Life has taken a U-turn after the pandemic that struck us during the first half of 2020. Life was going on normal with children going to schools and people going to work as usual, until the COVID 19 pandemic brought everything to a standstill. With the fear of the pandemic still looming large over our heads, our kids and we have now gotten used to the system of online learning today. Conventional classrooms are a thing of the past now. With online learning being imparted to school-going kids of all ages today, let us analyze some views on online learning’s pros and cons.
Advantages of online learning
1. Saves a lot of time, money and effort
Thanks to online learning, you don’t have to travel anywhere to attend your courses. You save a lot of time, money and effort this way. All the learning happens within the confines of the four walls of your home. Therefore, you are fresh from attending your courses, whenever they happen. From the point of view of schools, colleges and universities, they get to save a lot on overhead charges such as salaries, transport, electricity, laboratory fees, etc.
2. Freedom to learn at one’s own pace
Unlike conventional classrooms, there is no pressure on the students to learn everything within the lecture’s hour. They can learn at their own pace. They can refer to video tutorials and recorded lectures as often as they want to understand complex concepts. Therefore, online learning definitely leads to increased knowledge retention in students when compared to conventional learning.
3. Comfort, comfort and more comfort
With online learning, students can learn from anywhere they want. In the conventional form of learning, they had to skip school, if they had to travel anywhere for some purpose. However, in the new form of online education, they can attend lectures from anywhere they want, from any part of the world. Online learning definitely helps in uninterrupted learning, which is a great benefit for students.
4. Interactive learning
Blackboards and textbooks are not the teaching tools anymore, with the advent of online learning. In this new method of learning, teachers use new tools for teaching and assessing students. These include game-based reading, virtual-reality or artificial intelligence-based courses, quizzes, online polls and more. All of these make learning an interactive process for the teachers and students.
5. Resources available always
All the study materials required for online learning are available in the form of soft copies on the internet. You don’t have to wait to ask your friend when you meet him next to the notes, if you have missed school. You can refer to the website of your school or college to find relevant information. You can share these soft copies with anybody who needs them right at the same time. So real-time sharing of information is possible with the help of online learning.
6. Unlimited learning
In a conventional classroom scenario, you only have access to the information that the teacher is teaching you. While that is good enough, it would be great if you could learn more about that concept to get into the details. Online learning helps with exactly that. After your online lecture, you can immediately refer to free online tutorials and videos about the recently taught concepts to widen your knowledge. This helps you get strong in your conceptual knowledge.
Disadvantages of online learning
1. Heavily dependent on internet connections
While online learning provides many benefits, it is heavily dependent on your internet connection. If you have a disturbed connection, you could miss out on most of your online lessons. The situations can be worse if you are living in a remote or hilly area, where the internet signals are not very strong.
2. Personal connect is missing
In the traditional classroom scenario, face-to-face communication with the teacher and students definitely creates a positive influence on the overall learning process. Students can understand better when they listen to the body language and personal voice of their teachers. In a virtual classroom, while the learning opportunities are unlimited, the personal connect is missing. Many students get bored easily in online classes, because they cannot meet their teachers of friends face to face.
3. Good technical skills are a must
Kids who are above 12 or 15 can manage their online classes very well, because they are quite aware of how to use technology. However, for kids below 10 years, it becomes difficult to attend online classes if they face any problems. Since they don’t have enough technical skills, they are always dependent on one of the parents for their support. This takes a toll on the parent as well. Online learning is indeed a great way of learning for teenagers, but not for small kids.
4. A lot of distractions
In the traditional classroom, students have nowhere else to focus on, except their teachers and friends. So they are quite attentive to what’s happening around them. However, since online learning happens from home, they tend to get distracted many times. Toys, television, mobile phones, guests at home and general boredom of sitting in front of the system for a long time can interrupt their learning process.
5. Not all courses can be done online
Yes, online learning has created a revolution in most of the fields of education today. However, there are some fields like medicine and science, where only online learning isn’t enough. These are fields in which practical and hands-on training is a must. So, online training cannot replace traditional learning, at any cost.
6. Screen time
When students spend a lot of time on their online classes, they are exposed to a lot of screen time. This, eventually, affects the health of their eyes to a large extent. Yes, students can wear screen-protection glasses while attending classes, but it is still considered bad for their eyes. Sitting for long hours before the computer can make the students depressed and isolated as well. They need to be in an environment, where they can laugh and play with their friends during recess.