“It’s a lockdown”, How scary these 3 words are. Aren’t they?
That’s what living amidst a pandemic feels like. No one knows when a moving city will come to a complete halt. At every moment things seem to be in a position of shutdown and we the people can never be assured about the future and the happenings of it.
Amidst this pandemic, many things have come to a halt, these include many daily life necessities of us. Also, this pandemic in some cases has revolutionized a few sectors which no one would ever have thought of.
It was when the pandemic hit us, that we realized that the internet can change this world if used wisely. It was then that we realized that the internet has the power to do wonders.
E-Learning in Pandemic
Talking about wonders of the internet and revolutionized sectors, all one can think of in one go is “THE EDUCATION SECTOR”. This pandemic made us see a whole traditional education sector shifting to the internet with the tagline of- “available at your nearest web browser or application”. Long shutdown of schools and the unpredictability of events made this happen with sheer ease.
Right now, if we go to 10 houses one by one, in almost 8 of them, we will see a kid holding a phone in hand, studying something. E-learning, yes, the new normal.
E-learning is the learning method, where students learn through the internet by the use of mobile phones or laptops. Not that this learning method didn’t exist before this pandemic hit us.
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It’s just that after the pandemic hit us, and with the schools and other educational institutes closed, students and teachers both found a way to teach and learn through the least possible resources.
And then, they came across the fact that with the small smartphones in their hands they can do miracles and suddenly the whole educational sector shifted to the internet.
It started with teachers taking online classes through various conference or online meeting platforms like zoom, JioMeet, G-meet, etc. this continued for a while, and then reached a point where the curious human mind was bound to ask, “What next?”
This question came with the examination season slowly approaching, many students of lower classes were promoted without examinations but the senior ones or the ones in college were bound to face the trauma of online examinations.
Writing answers, making PDF and submitting on google form became the traditional process, until one day, when E-learning platforms came into existence in their full capacity. This was the time when we knew that education has changed in this post-pandemic world and it has changed for good.
Those E-learning platforms opened various opportunities for both students and teachers, the conference room method of teaching was suddenly abolished and with it, came the new interactive method that suited both the student and tutors. It came with features amounting to the fun side of learning. And as they came, they brought a wave of change.
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Advantages of E-learning
With the basic necessity being the internet, E-learning came quite handy to the new generation. As it wasn’t a class with 100 students lined from front to back, there was no front bencher and no back bencher. There were just students, students who were subjected to time to time interaction unlike the traditional classes.
E-learning came with the liberty, that students aren’t bound to just one course pattern. They can learn anything they want to; they can learn about the space time mechanism and can study the basics of thermodynamics from their course at the same time. With E-learning the process of assigning works and its submission became much easier than before.
There was no hassle of collection of notebooks or sheets and submitting it to the teacher. All that it took was just one file upload on the platform and “yayyyy” the assignment got submitted.
E-learning with it brought new methods of learning, with interactive fun processes. These included quizzes, score analysis of them and regular tests. Also, due to online classes the teacher’s attention got distributed equally among all the students.
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It made the students focus on themselves and their weak portions in order to answer the questions asked by the teachers during interactive learning sessions.
Games and quizzes made the students competitive and filled them with a desire to score good. In order to score good, students started preparing for their respective classes through the same e-learning platforms.
When everything was going almost fine, a question aroused, “how is learning possible without books?”
It was then, when the concept of e-notes came. In the E-learning portals, teachers started providing lecture notes and extras to the students. There was no hassle of completing the things written on the board before anyone rubs it. It was all online and it was all convenient.
Students started receiving PPTs, PDFs and other kinds of notes and study materials from teachers. Notes sharing became easier and so did the whole learning process.
E-learning also gave teachers the freedom of creating their own courses for their students and the others who want to learn from them. It was a new method of generating revenue as well as helping out students with their studies.
New learning methods simplified the process of attendance, no roll call was required, all what was needed was the screen time.
E-learning made everything available to the learners on their fingertips. From the courses of schools, to the college study materials. From competition training, to preparation for something more. People got everything from their passion to their courses with the help of E-learning.
Many students explore new career paths and may others explore their own ways to reach those paths. Some created their ways, some kept learning how to make ways at the right time, but in the end almost everyone was benefitted, be it the teachers and the students or examiners and the examinees.
E-learning was the result of a necessity, to fill the void created by this pandemic and it pretty much filled it by shifting every single thing online.
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Disadvantages of E-learning
Every blessing is disguised with some curse. Same is the case with online learning. E-learning from its very beginning, I.e. from the moment it was made compulsory for the students by their organizations, questions started arising on it. The first question that came with the unfolding of E-learning was, “can it reach each and every student?”
India, being a developing country, knows that not every household can afford a smartphone. Nor can they afford expensive data plans. In these cases when we talk about E-learning, things seem a little dreamy, as if we are talking about a world that doesn’t even exist.
If we look from the eyes of those children, learning will suddenly feel like another way of separating them out. While we watch one section of the society learning and getting benefitted from this learning method, we also watch a specific section of children getting separated from the mainstream, without any fault of theirs, just because they can’t afford those smartphones or laptops and because they can’t learn using those much praised and much innovative E-learning methods.
These questions are yet not answered, and it is the prime reason why many of the students are dropping out of the schools. According to data by UNICEF, almost 3 lakh students will never be able to return to schools and their financial condition doesn’t allow them to use E-learning methods like other students.
Another disadvantage that we can see all around us is the scope of distraction. There was a time when students were refrained from using phones and laptops, the reason being, it distracts them.
But nowadays, as we are moving ahead with learning through internet and smartphones, the scope of this distraction and the scope of a child getting subjected to unwanted things on internet has increased and as long as the child is on internet, there is a danger of them getting subject to obscene materials, cyber threats, cyber bullying or any other kind of cybercrime.
Many complaints have been registered in the cybercrime cell, where the victims are small kids. In such cases E-learning can be really painful for both the students and their parents. You never know when the boon of the internet can turn into such a painful curse.
Nowadays learning has become too fun and interactive and is suiting students at its best, but constant exposure to phone, laptops and computer screens are making children prone to various ailments.
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Red eyes, improper sleep, migraine, weakness was some of the ailments that the students started facing upon constant exposure to screens. Many of the students were bound to buy glasses as their eyes were not able to take so much strain as provided by those phone screens.
Overall, everything has its own pros and cons. We have the pros of receiving education amidst this pandemic through online mode but this obviously doesn’t rule out the possibilities of cons.
E-learning came like a cool bridge and then took the world with the storm of it, various E-learning platforms being the pioneers and helping hands of the students and teachers.
One day, we will look back to this time of pandemic, we will remember that when everything came to a standstill, education kept moving and growing and becoming more and more portable. All because of the internet, all because of E-learning.