Online Learning: A Blessing or A Challenge
Transformation from Traditional Classrooms to Virtual One
Many times we do not understand what is being taught in the classroom, wondering to ask again and again which is not possible in a traditional classroom setting but it can be made possible in a virtual one. This is what online learning has done to the education system around the world.
You're not taught a subject by just one teacher as it is the case in schools but you have the luxury of learning from different teachers from the comfort of your home. All you need is a technological device like smart phones, tablets, laptops, computers along with an internet connection.
For some it might seem to be a blessing while for others online learning is a great challenge. Like every coin has two sides, so does online learning. It brings a range of benefits but at some costs.
Here is the complete picture of what online education offers in today's world,
Pros / Advantages
Expansion of access to education
Education never used to be easily accessible. A few constraints restricted people from studying further like socio economic, political, race, caste, colour, religion and so on but now the dream of education for all has become a reality as one can easily access education by sitting in their own homes. There's no border to restrict the education. Someone sitting in India can learn from the American experts by just connecting with them online.
Education of prime quality
People used to go to far off places for getting education and sometimes cross the borders and reach out to different countries for quality education. Travelling from one place to another was the age old trend. But who thought that quality education which used to be kilometres away will turn out to be just a few clicks away.
Updation of skill set
Traditional schools continue to focus on traditional academic skills and rote learning, rather than on skills such as critical thinking and adaptability, which will be more important for success in the future. When the students get exposed to the work environment, they are expected to have a particular skill set for adapting to perform practically and not academically. Hence, online learning upgrades the skill set by providing practical knowledge.
Flexibility is another aspect of online learning as it is available at anytime, anywhere and of any size. Online courses, degrees, diplomas can be accessed and achieved according to our schedule. We don't have to go by anyone else's schedule.
Online education not only connects students to the teachers, Students can also connect to each other and this can have a vast impact on how we think and act. There are discussion forums on which a wide variety of topics are discussed. Students post their opinions and take the opportunity of showcasing their own knowledge and having a look at what the students have got around the world.
People looking for a raise or increment might face the challenge of not having a degree required for a position, in that case online learning is of great help. Online learning also allows professionals across the globe to continue working while they earn a degree or do a course. This is what is absolutely amazing about online education. Learning while earning and stepping up is what makes it phenomenal.
Lowered total costs
Even the infrastructure demands are costly in online education, if taken as a whole it might seem to be that the costs are much less than that in the traditional learning as one doesn't have to pay for shelter, food and other on campus expenses like that of commuting.
Cons / Disadvantages
The first and foremost setback of online education is that it is not affordable i.e., cost ineffective. Requiring a particular technology, internet connection, electricity makes online learning unaffordable for those belonging to the middle and lower income families.
Another challenge of online learning is that it poses one to learn according to his or her own schedule. And in this case scenario one finds it difficult to get along with a course work without being organized or without any plan.
Dependence on technology
Another challenge is that of the new technology. Online courses often require even tech savvy students to learn how to use new types of hardware and software to communicate and connect within their classes. Many students even don't have the basic knowledge of using the technology involved in education.
Lack of infrastructure
Lack of proper IT infrastructure in smaller education centers can be a bigger challenge in imposing digital learning in various educational institutions. Different technological advancements are somewhat not available in different institutions and this lack of infrastructure is also a great challenge that is needed to cope up with.
For online learning the need of self motivation and discipline is of utmost importance. One must be self motivated to complete a course, a degree or whatever his aim is in online learning. Procrastination is a barrier in the online education system. It hinders the zeal to work and learn and hence resulting in giving up on online courses.
What has turned out to be one of the biggest challenges in online education is that of technical issues. Online courses require high bandwidth or high speed internet which might be a big issue and gradually students will have a worse learning experience. This is what makes the idea of online learning a little problematic as the students won't be able to attend the online classes.
Along with the above mentioned pros and cons there can be many others when it comes to online education. But as the field of online learning was losing its hold in the world, came the Covid-19 pandemic which led to the new wave of opportunities in the sector of online learning. All the challenges are being looked upon and are believed to be coping up with. This is what makes online education a true blessing. As the Governments around the world are taking digitalization seriously, online education will definitely pave a way for a bright future.
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