Online education is a trend that has been increasing in popularity over the past decade. The number of college students taking online classes has doubled over the past five years. High school students enrolled in online courses has been on a steady increase as well, and recently, middle school students have jumped on the e-learning bandwagon.
The question that lingers in the minds of parents and educators is whether or not online courses can give students the same discussion-rich, well-rounded learning experience as traditional “brick and mortar” classrooms can.
One of the most often-used terms after the pandemic is the term “new normal.” The new normal in education is the increased use of online learning tools. The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered new ways of learning. All around the world, educational institutions are looking toward online learning platforms to continue with the process of educating students. The new normal now is a transformed concept of education with online learning at the core of this transformation. Today, digital learning has emerged as a necessary resource for students and schools all over the world. For many educational institutes, this is an entirely new way of education that they have had to adopt. Online learning is now applicable not just to learn academics but it also extends to learning extracurricular activities for students as well. In recent months, the demand for online learning has risen significantly, and it will continue doing so in the future.
As with most teaching methods, online learning also has its own set of positives and negatives. Decoding and understanding these positives and negatives will help institutes in creating strategies for more efficiently delivering the lessons, ensuring an uninterrupted learning journey for students.
What Are The Advantages Of Online Learning?
Online learning offers teachers an efficient way to deliver lessons to students. Online learning has a number of tools such as videos, PDFs, podcasts, and teachers can use all these tools as part of their lesson plans. By extending the lesson plan beyond traditional textbooks to include online resources, teachers are able to become more efficient educators.
2. Accessibility Of Time And Place
Another advantage of online education is that it allows students to attend classes from any location of their choice. It also allows schools to reach out to a more extensive network of students, instead of being restricted by geographical boundaries. Additionally, online lectures can be recorded, archived, and shared for future reference. This allows students to access the learning material at a time of their comfort.
Thus, online learning offers students the accessibility of time and place in education.
Another advantage of online learning is reduced financial costs. Online education is far more affordable as compared to physical learning. This is because online learning eliminates the cost points of student transportation, student meals, and most importantly, real estate. Additionally, all the course or study materials are available online, thus creating a paperless learning environment which is more affordable, while also being beneficial to the environment.
4. Improved Student Attendance
Since online classes can be taken from home or location of choice, there are fewer chances of students missing out on lessons.
5. Suits A Variety Of Learning Styles
Every student has a different learning journey and a different learning style. Some students are visual learners, while some students prefer to learn through audio. Similarly, some students thrive in the classroom, and other students are solo learners who get distracted by large groups.
The online learning system, with its range of options and resources, can be personalized in many ways. It is the best way to create a perfect learning environment suited to the needs of each student.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Online Learning?
1. Inability To Focus On Screens
For many students, one of the biggest challenges of online learning is the struggle with focusing on the screen for long periods of time. With online learning, there is also a greater chance for students to be easily distracted by social media or other sites. Therefore, it is imperative for the teachers to keep their online classes crisp, engaging, and interactive to help students stay focused on the lesson.
2. Technology Issues
Another key challenge of online classes is internet connectivity. While internet penetration has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, in smaller cities and towns, a consistent connection with decent speed is a problem. Without a consistent internet connection for students or teachers, there can be a lack of continuity in learning for the child. This is detrimental to the education process.
3. Sense Of Isolation
Students can learn a lot from being in the company of their peers. However, in an online class, there are minimal physical interactions between students and teachers. This often results in a sense of isolation for the students. In this situation, it is imperative that the school allow for other forms of communication between the students, peers, and teachers. This can include online messages, emails and video conferencing that will allow for face-to-face interaction and reduce the sense of isolation.
4. Teacher Training
Online learning requires teachers to have a basic understanding of using digital forms of learning. However, this is not the case always. Very often, teachers have a very basic understanding of technology. Sometimes, they don’t even have the necessary resources and tools to conducts online classes.
To combat this, it is important for schools to invest in training teachers with the latest technology updates so that they can conduct their online classes seamlessly.
5. Manage Screen Time
Many parents are concerned about the health hazards of having their children spend so many hours staring at a screen. This increase in screen time is one of the biggest concerns and disadvantages of online learning. Sometimes students also develop bad posture and other physical problems due to staying hunched in front of a screen.
A good solution to this would be to give the students plenty of breaks from the screen to refresh their mind and their body.