To learn a language, strengthen a specific skill, or earn a full academic degree, learning online was never an option earlier. But now the trend is picking up at a very fast pace and with this pandemic, online learning has become an alternative option to live classroom sessions. The statistics show that more students have opted for online learning in recent years. Online learning is a popular alternative to in-person learning because it removes the major barriers to learning, thus making it more equitable and accessible.
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There are other benefits too for the online mode:
THIS BLOG INCLUDES:
1. Managing Time
2. Unfocussed and Unmotivated
4. Class Engagement and Group Interactions
5. Diminished Social Aspects
6. Some Students Feel Left Behind
7. Conducting Assessments
8. Online Security
More importantly, online learning requires greater time management and self-discipline.
Yet there are struggles with online learning. Even though the online mode offers a pool of facilities and opportunities to build the students’ careers, the transition remains challenging. And therefore a lot of students struggle to perform well. The struggles start right from the time of registration. In the offline mode the students were instantly able to reach out to their teachers and admin staff in case of any queries or doubts, but in the online mode, they needed to email the concerned person and wait for the reply. Let us explore the other struggles in the online mode of learning.
Usually, during study hours, there are signals to our brains to switch gears and move to a different subject and stop working on the one we are studying. Some students who find organizing, prioritizing, time management struggle to understand those signals. Like in an offline mode, we have the period bell as an indicator to move from one classroom to another classroom. Most students complain that they are not able to judge how much time to allocate to specific subjects. They either overestimate or underestimate the time required. And thus, they struggle to create a timetable and stick to it.
In an online mode of learning, students are their own bosses and enjoy a lot of freedom. Also there are a lot of distractions – friends, pets, siblings, noise – the students tend to lose focus for an extended period of time. Unlike in the school environment, they are confined to the classroom and need to stay put in the school for the entire school duration. Moreover, the online students are not self-motivated as they don’t have their classmates or their teachers pushing them to do the work and holding them accountable.
The online classes are totally dependent on technology and the technology isn’t always reliable. And these technical glitches hamper the students’ study flow and they most of the time do not give themselves enough cushion to deal with such technical failure situations.
In a virtual classroom, the teacher may not be able to pinpoint any specific student in a large group as some students hide in the group and hesitate to speak up or ask questions. And thus students who need this personal attention feel isolated and fall back in the curriculum and during the course of time either start missing classes or not attentive while participating. Further, the group discussions are not as effective as in an offline classroom. Students do not get motivated to talk or discuss anything online. Again, the teacher is not able to pinpoint any specific student to come up with his inputs.
Another challenge in the online platform is the loss of many social aspects. Indeed, there are facilities available in online learning in the form of virtual classroom activities and opportunities for social interaction with peers. All these opportunities are indeed great initiatives yet are not the same as physical in-person relations. Interactions in-person creates more considerable bonds, a mutual trust and friendship founded on common work and goals, and many other supportive attributes which not only help academically but also help emotionally.
In the conventional offline classroom sessions, teachers can monitor the students physically and personally, adjusting their pace to accommodate anyone who needs extra time. Since it is harder to read body language virtually, monitoring each student individually also becomes challenging. Thus the students who are in need of such micro monitoring feel left out and they leave the online class discouraged, frustrated, and having learnt nothing. In due course, they lose interest and start missing a few classes too.
Assessment of a student is a mandatory and integral part of any education system. And in the traditional classroom learning, the students are made to take a test or appear for an examination at the school premises. While the online platform provides the facility to conduct the assessment in the multiple choice questions (MCQ) mode as a stop-gap solution, the subjective assessment measures the real learning. And this is the real challenge to the online learning alternative, where the student assessment and evaluation is a major setback.
No matter what ever measures are taken, working on the internet always raises concerns on data privacy and security. The online platforms usually used by the teachers to conduct the virtual classrooms, no matter how safe they are, always has attached risk factors. Among the privacy problems that come with the online technology are the collection and potential use of students’ personal information, as well as using products and tools, or platforms not designed for the children. The scary pandemic has forced the schools to opt for online learning and thus the mad rush has led them to adapt to less-privacy friendly technologies and platforms to conduct their virtual classes.
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