Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. (Benet Wilson)
The whole world is affected by the novel COVID-19 in many ways. When the governments made the call for lockdown, with the hope to flatten the rising curve to contain the contagion, almost every sector, including business, trade, transport and education, shared its suffering. A quick response with an effective solution was required to save the industries from losing human potential and economic loss.
The education sector suffered the most from this issue. One can only imagine the pandemic’s pressure on the education sector when, during the peak of the crisis, almost 1.6 billion children in 195 countries were driven from schools into their homes. It was impossible to continue the conventional face-to-face education method. It challenged the whole world to come up with new ways to cope with the situation.
COVID-19 and E-learning
E-learning is the utilization of electronic technologies to provide access to the educational curriculum outside a traditional classroom. When all schools and universities shut following the lockdown, institutions could not risk sitting on their hands and wait for the situation to normalize on its own. It could lead to the wastage of precious academic time. Moreover, the strict ‘social-distancing’ measures, issued by the majority of governments to be followed strictly made it impossible to solve the problem with old methods worldwide.
Soon after the failure of conventional systems, millions of sectors shifted their focus on a digital solution. Notably, the education sector was compelled to focus on e-learning to restore the academic sessions. Leading institutions encouraged their employees to utilize digital platforms to deliver their lectures to the students. Very soon, students found themselves with their teachers on various online platforms. E-learning was chosen as an emergency response, but seeing the effectiveness it brought with itself, soon, this method was followed throughout the world. E-learning was practiced in developed countries at once, followed by developing countries after some time.
The need for e-learning in education
With the fast-changing world, technology’s ease and facilities have deeply enrooted its necessity in human beings. Humans are constantly looking for new ways in every sector to facilitate themselves in a better way. The same could be said for education, the times when all the boys in a town used to attend the same high school are long gone, education is enjoyed as a privilege now, rather than a need.
1. Ease of access anytime, anywhere:
While people are exploring the benefits of e-learning, many are already explained its benefits: Dr. Amjad, who is a professor at the University of Jordan, says,
“It has changed the way of teaching. It enables me to reach out to my students more efficiently and effectively through chat groups, video meetings, voting, and also document sharing, especially during this pandemic. My students also find it is easier to communicate on Lark. I will stick to Lark even after coronavirus; I believe traditional offline learning and e-learning can go hand by hand.”
So it is proven that E-learning is suitable for both the teachers and the students because it does not require any strict schedule.
2. Highly effective learning environment:
Online training makes it easy to choose not only a convenient time and place for training but also your own pace. With an E-learning environment, you can easily connect with your instructor via chat, mail, forum, or audio/video. Many shy people find it easier to dare to take online courses. They don’t even need to use the camera to talk to the teacher. E-learning allows students to interact with the curriculum uniquely, letting themselves learn their courses more effectively. Research suggests that online learning has been shown to increase the retention of information and knowledge. It also takes less time, meaning the changes coronavirus has caused might be here to stay.
3. Offering flexible schedules:
One of the most significant achievements of online learning is the flexible schedule that it offers to the students and the teachers. Lectures can be postponed or advanced as per the teacher’s availability, unlike the schools where rescheduling becomes a tough challenge for both students and the teacher. But it is not a good practice for the students. They should set the boundaries and follow their time table.
4. Limiting restrictions:
Teaching staff and students are enjoying a more restriction-free environment by using online teaching platforms. Students can sit comfortably in front of their computers, unlike sitting disciplined at their tables, which becomes troublesome. The same freedom is enjoyed by the teachers who do not have to worry about their dressing, reaching class on time and other such formalities.
5. Presence of recorded educational material:
Most of the online teaching platforms allow the students to access the already-taken classes later. It facilitates the students during their self-studies later when they need assistance and guidance in some context. It also allows those students who could not attend the regular class because of some personal issues to get access to the material. One can’t enjoy such privileges in conventional face-to-face classes.
The challenge that the education sector faces now in this reshaped world is to focus on different solutions that seize the online opportunities in the best possible ways, creating a healthy educational environment where everyone benefits equally and effectively. E-learning has unlocked many opportunities in the education sector that will definitely modify specific obsolete methods that were still in use. Students and teachers both enjoy the privileges of modern technology to their comfort for now. The real question now is that how e-learning will affect our conventional education system after this pandemic ends and what changes are expected to be seen?