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Have you ever wondered what Education actually mean? Education means the blossoming of a child. Or it refers to the discipline that is concerned with methods of teaching and learning in schools or school-like environments. The sudden and unfortunate COVID-19 outbreak. It disrupted everyone’s lives and pushed out many. And stalled classes and examinations across the country. In order to make sure people do not miss out on their studies, schools shifted the classes to online mode. E-learning methods and practices were adopted. Which gives birth to various Advantages and disadvantages of Online Education.
With the pandemic forcing the teaching and learning process to migrate to the online mode. Being a double-edged sword, there are a number of advantages of online education with some disadvantages as well. The education system faced turbulence like never before. Many colleges, schools and educational institutes came forward to provide their students with online courses and lessons. Courses that will help the students to enhance their skills. They can get knowledge from the comfort of their home through the internet.
What does it mean by Online Education?
Online education is the innovative use of digital tools and technologies. During teaching and learning and is often referred to as e-learning or Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Exploring the use of digital technologies provides educators with the opportunity to design engaging learning opportunities. In the courses they teach, these can take the form of blended or fully online courses and programs.
How does Online Education work?
The flow of work in online education includes Instructional methods, course requirements and learning technologies. This can vary significantly from one online course to the other. But most of them use a Learning Management System also called LMS, to deliver lectures and materials. Also monitors student progress, assess comprehension, and accept student work. LMS provides designs for these platforms to accommodate a multitude of instructor needs and preferences. While some courses deliver live lectures using video conferencing tools. Others allow students to download pre-recorded lectures and use message boards to discuss topics. Teachers may also incorporate simulation games and other engagement boosters to enhance the learning process
What are the Advantages of Online Education?
This shift to the e-learning system has initiated a debate on whether it helped the students to learn. Or has hampered their progress, social and mental well-being, and most prominent of all if this is indeed education. To evaluate this shift let’s see the advantages and possible disadvantages of online education. Which are like the two sides of a coin. First, we shall see a detailed overview of the various Advantages of Online Education
Flexibility – advantage of Online Education
The Online mode of education enables both the teacher as well as the students to set their own learning pace. In addition to that the flexibility of setting a schedule that fits everyone’s agenda. Consequently, providing a better work-study balance. As students can learn and access from anywhere and at any time. Helps them meet deadlines seamlessly by finishing assignments at any time of the day. Moreover one can save a substantial amount of time by not having to travel to the institute. To attend the classes in case of students and to take the classes in case of the teachers.
Easy Access and Convenience
One of the most significant advantages of online education considered is easy access. The facility for students to attend classes in any location of their choosing. This eliminated the daily problems associated with travelling to schools or colleges. Those people who are often unable to reach out to their professors, due to tight schedules and rigid timetables. In the physical setup some of them even too shy to raise their hands. In Online class, can openly ask their queries. With online education, they can immediately reach out to teachers. By sending them a direct message to their designated learning management system.
Another aspect of online education is the potential for students to interact asynchronously. Through the virtual classroom and hence leading to increased participation during a session. Digital learning enables students to communicate in real-time in chat boxes or asynchronously through bulletin boards and similar forums. This active participation also helps in maintaining regular attendance and discipline. In this way despite the partial closure of the schools or institutions. The students are still able to learn through online classes.
Wider Course Range
The learners get the chance to learn from schools and institutions worldwide. They can find the program and courses that best meet their needs without uprooting their lives. Considering a space as vast and wide as the internet is. Infinite skills and subjects are there to teach and learn from. There has been exceptional growth in the number of universities and higher education schools. That are coming forward to offer online versions of their programs for various levels and disciplines. This provides a greater spectrum of options to help students. And learners to achieve their goals by enrolling on a plethora of courses available online.
More cost-effective or Affordable
The other advantages of online education include its affordability and economic nature. Lesser monetary investment in online mode learning is there which also leads to better results. The money spent on enrolling on an online course is much lesser. Than the expenses of buying physical copies of study materials along with commute charges to attend an offline learning system. This can be seen as a huge benefit as the pandemic has disturbed the financial conditions of many people. While the fees of online courses are very cost-effective with no additional cost of learning resources.
