BY: ANKITA SHARMA, VIDHYARTHI DARPAN
Online Education has become an integral part of students’ learning curriculum. Whether it is a short-term course or a full-fledged degree, digital learning has piqued the interest of many undergraduate and post-graduate students from all over the world.
Online Education involves learning about various disciplines offered by institutions. These courses are conferred solely through the digital transference of knowledge and conduction of virtual exams.
No wonder, with thousands of students enrolling for an online degree, India is one of the top 5 countries to have known to invest the most in e-learning.
Before opting for online training in your preferred field, it is crucial to learn about its pros and cons to choose better.
Online education has become a popular choice among young and adults alike because of the enormous benefits. Below are some of the advantages of Online Education:
Most of the online education follow asynchronous (non-continuous, flexible schedule) learning. Students get to choose when, where, and how to study given a proper internet connection. They can schedule pre-recorded classes to accommodate social and family responsibilities. The discussion forums are perennially present throughout the sessions for clearing doubts.
2) Creative Teaching Techniques
Online education is not limited to monotonous lectures with frequent “Yes sir, No sir” salutations. It is more than that. Online classes have interactive sessions, quizzes, exchange of innovative ideas, animations, fun videos, even gamified learning has emerged in the limelight. Essentially, courses need to be engaging and inviting to students’ understanding.
3) Collaboration with Like-Minded People
The Internet consists of a plethora of people in thirst of knowledge and improving skills. During online classes, students may encounter people with similar interests and goals. It enhances communication skills and helps in choosing a plausible career.
4) Time Management
Students learn plenty of other personal skills in online learning, such as self-realization, the importance of prioritizing work, an appropriate division of study & leisure time, timely submission of assignments & tasks, responsibility, etc. In short, time management skills go a long way in the personal development of the student.
5) Access to World-Class Content
With the enrolment, online courses also come with unlimited data related to core subjects. It includes an e-library of resources, study materials, links to scholarly articles, and research papers for an in-depth understanding of the topic.
6) Learn from the Best Educators
In an online platform, students gain insights from educators with enormous expertise in subjects from all over the world. The variety of teaching techniques by renowned teachers maintains the confidence and credibility of the education imparted. Concisely, students can rely on their educators for accurate and updated knowledge.
When in doubt related to the topic taught, students may directly contact the instructor without consultation from their friends, as observed in traditional classrooms. It is more individual-centric. Additionally, shy students gain the confidence to put up doubts and conversations in forums. There is no apparent dressing code, a particular age, or appearance to be enrolled in online lectures; everybody is welcome.
8) Can Enroll in Courses Irrespective of the Difference in Time-Zones
The best part of online learning is that it is available day and night, no matter which part of the world you reside in. The lectures, study materials, discussions are pre-recorded or saved in archives; hence are easily accessible. Distance learning has emerged as an alternative to in-class learning in many countries, and rightly so.
Online courses are undoubtedly affordable as opposed to classroom learning that requires notebooks, chalks & dusters. Furthermore, all the study materials in the form of pdfs, videos, eBooks, animations, links, files, docs, and photos are accessible online, which is sustainable to the environment. Apart from this, digital learning also saves traveling time and cost.
There are, however, problems and challenges faced in online learning. Below are some of the potential difficulties faced by students:
1) More Likely to Drop Out/Get Bored
Most students lose interest or get worn out of often encountered technical issues or lack of query clearance during the course duration. The continuous need for self-motivation and self-reliance compels the students to either postpone, change, or drop-out of the course entirely.
2) Demands Intense Focus and Dedication
Studying through a screen necessitates self-motivation, alertness, and active learning to make the most of the lecturer’s labor. There are no external disturbances as observed in the classroom programs. Online education allows the student to learn at its pace and provides the flexibility of the schedule. It confers responsibility on students to keep up with the program.
Since there are no teachers present to nag or push the students to complete projects and assignments before the deadline, they tend to postpone it to the last minute. Procrastination is a prominent issue for students. It becomes essential for students to maintain, keep reminders, and look out for deadlines.
4) Frequent Technical problems
One of the disadvantages of digital learning is frequent internet issues. Online learning entirely relies on internet connectivity to impart education. Although most urban areas are equipped with continuous net speed, developing areas are lagging. Thus, hindering the learning process as a whole.
5) Less peer interaction
Online learning has quite one-to-one conversations where students can directly contact and clear doubts. However, the interaction with fellow mates and the process of making valuable connections lessen with the limit of time spent online. Undergraduates are more deprived of social relationships in online classes than physically leading a decent social life in a traditional school or college.
6) Lack of Hands-On Training
The main disadvantage of online learning is the lack of practical training. Without scientific materials and hands-on skills, students may find it strenuous to apply them in real-life scenarios. The case is similar to courses that require mostly hands-on experiences such as nanotechnology, chemistry, genetics, etc.
7) Long hours of Screen time
Long hours in front of a lightened screen affects the vision of the student. Sitting before a rectangular display without a blue wavelength filter happens to be one of the leading causes of poor eyesight among the student community. The arched pose in which most students adhere to online classes on the desktop/laptop/mobile also tends to obstruct proper body posture, which is a concern for parents.
8) Cost of Technology Usage and its Accessibility
On one side, cities are dependent on net services for the proper functioning of their work. On the other end, technology has not touched the edge in under-developed areas. This uneven distribution creates a hindrance in accessing online education.
Online education tends to provide students the freedom to multitask efficiently on both professional and a personal front. Researchers show that, on average, a student retains 25-60% of educational data in an online classroom compared to 8-10% in traditional classrooms. As we ace through technological changes, online education has become incumbent in learning and gaining new information.