The Covid-19 era has impacted everyone, whether directly or indirectly. As they say change is the only constant, us humans have adapted with the pandemic just like every other change. Online learning has been established as the new normal, learning has been made accessible with just a few clicks. But the question here is how comfortable are we with it? Have we taken into consideration the ways it will affect not just us but even our future generations physically and mentally? Its safe to say that just like every new norm, online learning is a double-edged sword.
- Flexibility: One of the major advantages of online learning has to be the flexibility it provides. Recorded lectures are godsent for professionals who juggle between work and college. Apart from this, there is geographic flexibility, which assists anyone to access lectures from any place having a good network and internet connection.
- Inclusiveness: As a result of online lectures and exams, there is hope for people who had to discontinue their education due to any reason. They can restart their education in the comfort of their homes. Even students studying in international universities can grow and learn without having to move away from their families. E-learning is a great option for bridging these gaps.
- Efficiency: Various drawbacks of traditional institutions like excess of travel time have been eliminated because of e-learning. In a country like ours where infrastructure has been a problem, travelling has always been time consuming. I remember my batchmates who had a commute of 2-3 hours daily for attending lectures, which is no more an issue now. This has increased their efficiency and given more time to them for other commitments.
- Cost effective: With the promotion of Digital India, companies have made sure we get the best for what we pay. Cheaper internet rates have aided in cost reduction for education. Apart from that, all other extra expenses like travelling, hostel fees, stationery, and uniforms.
- Plethora of options to choose from: With learning made so easy, people can develop their skills and even pursue their hobbies at the same time. Many have started taking classes for music, baking, photography and what not! This is good for not just professional but also for personal growth.
- Lack of attention span: With the increased screen time, we are inevitably losing our attention. Especially children who are in their crucial growth years have it the hardest. Online classes are like a show which they do not like watching at all.
- Minimum interaction: College and school years are an essential part to build friendships and connections which may last a lifetime. With online lectures, there has been no need for students to interact with their peers or their teachers outside of school. This has created a sense of isolation which can have adverse effects of mental health and well-being.
- Accessibility: As mentioned above, our country is not the soundest in terms of infrastructure. Remote areas having little to no internet connectivity can be a hurdle in e-learning. Not every student can afford laptops or tablets to attend classes.
- Adverse effect on health: Staring at a screen for most of the day can deteriorate the physical health by the strain caused in eyes, frequent headaches, and fatigue. Apart from this our lifestyles have become so sedentary. A digital detox is necessary every now and then for it to not take a toll on our mental wellbeing.
- Challenge to traditional learning: In a country where books are worshipped, its hard to cope up with the tech-savvy world. There have been many instances of teachers not being able to cope up with digital tools. It is necessary that institutions train them in order to make online learning a smooth ride.
In my opinion, online classes can be a bane to children in their growth years, but it is definitely a boon for post graduate and college going students. Teachers can make sessions more interactive and livelier by using creative ways to make learning fun. There has been skepticism for students of current batches who are seeking jobs and internships after passing out virtually. To make up for this, students must develop their skills and not let the pandemic decide their career choices.
To conclude, I can say that online learning has its own shortcomings, but it is essential we accept it. The adverse effects can be managed if we pay heed.
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