Interactive Learning Environment
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Interactive learning is an emerging concept. Moore et al. (2011) describe it as any form of academic arrangement or schoolwork that incorporates technology in emphasizing or teaching a particular concept. Blogs are one of the forms of interactive learning. Blog is a short form of ‘Web Log.’ It describes the lists of personal journal entries that individuals post on a web page. A blogger refers to the author or any person, making such postings while ‘blogging’ is the process of posting these personal journal entries. Therefore, the paper highlights various aspects of blogs, including the merits and demerits of its usage (Moore et al., 2011).
Any person with the knowledge of publishing or creating a web page can easily post their blogs. More so, some of the web hosts that exist today have made it easier to blog. They have created an interface that allows its users to just type a simple text and press ‘publish’ to post their blogs. The ease of creating blogs has made it convenient for many people, including kids to have a reason for being on the web. It is unlike in the past, where people used to write confidential information and compile them into a book, which limited many people from accessing them. Today blogging has enabled many people to share freely their personal experiences and feeling with the rest of people in other parts of the world. Blogs serve as the publicly personal journal of an individual. Most of the bloggers usually update their journals on a daily or monthly basis or at different times, without inconveniencing them (Keengwe et al., 2013).
Blogging has created a good opportunity and an environment that is ideal for learners to personalize. The blog allows learners to fit in a learning environment that they can control themselves. For this reason, blogs address the varity of ways people learn and the speed at which they do it. It provides learners with a chance to take total control over their pace of learning. Therefore, they can allocate more time, moderate time, or even a lot of time, depending on what they may need to learn at that particular time. Perhaps, students could spend more time studying the concepts that they perceive to be more problematic and allocate minimal time into those subjects that they well understand. Deductively, blog provides a unique learning environment that is more effective, efficient, and at the same time allows faster learners from getting bored, and lose interest while concurrently uplifting the slow learners (Yang & Chang, 2012).
Apart from creating a learning environment that the student can personalize learning, it is also conducted in a very flexible environment. The learner chooses where and at what time they would want to study, unlike classroom that must have preset time frame and venue. Blogging can conveniently fit the busy schedules of learners, especially when the students can handle their learning in blocks. Therefore, the environment precludes the need for physical attendance to a teaching session at a predetermined venue (Jimoyiannis & Angelaina, 2012).
Blog, as one of the ways of interactive learning, has a lot of benefits to the trainers. Firstly, it has the capabilities of training unlimited number of people at a go. Blog reading has no limit for the number of people that can access the personal journal entry at any given time, as opposed to other modes of training students. Blogging, especially in the big learning institutions, allows for the passage of information to numerous students at once, regardless of their number. Therefore, educators can actually improve on the speed and the general success of the learners in terms of grasping the content of the blog in a faster way (Park et al., 2011).
The use of the blog as one of the meanss of interactive learning is also cost effective. It does not need the physical presence of the learner. Hence, it eliminates the cost of transportation and accommodation that would otherwise become a necessity. The learner does not require an instructor for any of the lessons. Thus, the student does not have to spend money for hiring a tutor. In addition, expends on venues, refreshments, and even renting some of the costly learning tools such as projectors become insignificant. Blogs also provide an option for the reader to share its contents with other people. For this reason, it erases individual costing of training that is common with other modes of learning. Blogs also provide flexible learning environment for the students. The inherent flexibility saves students’ money indirectly or directly through avoidance of overtime costs (Moore et al., 2011).
Some of the specialized tools make it easier to update the blogs. Furthermore, most of these blogs, as earlier noted, are updated by its authors on a regular basis. Therefore, the learner is always at abreast with the trends in their particular fields of study. Blogs also require no special skills to post a personal journal. Thus, there are several of them covering the same area. They are available for students and give them a wider view of the concept under study (Yang & Chang, 2012).
Despite all these benefits accompanying blogs, there are also in-built shortfalls for the same. Firstly, the reading of blogs requires students to develop motivation on their own. Studying through blogs demands that the student becomes responsible for their own learning. In fact, the entire process of learning through blogs demands the student to develop interest on their own in the topic and manage their time well. Thus, those who have difficulties in the two prerequisites that are crucial for blog interactive learning environment can never reap any benefit from the use of blogs (Keengwe et al., 2013).
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