The world is changing as we know it and I don’t even need to tell you how much that has changed the way humans lived in the past centuries. Today, you don’t even have to do some basic things like switching on the fan, opening the door, and even cleaning up after getting done at the restroom by yourself; all of these have been automated. Technology has taken over every aspect of our lives. However, I am not about to focus on the development of technology in particular. But it’s a specific influence on education.
Like every other aspect of our lives, formal learning has changed from the chalkboard method to electronic board and remote learning through the internet. And now we are talking about online learning; otherwise known as e-learning or in full, electronic learning. Just imagine the prospects of having to worry less about extra spending on personal upkeep after paying the tuition because you only need to set up your personal computer in one corner of your room to attend the class! So apart from the usual lively atmosphere of a classroom and the feelings of being with friends and course mates what else should you consider as the sidelines of e-learning?
That question is important and should be answered as we assess a relatively new method of the teacher-student relationship. How is the shift going to affect students and what are the good things in it?
THE PROS OF ONLINE LEARNING
Surely, this is a welcoming development for the good opportunities it offers. For instance, at a time like this when the world is locked behind closed doors for safety, there is no telling the fact that the conversational learning style of physical interaction has been deeply affected. If this is the only problem that e-learning can help solve, it’s worth the try. But then, that’s not the only thing.
- Convenience: one good thing about online learning is the convenience involved. Students can go at their own pace once the lecture has released course schedules and materials. Not only can you now learn at your own pace with online learning, but you can also learn at your convenience. Imagine you have the choice to take the course only when you are psychologically ready to do so. That’s cool, right? Yeah, I know!
- Affordability: with online learning, you will not be paying for infrastructure and like dues in your tuition. Additional expenses required for the basic things such as transport will also be saved as you will not need to attend the class, thereby making transport unnecessary. Not only that, but you will also have access to course materials from your teachers and won’t need to spend so much on textbooks. If you ask me, this factor alone would make anyone welcome online learning with open arms.
- Accessibility: You only need a computer and internet connection to run an online course.
THE CONS OF ONLINE LEARNING
Online learning is not without some sidelines which hopefully will be improved on as technology advances. However, one needs to consider these sidelines especially if you are considering taking an online course.
- Limitation of Courses: part of the sidelines of online learning is the type of courses that could be done online. Courses that need hands-on experience will be difficult to teach online as students will need to have a practical approach to understand some concepts in those courses.
Also, experimentation works cannot be carried out by online students as a personal laboratory cannot be easily set up. For these reasons, online learning might be inadequate to handle some courses like Engineering and Health Sciences.
- Low Reputation: Some companies will prefer students who received education under the conventional system to students who learned through online classes. However, this borders on adaptivity to new changes which hopefully will improve as time goes on.
- Social Interaction and Networking: Networking is an essential part of learning and this is where the conventional classroom beats online classroom hands down. Nothing can replace the great feeling of being with friends and making beneficial contacts. With online learning, this is impossible.
The transition from the conventional method of learning to online learning method is becoming inevitable as new realities strike the world. In times past, major unrest such as war, natural disasters, pandemics, and so on has occasionally put the education system on hold.
However, with the help of online learning, the world can continue learning even when physical interaction is impossible.