The COVID-19 lockdown came as a "shock" for several students as coaching classes and schools closed abruptly after the government announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown from March 25 to check the spread of the coronavirus. However, in 2020, one of the most oft-used terms after the pandemic is the term “new normal.” And the new normal in education is the increased use of online learning tools.
Coronavirus pandemic has triggered new ways of learning and has accelerated the process of adoption of ‘online’ as a viable mode for learning in 2020. In the past few months, the demand for online learning has risen significantly, and it will continue to do so in the future. Along with parents and students, for many educational institutes, 'online learning' is an entirely new way of education that they have had to adopt.Anshul Gupta of Yellow Class said that the revolution of edtech is driven out of the massive adoption of technology because of the pandemic. It has opened up access for a lot of people who did not have it till now.
"This is especially beneficial for people from tier 2-3 towns, who had limited options. However, it is challenging for parents and teachers alike as this is not a medium they have experience with. They are still trying & testing to ensure they have the kid's attention. The models that are winners will emerge over time," Gupta added.
The number of those enrolling for virtual classes has witnessed exponential rises and the trend is likely to stay, the experts from the education industry said.
"Online education is inevitable and will be ubiquitous. Pressing issues such as accessibility and adaptability have to be fixed in order to make a big difference," Saikiran Chandha, co-founder of Typeset, said.
As with most teaching methods, online learning also has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Online Education:
The first obvious advantage of online classes is the sheer convenience factor as it allows students/teachers to attend/take classes from any location of their choice. It saves hours as neither students nor teachers required to travel to a physical location for the classes.
Another advantage of online education is that the students have greater flexibility in choosing when the best time to study is. Students can search for whatever video they might have missed and catch up on class later! All they need is an internet connection and a computer or a smartphone.
The major advantages of online education come down to economics. Online classes lower the tremendous amount of money for the learning institution and students. As institutes do not need to rely on reserving a physical location to teach courses, it ultimately translates to more cost-effective classes for the student.
Also, having to show up at a physical classroom location increases travel expenses for students. Online learning cuts many of these costs, including those associated with hiring an instructor, booking a facility, printing materials, and travel. Even all the course or study materials are available online.
Vivek Goyal, co-founder and CEO of PlayShifu, said that while COVID-19 disrupted many businesses including the educational institutions, it has also crated a positive effect. "There’s already higher awareness and adoption of learning at home, and hence the increased demand will continue for learning-based products and services in every household," Goyal said.
As we are now entering a new era — the revolution of online education, online classes have changed the concept of traditional education radically. It is also helping students as well as teachers to grow their tech skills.
Disadvantages of Online Education:
Lack of social interaction:
In a traditional classroom, Some students find comfort in group studies, lively group discussion, and thus easy access to professors or their fellow students. However, these moments do not arise in online learning. For some, these face-to-face interactions are a must to bring the material to life.
The classic disadvantages of online classes center around technical difficulties. While on one hand, online education boost the technical skills of students/teachers, it has also emerged as another key challenge for them. Online classes are completely dependent on proper internet connectivity and functional systems(computers or smartphones). In smaller cities and towns, a consistent connection with decent speed is a problem. Without a consistent internet connection for students or teachers, there can be a lack of continuity in learning for the child.
Akash Aggarwal, co-founder of Edutinker, said that online education is not something recently invented. But it picked up the pace and came as a handy tool in maintaining continuity during the pandemic because of the technology. He said that education needs innovation and online learning could help in reaching out to millions who couldn’t get the quality education.