Reminiscing the pre-Covid days, it feels like so long since we last had a normal school day. Teacher approached our desks and graded our textbooks for tidy handwriting, we also faced them for our incomplete works;  but now, the class begins with online names appearing on a dark screen, students sitting in the tardiest clothes in front of their computers, with their mics on mute and videos on pause. 

At the end of 2019, when Covid took over the globe, the world had to shut down, and with that, the schools too. This led to a major transition in the modes of education; online schools and virtual learning became the new normal. While countries in different parts of the world are getting back to the old routine and on-campus classes, many of them are persistent to keep virtual learning side by side. It is no doubt that online education is here to stay. It can be seen that colleges and universities, alongside responding to the current covid situation, are also trying to expand their classes to online portals to accommodate the academic needs of both traditional and nontraditional students.

Are we done with online education? - Sheet1
Shift to virtual learning for the future of higher education_©Getty Images- Harvard business review

The extent to which school closures have impeded children’s education was highlighted in a news release published by Unicef in March. According to the research, over 168 million schools all across the world have been closed for more than a year.

Furthermore, approximately one for every seven adolescents — have lost more than three-quarters of their in-person learning to covid,” the report stated. According to the report, the number of students being deprived of the basic right of education is worrisome and harms children’s learning and wellbeing (Sharma, 2021).

Are we done with online education? - Sheet2
Online learning_©Getty Images plus-slate

Cons of E-learning:

Many commentators have expressed concerns over the digital revolution and are worried that the fast pace in shifting old modes, lack of digital training of students as well as teachers, can negatively impact the learning process amongst the students and could yield poor results (Murphy, 2022).

Are we done with online education? - Sheet3
Which is better, online or face-to-face learning?_©education technology solution-SHELLEY KINASH

Before any online platform can succeed, it is important to consider that the availability and understanding of technology are necessary. Many students, especially in developing countries, are unable to afford technology, and more than half of the student population remain deprived of education due to a lack of resources like access to the internet or computers. In addition to the absence of technology, the absence of information regarding the technology has profoundly impacted the quality of education. It is noted that online academic teaching impacts the pedagogical practice of teachers and encounters a sense of vulnerability while dealing with online classes. With a lack of knowledge on the use of the internet and software, many teachers find it difficult to impart knowledge. 

Nonetheless, due to the transition in modes of studies and shifting to virtual schools, internal assessments are given less importance, ultimately lowering the growth chances for students (Mumtaz, Saqulain and Mumtaz, 2020). 

Pros of Online Education

Despite the negative impacts of virtual learning, many students find it easier to keep up with the work at their own pace, set their own schedule, and be free of the pressure put on by schools and colleges. Online learning has proved to produce better outcomes not only with respect to a curriculum but also yields better communication skills. The students advocate the process of E-learning as it has lowered the stress and has proved to provide them with more opportunities in the fields that they are interested in, rather than sticking to conventional studies. It gives them an edge to evaluate and organize and apply their knowledge to a specific task, rather than emphasizing on the teacher setting a specific task for them. Now teachers are acting as a supporting role rather than providing them with all the information. 

They believe that asynchronous e-learning allows them to participate in classes from around the world, making it accessible to participate in willing classes on their computers instead of having to go there physically. Since these classes are accessible 24/7, making it easier for students from different time zones to participate in the desired discussions. Furthermore, having continuous access to lectures makes it easier for people who lag behind their studies to catch up with the work without being continuously bugged about their lack of understanding. Not only that, an online environment omits the discriminating factors due to anonymity and focuses more on the content of the discussion and contribution of ideas (University of Illinois Springfield, 2020). 

Benefits of learning online_©david – myonlinecollege

Conclusion

Changes in how knowledge and skills are determined in online settings are crucial. Many educators have altered the way organizations assess student achievement. Eliminating assignments and entirely revamping assessment strategies, and modifying learning. Such approaches that take advantage of digital delivery channels, including active group interaction, student-led discussions, use of games to stimulate motivation and attention, are taken into account to make learning more effective. Nonetheless, flexible or extended deadlines for assignment completion give students an edge to apply newly learned skills and knowledge to produce quality work (Lockee, 2021). 

References:

  1. Lockee, B.B. (2021). Online Education in the post-COVID Era. Nature Electronics, 4(1), pp.5–6.
  2. Mumtaz, N., Saqulain, G. and Mumtaz, N. (2020). Online Academics in Pakistan: COVID-19 and beyond. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 37(1).
  3. Murphy, A. (2022). What is the Future of Education in 2022? [online] www.masterstudies.com. Available at: https://www.masterstudies.com/article/what-is-the-future-of-education-in-2022/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022].
  4. Sharma, K. (2021). India among 50% Countries Where Classes Are yet to Go Fully in-person: Unicef-backed Study. [online] ThePrint. Available at: https://theprint.in/india/education/india-among-50-countries-where-classes-are-yet-to-go-fully-in-person-unicef-backed-study/750129/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2022].
  5. University of Illinois Springfield (2020). Strengths and Weaknesses of Online Learning – ION Professional eLearning Programs – UIS. [online] Uis.edu. Available at: https://www.uis.edu/ion/resources/tutorials/online-education-overview/strengths-and-weaknesses/
Author

Romaisa Tahir ( a student of architecture at the Institute for arts and culture, from Pakistan) enjoys writing and expresses her concerns via poetry and narrative writing. She believes that the passion for writing and admiration for the art of building can be blended; allowing the silence of buildings to speak through words and add meaning to their existence.

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