Benefits and Limitations of Online Learning
Learning truly is an anywhere, anytime activity. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, migrating towards online learning emerged as the most obvious option for most learning institutions. Universities and schools around the world announced plans of moving their teaching and learning to online platforms so that their students are continue with their studies during this time.
For those who do have access to the right technology, there is evidence that learning online can be more effective in many ways. Online learning allows for students to work at a time and a place that is compatible with their learning needs. They can learn at their own pace, revise and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating through concepts as they choose. In addition, learning online helps improve digital literacy. It can provide students with an insight into how to be effective online and communicate with content, peers and teachers.
Similarly, teaching online helps educators communicate more effectively through various digital mediums, as well as being competent and confident users of video technology in education. Regular interaction with fellow staff and students through email and message boards enhances computer skills and create educators more adept at handling the technology and devices of the digital age. Teachers also learn to reach out to their students more efficiently and effectively through chat groups, video meetings, and also document sharing, especially during this pandemic.
There are, however, challenges to overcome with respect to online learning for both teachers and students,
Without reliable internet access and/or technology, some students may struggle to participate in digital learning; this gap is can be seen across the nation and between income disparities. While some schools and governments have been providing digital equipment to students in need, many are still concerned that the pandemic will widen the digital and education divide.
Maintaining consistent learning motivation is yet another challenge that online learners face. Students who lacked independence and self-motivation overall were found to have lower success rates than their classmates. Students lacking motivation, whether intrinsic or extrinsic, can easily lose sight of their original goal, quickly become lost within the course, and ultimately withdraw.
Overall, online teaching is much more reflective and demanding than most forms of traditional classroom instruction. Teachers are required to spend a good deal of time interacting with students and explaining details of the subject over and over again, in additional to having a calm, disciplined teaching style and personality that fits online teaching as not every teacher is a candidate for online teaching.
The effectiveness of online learning varies amongst age groups. Online learning is not only about internet connection. Particularly for learners in lower grades, there needs to be supervision and somebody to assist with the lessons. Even done properly, online learning is not an ideal substitute for the kind of learning interaction that normally ocurs in a classroom.
The coronavirus is transforming so many aspects of our lives, including the teaching and learning aspects. It is important to consider both the pros and cons of online teaching and learning before making it the most preferred method for now and the future. Teachers and students need to be better prepared to face the challenge of working in this new environment as well as embrace the new opportunities and challenges.