Online education can be defined as learning that takes place over the Internet. It is also referred to as the “e-learning”. In the last two decades, Internet has grown from being an alien term into the largest, most talked about and the most accessible database of information ever created. It comes under the purview of distance learning, a term that encompasses all sorts of learning that takes place across distance and not in a traditional classroom. However, online education is much more than just a new twist to distance learning. Online schooling is changing the face of education and making it more accessible and flexible than ever before. Moreover, with the Pandemic Covid-19 disrupting normal lives and getting schools shut all across the world, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom. As a result, education has changed dramatically, with a colossal rise of e-learning, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. With this sudden shift, speculations are going on whether the adoption of online learning will continue to persist post-pandemic and how such a shift would affect the worldwide education scenario.
ONLINE LEARNING : THE IDEA DISCUSSED
Online learning or virtual classes is the newest development in distance education, that began in the mid 1900s with the spread of the Internet and the worldwide web. In this mode of learning, students use their home computer or laptop or smartphones through the Internet, which means that teacher-student interaction as well as distribution of class materials take place through the Internet. It can include audio, video, test, animations, virtual training environments and live chat with professors. It’s a learning experience with much more flexibility than a traditional classroom.
BENEFITS OF ONLINE EDUCATION :
Online learning is growing at a rapid rate and is becoming more and more popular all across the globe. Some of the key benefits of online education include –
• Attend from anywhere, anytime : This is the most appealing benefit of online education for students with many duties to balance. Since everything is available online, accessing class materials and submitting work is very convenient. This flexibility is the main advantage of e-learning.
• Group communication : For group projects, meeting in person often becomes difficult. Online courses foster virtual communication and allow students to work with team members via email, chat room and other easy-to-communicate modes.
• Availability of instructor / teacher : At regular colleges and universities, talking to a professor on one-to-one basis can be challenging. However, web based technologies make conversing with the teachers easier because teachers can revert back to the students at their convenient hours. Thus accessibility is a big plus point.
• Cost Saving – Although online courses can be as costly or even more than traditional courses, students can save money on several other accounts like commuting, refreshments, parking and so on.
DISADVANTAGES OF VIRTUAL CLASSES :
Irrespective of numerous benefits of online education, a look around the real world, clearly shows that students still prefer traditional courses much more than e-learning. Some of the conspicuous drawbacks include –
• Little or no face-to-face interaction : Building relationships with the teachers and classmates is an integral part of a student’s life and in case of online education, that becomes difficult. To be more precise, ” personal touch ” is absolutely missing in e-learning and hence it is somewhat mechanical.
• Huge work pressure : Online courses typically require a greater amount of reading and assignments than traditional courses. Thus a student needs to put in greater effort for these courses.
• Lack of accreditation : There are numerous institutes offering hundreds of courses online. Before enrolling, it is essential to check the program’s accreditation because a degree from a school with no accreditation will leave you with a worthless degree.