eLearning -Boon or Punishment
Online Teaching – Bane or Boon
As I browsed through the websites of one of the leading schools few days back, the introduction in bold letters said ‘Remember that schools are not closed. School buildings are close. The teachers and staff are working harder than ever’
All credits to COVID-19, millions of students now have their laptops, cell phones as their virtual classroom setup. No doubt online learning facilitates as a rescue for all these students. However, this concept has certainly raised a debatable topic that ‘Is the new normal i.e. Online learning a better concept in comparison to classroom education’?
As Technology steers every corner of the globe, be it shopping, R&D, banking, travel & tourism, how can education be stranded? Primary Nursery classes to Higher college education all have taken the on line route however it is important to combat the challenges and limitation of this concept to be able to exploit its benefits to the fullest. While e-learning opens up plethora of opportunity for someone inquisitive to learn, simultaneously changing the deep-rooted Guru Shishya relationship to an on-screen mode certainly has its own cons.
- Lack of Individualized pattern-I was observing while my daughter attended her online classes and I noticed that the teachers were finding it tough to differentiate between a slow learner and a quick learner and this mode certainly lacked an individualized pattern according to the pace of every student. This not only thrusts the pressure over the teacher to be able to manage remotely with a spectrum of capabilities contained by her class, but also the students to be able to cope up with the competitiveness in the class and lack of personal touch by the teacher. One needs to be smart enough to combat the lack of a tailored pattern and adaptive to the pace of class to be able to reap the benefits of the online class.
- Promotes Jack of all trades, Master of none- Online learning certainly invites an intellectual brain to browse through subjects of one’s choice. Also, the teachers who spend lot of time converting the content to presentations and delivering via audio-visual platform have limited time to deliver. This imparts the topic on a superficial level in turn leading to knowing every topic in bits and pieces which will certainly promote the Jack of All trades however expertise in one would be lacking. With this approach, one can certainly be benefitted to know the basics of a subject much more than the conventional learning as in case of advanced learning, a student gets the option of taking tutorials from tutors belonging to different parts of the world.
- Dependence over Technology and related issues- No doubt technology eases flexibility to schedule study timings as per convenience. Also, one saves on travel time and expenditure, students are saved from the gigantic books and bags over their delicate back. However, technology comes to one’s rescue with its own issues like dependence over internet connection, power and also involves cyber security concerns. At times, students are required to use a particular e-learning application and applications in demand are most targeted by hackers. This clarifies why cyber security attacks have exponentially increased since the onset of COVID 19 pandemic. Having a backup infrastructure like an alternative mobile hotspot over a Wi-Fi, having backup power and being aware of cyber security concerns can help one get through these issues.
- Adverse impact to health and decline in moral values- It is indeed a matter of fact that communication is best with a face to face human intervention and electronic devices even with the best of their proficiency cannot replace the traditional classroom settings where one shares ideas thereby contributing to a happy mind, playing during break-time enhances fitness, the lush green campuses in schools cultivate nature friendliness, elderly teachers develop kids’ moral, social skills. Mutual respect helps kids become better individuals. Prolonged screen time and sedentary habits impact eyes and overall fitness. Lengthy sitting hours wherein unhealthy sitting posture is unavoidable cause stiffness in body and backache too. Since students have laptops and cell phones to their disposal, they play online games and also watch stuff inappropriate to their age group. This issue can be minimized with intervention and supervision by an elderly parent up to a certain extent however in that process certainly parents will need to intervene to ensure kid’s sound fitness and mental health.
- More focus over theoretical aspects than practical- Major portion of an e-Learning session at any level focuses primarily on developing theoretical knowledge, rather than practical skill for an obvious reason that theoretical lectures are considerably easier to deliver on line. Practical exposure requires face-to-face communication and workshops, laboratories and related infrastructure. Fighting this requires a structured planning and implementing hands-on student projects with more emphasis over mentorship.
As we know, Global Pandemic is a subject getting enormous attention from elite scientists worldwide however as a matter of fact we still are unsure of the future roadmap as to how long we still need to go on battling the challenges and keeping ourselves safe through social distancing. In such a time, it is obvious to rely over online learning to facilitate continuity of education thereby harnessing mental growth for the youth of country and this is responsible for the surged-up demand for online learning. The above mentioned challenges exist and keep the debate open to one’s personal opinion to decide whether e-learning is a boon or a bane. As our country walks towards being fully digital, the path is going to be easier with better infrastructure in terms of proper internet connectivity, applications supporting online education. To conclude, Online teaching can be a boon as an add-on to traditional classroom teaching but it cannot replace it.