an effective option for those women who are keen to continue developing their business skills.
Thus, e-learning is rapidly gaining not only business feasibility but mass acceptance as well. Women can benefit largely from such programmes as they often face several obstructions in going out. It is also a beneficial option for women as it is flexibly structured, self-operated and cost-effective. They can learn at their own pace without any deadlines, choosing courses, study materials and topics according to their own needs and preferences. It offers a wide variety of learning styles and technological tools to suit particular necessities. It is not bound by time or place, and brings the global learning opportunity to her fingertips!! Women need to reap the benefits of e-learning and expand their educational realm, while perfectly maintaining balance between personal and other commitments.