Online learning has leveled up the education industry across the Global North. But it is only a few years back that e-learning gained acceptance in the Global South. With technological advancement it can only be said that e-learning is going to witness exponential growth in the next few years. Furthermore, talking about theological education, many people consider attending seminaries to deepen their relationship with the Lord, build the skills required to be a minister, and grow their Biblical knowledge. Considering this reality, this article sheds light on the advantages and explains the reason for the seminario to consider online theological education.
One major reason why people prefer online theological education is accessibility. these days, several recognized degrees, including theology accessible online due to advancements in technology and positive student learners’ response. Accessibility provides by different e-learning platforms is incredibly beneficial, especially for people who can’t leave their ministry or mission field. It helps pastors and Christians to pursue higher education while fulfilling their ministerial responsibility.
It is beneficial to do theological studies in a secure learning environment such as a seminario or Bible college. However, not all people can afford to attend expensive seminary classes and can dream of studying in renowned institutes only after receiving church or study sponsorship. On the contrary, online theological courses are relatively less expensive. therefore, e-learning courses can be a great alternative for students who can’t afford costly education.
A well-designed and developed online theology course offers students the flexibility of attending the same anywhere and anytime. Moreover, they are allowed to pursue any online course from different geographical regions. This means that one can pursue their theological education at their convenience while engaging in ministry or the mission field.
When it comes to traditional learning, takes place within the four walls of a classroom and for a given period. However, e-learning offers ubiquitous learning that is not entirely bound by space and time. Online theological education provides an everyday learning environment to pastors or Christians supported by their computers or smartphones. In addition, technology and digital tools, and resources help learners interact efficiently with their tutor-facilitator and other pastors.
The Covid-19 pandemic has led to the integration of almost all theological institutes with the digital world and engaging in any form of e-learning such as virtual lectures. However, it may take some time for all seminaries to entirely adopt asynchronous e-learning. Here asynchronous online learning implies learning that doesn’t require the teachers and students to be online simultaneously.
But the theological education field can witness a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning- blended or hybrid learning, i.e., the constructive interface between traditional mode of learning and online learning.
While many theological institutes are already offering online courses, others are still reluctant to adopt e-learning. By going through the above-mentioned reasons, it can be easily said that its time for the seminario to consider online theological education. Although online learning is not necessarily everyone’s choice, it’s worth considering due to the advantages offered by e-learning that aren’t available in traditional learning.