The rapid rise in COVID-19 cases has affected the entire world greatly. Be it any sector, business, or academic this pandemic has changed and affected many things drastically. Talking about the education sector, due to COVID-19, the schools have shut down worldwide. This means that over 1.2 billion children globally are out of classrooms.
This has brought a massive change in education, opening the door to e-learning. With e-learning, tutorials and lectures are delivered to students at their convenience on a digital interface.
According to the research, online learning has shown increased retention of information and has been time efficient at the same time. This indicates that the changes made due to the pandemic might be helpful to the students.
Although in different countries, the ratio of COVID-19 cases is at different points, over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries have been affected by school closure immensely. In Denmark, students until the age of 11 go back to nurseries and schools after initially closing on 12th March. However, in South Korea, students are to attend online classes.
Due to this sudden shift from physical learning to e-learning, many people wonder if this trend of e-learning will continue as a post-pandemic practice and how this shift will impact the education market worldwide.
Before COVID-19 struck the entire world, there was a high rise in educational technology, with global tech investments reaching US$ 18.66 billion in 2019, and the overall market of online education was predicted to reach US$ 350 billion by the year 2025. Be it language apps, video conferencing tools, online tutoring, or online learning software; there has been a massive surge in usage since COID-19.
However, there is a downside to this as some believe that this unplanned and rapid shift to online learning- with little or no training, less preparation, and insufficient bandwidth will result in poor user experience restricted to educational growth. In contrast, others believe that online learning will benefit children and should remain in practice for the long term.
What Are the Advantages of Online Learning?
Online learning provides teachers an effective way to deliver lectures to their students. Online learning has a variety of different tools such as videos, PDFs, podcasts. Online learning offers teachers an efficient way to deliver lessons to students. By extending the lesson plans by incorporating updated tools beyond the textbooks in the online teaching routine, teachers can become more efficient instructors.
Accessibility Of Time and Place
Another massive advantage of online learning is that it offers students to attend classes from any location. It also allows the students to reach out to an extensive number of students who have many different ideas to share. Instead of being limited to geographical boundaries, online learning brings together all the students from different locations to learn and build diverse concepts. Moreover, online lectures have the feature to be recorded, archived, or shared for future reference. This helps the students never miss a class, and they can see the recorded version whenever they are comfortable.
Hence, online learning allows students accessibility of time and location in education.
The online platform offers a dynamic interaction between the teacher and the students. Resources and concepts are delivered productively. It allows a continuous synergy that is formulated during the learning process. Every student makes an observation and discusses or comments on the work of others students. Students can also interact, debate about different topics, and share their stances on different concepts. This synergy and productivity created in the virtual classroom are the most beneficial and vital aspects that an online learning format provides to the students.
Level Playing Field
In online learning, there is a certain level of obscurity among the learners. There is no limitation of age, dress, disabilities, physical appearance, gender, race, etc. instead, the primary focus or the purpose of online learning is the student’s ability to respond and contribute intellectually and thoughtfully to the material present.
One of the most important advantages of online learning is that it reduces financial costs. Online education is highly affordable as compared to physical learning. The main reason behind this is that online learning eradicates the cost of transportation, student meals, and real estate. Furthermore, all the studying material and courses are available online, which creates a paperless learning environment that is more affordable and smart.
Improved Student Attendance
Since online lectures can be attended from home/ location of choice, the ratio of absent students also decreases.
Suits A Variety of Learning Styles
Every learner has a different learning style. Some students are virtual learners, whereas some learn concepts based on audio. Some students are more comfortable learning in the classroom, while on the contrary, some learners learn best individually. The online learning system, offering various options to its users, can be personalized according to the student’s preference.
What Are the Disadvantages of Online Learning?
Inability To Focus on Screens
It is a daunting task for students to stay focused on what the instructor explains during the lesson. Since the lectures are delivered online, it is easy for students to get distracted by different websites and other social media platforms. Thus, teachers need to keep the course interactive and crisp so that the students do not get bored or distracted by other things and stay focused on the lesson.
Another challenge that is faced during online classes is internet connectivity. Although there has been improvement in internet connectivity, there are certain remote areas in smaller towns and cities where internet with a decent speed is not available. Without a sound internet connection, the lecture cannot be delivered or attended with ease. This will result in distortion, and the students won’t pay attention to the lecture properly.
Sense Of Isolation
Students learn very effectively when they are with their peers. In online classes, there is less physical interaction between the students and teachers. This results in a sense of isolation, which can be a hurdle in learning. To prevent this, schools must allow other forms of communication among teachers, students, and peers. This involves online messages, video conferencing, emails, etc., to lessen the sense of isolation.
Online learning has a few prerequisites, such as the teachers need to have basic knowledge on how to operate certain features to execute an online lecture. However, this is not always the case because sometimes, teachers have very little basic knowledge of using digital forms of technology. Sometimes, teachers do not have enough resources or tools to operate an online class.
To solve this issue, schools must invest in training workshops to train the teachers with the latest features and technology updates to conduct online classes with great ease.
Manage Screen Time
Parents are very concerned about the health hazards of their students spending a lot of screen time. This screen time is one of the biggest concerns and disadvantages of line learning. Many students develop bad posture and other physical issues such as weak eyesight from staying hunched to their computer screens.
To conclude, online programs provide technology-based instructional environments that enhance learning opportunities that provide a top-quality education through different modalities and features. The Institution of higher education has found that online programs are imperative in accessing better education. For any online program to be successful, factors such as curriculum, facilitator, technology, and the students must be considered carefully and equally to make the best of the online program.