Since online learning became the next wave of education, millions of students’ lives shrunk to their phone screens inside their homes amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Educational institutions closed since the covid hit all across the globe in order to maintain social distance in the wake of the Covid-19 issue. As a result, physical classes at schools got suspended, and the educational system shifted exclusively to online classes. Online learning does, without a question, assist educational institutions in advancing the academic calendar, but it has also aroused many concerns among students, professors, and health professionals.

Online lessons are 30-45 minute long learning sessions in which books and other study materials are converted into digital format. Students participate in a conference meeting with their teachers and classmates using various tools such as zoom, skype, or webinar. They were virtually gathered in one location, and the classes were available on smartphones and PCs.

Students are encountering several obstacles as they transition from a traditional classroom with face-to-face instructor teaching to computer-based training in a virtual classroom, which provides them with a totally new and difficult learning experience. Students are unable to understand the teachings due to a lack of well-equipped digital equipment.

Kids in large cities and metro areas have access to the internet and can readily enroll in online programs, while students in small towns are still battling to get a quality education during the pandemic. For those naive pupils, a lack of technological understanding is also proving to be a significant barrier. Teachers in small towns are not formally qualified, and they are unable to give quality education due to a lack of facilities and resources. As a result, the concept of distance learning is not well-suited to rural and small-town settings.

As per the report issued by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), “Half of the total number of learners — some 826 million (82.6 crore) students — kept out of the classroom by the Covid-19 pandemic, do not have access to a household computer and 43 per cent (706 million or 70.6 crore) have no internet at home, at a time when digitally-based distance learning is used to ensure educational continuity in the vast majority of countries.”

However, using technology as a key, we have opened the lock to more convenient education system. However the question still remains unanswered, is online learning a boon or curse?

 

Advantages of online learning:

The best thing about online classes is that they are allowing millions of students to continue their academic pursuits despite the economic downturn. An academician can gain access to an infinite number of study materials online and engage with the worldwide academic community. They can participate in online lectures or webinars at any prestigious university of their choice, regardless of their location. Online learning also allows people to improve their knowledge regardless of their age, and they may connect with and consult experts in various fields.

During a pandemic, online college classes are more informal and have a more flexible schedule, so some students welcome the shift. They can also attend their class from anywhere, and if they miss it, they can watch the recording later. As a result, classes on the online platform have grown more flexible. Some students who struggle in physical classes or are frightened by them find online classes to be more comfortable and confident. It’s a welcome change for teachers who believe in experimenting and trying out new teaching approaches at this time. Now, while the fact that people are experimenting and discovering is commendable, it is only beneficial when learning is an optional decision.

 

Disadvantages of online learning:

In an online classroom, there is no face-to-face communication. In an online class, it is very hard for an instructor to understand what a student is learning or comprehending. This is a dreadful condition for a slow learner, because it is impossible for a student to have their cameras open all the time. In certain circumstances, teachers are unfamiliar with online setups, making it difficult for students to maintain constant concentration.

Students as young as 8 or 9 years old have been forced to online classes, and the results have been terrible. Given that some Indian states score worse than some of Africa’s poorest countries in terms of child nutrition and growth, and that for many families, the mid-day meal is their children’s main source of nutrition, the thought of an online lesson appears to be a cruel joke. Digital education in youngsters does not appear to operate in comparatively well-off city-based homes since the children are incredibly elegant to work with.

They learn mostly through their interactions with their surroundings, which is why school is so vital in basic education. The basic principle of teaching a child is to do so in a joyful and entertaining manner, which is lacking in the digital media. As a result, most students choose offline classes because, aside from some theoretical information, they do not acquire any kind of social ability or sportsmanship because these are developed through year-long man-to-man interactions. Students who are disabled or differently abled may face the most difficulty because no online teaching approach that is suited for them has been established in such a short period of time.

The harsh reality is that the digital divide is real, and more and more marginalized students are being shut out of higher education. True, artificial intelligence has a lot of potential for bringing about significant improvements in the educational system.

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