Why Online Learning is Here to Stay

Introduction

With lockdowns world-wide, schools and colleges are exploring and adopting technology at a stunning speed. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the teaching-learning process to move online at a rapid pace. While some may believe that this is only a temporary situation, there are many indicators that online learning is here to stay.

Here, we list some reasons to support this point:

Advances in knowledge are supersonic

We have seen more scientific and technological advances in the past 20 years than we have in the past 200 or even 2000 years. Healthcare, communication technology, biotechnology, and computing infrastructure have leapfrogged at astronomical rates. But this also means that whatever we learn, it becomes redundant in 3-5 years.

To update everyone’s knowledge on a continuing basis, technology is a very important tool. It is impossible to update textbooks and curriculum in the traditional mode to keep pace with the rate of change in knowledge. This is the single biggest argument for moving education online.

Gen Z learners stand out for their technology use

Generation Z is very comfortable with the use of digital devices. Many studies have indicated that the efficiency of student learning is high when it is aided by technology.

According to the Isobar-Ipsos #MeetTheZ survey, the tech savvy Gen Z, which forms the bulk of the student population currently, perceives technology as the means to information and empowerment. 55% of the survey respondents say their life runs on technology while 66% believe tech helps them gain experience and acquire new skills. This generation also spends an average of 8 hours per day online.

Digitally enhanced learning helps learning retention. It also has a positive impact on learner confidence. Technology can be leveraged to provide useful insights to learners especially for those that are engaged in learning new course concepts. Additionally, learning material can be tailored to needs of individual students. This will encourage more active learning and student participation.

Effective Course Preparation

The online teaching-learning process makes it simpler for educators to design and deliver courses. A report by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) revealed that more than 75% of the teachers surveyed in a study conducted to analyze the impact of online teaching admitted that they were able to deliver more effective sessions when they conducted online classes as compared to F2F classes. The virtual teaching experience also helped them improve their face-to-face teaching process.

The main reasons listed by them are mentioned below:

  • It led to more effective teaching strategies
  • It increased student engagement
  • It facilitated better communication and empathy with students

Traditional methods can be time consuming and tedious, often leading to burnout or resulting in less-than-ideal classroom delivery. Technology can be leveraged to create effective lesson plans that includes impactful content, resources, and learning activities. Since all students do not learn the same way, technology can help teachers reach out to the entire learning group.

Educators will also be able to obtain effective insights into the learning needs of the students. This will help them fine-tune the teaching process.

Classroom Management

With online learning, teachers have wider reach and access to a greater variety of educational resources. Learners, irrespective of their location, will be able to interact with teachers and their fellow students in real time creating an exciting and fulfilling learning environment.

Recent studies have shown that students are more likely to participate in online discussions than regular classroom discussions- raising questions, queries, engaging in peer discussion and debate. According to a research article published by Education Research International, “students perceived improvement in learning because of the online environment and appreciated the opportunities it has provided for deeper understanding of content-based issues, appreciation of multiple views, and reflection of their own learning and perceptions.”

Because of the extensive use of data in addition to audio and video, the learning experience is enhanced for the students. According to a CompTIA study, nine out of 10 students believed that leveraging technology in the classroom would help them prepare more effectively for the digital future.

Access to a wider variety of content

In physical classrooms, educators have access to limited resources, apart from live teaching sessions. Digital learning allows educators to leverage learning tools to create learning material.

Personalized Learning

One of the main benefits of digital learning is the flexibility it offers with respect to individual learning. Since digital learning allows for greater flexibility in scheduling classes, students will be able to choose electives more freely without worrying about class schedules. Learners who enroll in online learning programs will be able to tailor their learning according to their needs and strengths.

If certain online classes are pre-recorded, learners can structure their learning according to their preferences. With online learning, learners can customize their learning and have greater control over what, how, and when they study. They will be able to take classes, complete assignments, attempt quizzes according to their schedules.

Accessibility

Digital learning creates a wide range of opportunities for learners – since location is no longer a constraint, learners will be able to share classrooms with peers from across the country.

Students with special needs will be able to experience comfortable learning environments. While traditional school environments try their best to ensure their needs are met, learning from home is more advantageous.

Parental Participation

Digital Learning allows for greater involvement of parents and guardians in the teaching-learning process. Parents can now participate in the process by helping their wards with assignment submissions, reviewing coursework etc. They can also customize the learning requirements for their wards during the early years.

Cost Effectiveness

Online learning is extremely cost effective- this means that more learners will be able to afford quality education. Traditional modes of learning- schools, colleges etc. are increasingly becoming expensive and as a result, fewer students can afford it.

Technology gives students access to better teachers from across the world. Travel and/or accommodation costs are also minimized. As larger number of students can benefit from the same content, infrastructure, and teachers, the costs come down for students.

Online learning is more accessible than it has ever been. Smartphones have become very affordable and cheap data have ensured that e-learning is available to the majority of the student population. Since most online learning solutions are hosted on the cloud, hardware costs are almost non-existent for educational institutions.

Extra-curricular options

Learners can devote more time to pursue their hobbies and other interests because they are not compelled or forced to participate in activities that are common to the entire learning group. They can choose extra-curricular activities of their choice to supplement their learning.

The emergence of new technologies, including cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence has accelerated online learning. It is no longer a fad or a luxury- it is a necessity for the modern teaching-learning ecosystem. Technology is set to play an increasingly important role in all aspects of education in the coming decade. With the education landscape being as competitive as it has ever been, those failing to leverage the power of digital learning will be left behind.

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corporate solutions higher education solutions

corporate solutions higher education solutions