Time Management Skill Development
In all domains of life Time management is one of the most prominent and important skills. Whether be it a student or a professional both need to master the art of managing their time. When students transition to the professional world, it becomes crucial and essential to optimize their time. One of the distinct advantages of online education is that this skill is inculcated in students while taking online classes. This is helping them increase their overall efficiency. They must develop a study schedule while managing attendance and other responsibilities.
Preferred learning methodology
Another of many advantages of online education is the preferred learning methodology. As we all know all people are not the same and the same goes for students or learners. Each and every student have a different yet unique way of learning. With online learning, they can decide their own pace. Also can view pre-recorded lessons as many times as they want according to their preferences and requirement. So there are no limitations in those regards and makes it easily customisable.
Prevent any kind of illness
Online education helps in the reduction of physical contact and social interaction. Which is a super benefit of taking virtual classes in these times. As a result, students’ immune systems remain healthy because they are protected from contracting any sort of infection from others. Additionally, having access to fresh, nutritious foods all day long from the comfort of their home. This is crucial for bolstering one’s immune system to combat any illness symptoms, is provided by attending classes at home.
Improvement in Technical Skills
While taking online classes one gets to know and learn about the various aspects of the internet. The hardware and software of the digital devices they use. They can then use these technical skills. At the time of navigating through the Learning Management System (LMS) and its digital learning materials. Especially after the pandemic hit it becomes a critical must-have in your skill set. It has become the need of the hour to gauge technical skills. In order to match the pace of the growing tech-dominated world. Hence online learning gives you the opportunity to gain technical skills if you are lacking them.
Higher Retention Rates
In accordance with various studies, knowledge retention rates are much higher in online learning. Than in traditional or conventional university study courses. This is most likely due to the decrease in stress or pressure present otherwise in the traditional school environment. Students can learn and practice at their own pace, and the study materials and resources. That are also available for a lifetime in case they want to come back to revise or refresh their memory.
What are the Disadvantages of Online Education?
As of now, it appears that there are a number of advantages of online learning. For all across the country and worldwide as well. However, learning through a digital mode has a positive impact. It does impose some major challenges that one needs to take into account. Therefore let’s learn more about the limitations of digital education. Technology can be a saviour at times but there is another side to the coin too. The following are some of the disadvantages of Online Education
Lack of a healthy learning environment
Education is not just about classes it is also about interactions between the students and the teachers. The broadening of ideas and a number of free-flowing discussions. These discussions help the students to learn from each other while engaging in fun yet challenging collective tasks. And thinking together, generating a sense of togetherness amongst the children. A substantial amount of learning gets lost when education goes online. Staring at a screen prevents them from using their mind limiting their growth. As a result making them being mere remote receptors of what is beamed.
Technological Constraints in Online Education
Perhaps the key disadvantage of Online Education is that it is so prevalent. Although worldwide nations have made great strides in creating a reliable internet infrastructure. Many smaller towns and communities are still struggling to maintain a steady and firm connection with enough speed. A human’s ability to learn may get disrupted by an internet connection problem or a weak internet signal situation. Online education also gives rise to a digital gap in society. Teachers and Students have to be fully trained. In how to effectively use what the internet and modern technologies have to offer. The lesser students can use these online tools, the more the digital gap or digital divide widens.
Contradictory to the Right To Education
As we know technology is not affordable to all. Hence completely or even partially shifting towards online education. It is likely to take away the right to Education of those who do not have the access to technology. Moreover, the Education Policy that states the digitisation of education is also in contradiction with the right to education. Everyone who has the will to learn and gain knowledge must not be restricted. Or remained untouched due to inaccessibility to e-learning. Therefore, this becomes a major disadvantage of online learning. Where one can’t exercise their fundamental right and the right to education gets compromised.
Health issues due to Online Education
Considering the fact that Online learning can only be done with the help of a digital device. Such as a laptop, smartphone or personal computer. So it demands a considerable amount of time from the learners to be seated in front of a screen. In order to attend or take online classes, this can be taxing to the pupils. This propagates many health issues. It is been seen in students under the age of 1-3 years. Are most likely to suffer from weaker eyesight in the long run. Various other health issues like neck and back pain due to bad posture. And lack of movement are also other matters of concern.
