A few years ago, nobody would have imagined that a public health crisis would be the reason for digitization of what was considered a rigidly traditional sector - education. But true to the concept of the word, educators have ‘learnt’ how to keep learning going and have taken great strides in ensuring inclusive learning. Most student learning patterns are different from the other and with the pandemic, more focus has been placed on suitable learning methods for each type of learner and their pace. Online schooling has now become the norm, after moving on from the newness phase that we saw in the early pandemic days. Efforts to transition the learner and the teacher on virtual platforms came with its own teething troubles. Classroom management, inclusive education and time management were tricky issues to deal with, even extending to external factors like poor internet connectivity and infrastructure, data plans and others. While most opted out of an education in Tier 2 and 3 cities, the others grappled with a new medium of instruction, hoping that the pandemic would soon come to an end and conventional schooling would take over.
The situation looks vastly different now. More policy regulations and the introduction of cheaper internet plans, better infrastructure have come in place for everybody to ‘catch up’. Quite impressive was the revised education policy announced by the Government to shift the focus on skill-building rather than rote memory.
Online schooling and education has definitely made us look at the concept of learning through a different lens and some benefits outweigh the traditional form of schooling. In this blog, we examine some of the benefits of online education over traditional education with the hope that the future will be a place where both worlds exist harmoniously, each complementing the other.
There are two schools of thought regarding the social links that a school provides. One is that with the digital move, more users feel the need to be on the platforms in order to ‘feel connected’ with their peers or colleagues. Therefore, a heightened usage of forums and other online communal activities is observed, presumably so that students can maintain their social interactions until face-to-face interactions are safe to happen. Proponents of traditional schooling methods are of the view that online social interactions don’t account for a lot as nothing can replace human connection. A mixed format of classroom interactions could be the norm, going forward, and until then online classroom management platforms could keep vital academic and non-academic communication going.
The pandemic altered our sense of time during its early days when borders between home and school were hazy and flexible. As order began to manifest in daily online classes, users realized that they could make more effective use of their time which in a traditional school setting, would have required travel to campus, and time spent in non-core activities. Educators, on the other hand, reported having more time for building on the quality of lesson delivery as well as training. For both students and teachers, online learning has brought about a situation of order in their daily academic routines.
Digital is the future. This truth has been dwelled on time and again in different usages. The responsibility of imparting skills for a digital-first job market starts with the educational institution. By harnessing innovative technologies for teaching, administration and learning, a culture of modernization can be built from within. Learners should be able to link curriculum to applications in real-life situations; which is one of the goals laid out for students by the New Education Policy of 2020 as well. An online schooling experience can deliver this faster than traditional schooling as users are wired to think and do digital.
Lastly, an online education is more cost-effective than traditional schooling due to the reduction in infrastructure and resource costs like books and uniforms. Learners can access a range of additional online resource materials to supplement what they learn in class as well. The ease of access - on any device, at any time - also makes online education more attractive than traditional schooling.
Both forms of schooling have their own advantages and disadvantages. For the foreseeable future, online schooling is here to stay. Social aspects like physical peer and faculty interactions are lost with the digital medium and a hybrid method could resolve challenges arising it.