Lack of Focus
An internet-enabled device makes an individual get distracted very easily. Since learning or acquiring education requires a lot of concentration and focus. While sitting for an online class is probable that one can lose focus. Also can hop on to something other for example social media websites, games, or anything on the internet. Which is so readily accessible. So, for learners, the mammoth size disadvantage of online education develops. Resulting in a lack of focus on what is being taught during the online class. Hence, being an engaged learner and continuing the discourse. The teacher or instructor about topics can help prevent such situations.
Sense of Isolation
When someone enrols on an online learning course though there are innumerable benefits to that. But also comes with a number of disadvantages of online education. Since it’s not a physical setup there is not peer to peer interaction. Or any kind of interpersonal contact between the teacher and the learner can generate a sense of isolation. Physical classroom setups help nurture patience. Inculcate competitive spirit, team spirit, and the ability to deal with disappointment in those who want to improve their learning. Conversely, in online courses, there are no such values imparted. This can make the learners feel lonely.
Compromised Communication skills
Online education strategies are definitely highly effective in terms of boosting learners’ and students’ academic understanding. However, there has been a lack of development in communication skills. We often tend to overlook this area of skill set during online sessions. In addition to that, there is a lack of face-to-face communication. As we get the option to not switch on the web cameras of the devices in a digital setting. Hence students may feel hesitant to collaborate effectively when they receive assignments and group projects. This results in compromised communication skills development making it a disadvantage of online education.
Requires self-discipline While learning online
Being a part of a community and attending classes in a physical environment increases accountability. In case, if a student does not feel they are getting the proper guidance. They may not have enough self-discipline to completely engage and involve in the lessons themselves. Moving to virtual, real-time classes instead of just online courses provides a better sense of accountability. Online education tools such as live quiz trivia and breakout sessions do help assess understanding in real time. Hence classroom learning is indispensable and requires self-discipline from learners in order to gauge the learning.
Lack of Practical Learning
Despite the adoption of online education gaining momentum, this mode cannot suffice for classroom learning systems. This form of learning is inherently flawed. And this is another disadvantage of online education that it lacks practical learning methodologies. Moreover, it does not have the basic elements of quality education. Such as the formation of a teacher-student relationship and the facility to carry out practical. While theory-based subjects such as English, sociology, or other humanities courses. Now have accommodated and gelled well in this environment of online education. While practical-based courses such as BSc, bachelor’s in biotechnology, or engineering, among others, have faced severe downsides.
The commercialisation of Education
Education is not just about competence but also more about motivation. The students are meant to discover not just cover the syllabus and get into a rat race. The exponential growth that Ed-Tech witnessed, led to the commercialisation of education. Online education has become more of selling a particular course than providing quality education on their ed-tech platform. Companies are likely to engage in various forms of business malpractices to attract a wider consumer base. Promoting misleading advertisements and adopting unfair trade practices. Also has also come to light in recent times making it a disadvantage of online education.
- As a part of Corporate Social Responsibility. Private Ed-Tech, players can include tech-based organisations to make technology available to the underprivileged.
- There is a need to encourage conditions that give frontline educators autonomy and flexibility to collaborate.
- A multi-pronged approach can be adopted.
- Rescheduling the academic timetable
- Exploring options in collaboration with schools, universities etc can be done to provide education to a larger section of people.
- Expansion in the direction of the Right to education.
- Ensuring scientific literacy within the curriculum.
Since the pandemic forced the teaching and learning process to migrate to the virtual mode. Online Education is a double-edged sword, there are a number of advantages of online education with some disadvantages as well. The education system faced turbulence like never before. Many colleges, schools and educational institutes came forward to provide their students with online courses and lessons. Courses that helped the students to enhance their skills. And get knowledge from the comfort of their homes through the internet.
As we saw above and evaluated the online Education system on the basis of the advantages and disadvantages it proposes. We can say that despite gaining momentum Online Education cannot compensate for or replace classroom-based learning. Technology might serve as a saviour and comes to the rescue but at a cost. In this context, there is a need to make education available to all as a common good. And digitization of Education can help in achieving that goal.
Ans. An internet-enabled device such as a laptop, smartphone or personal computer is a required gadget.
Ans. In that case, you can examine every piece of equipment like a microphone, internet connection, camera etc or seek advice from your mentor.
Ans. Yes, you can, by enrolling on an online course that provides you with certification of completion of the course.
Ans. yes, you can connect to the instructor via email, through LMS or online discussion forums.