E-learning which is also referred to as electronic leaning, online learning, or distance learning has a lot of opportunities as well as challenges. A lot of students worldwide are indulging in online classes due the pandemic because classroom teaching in this situation is merely impossible. Thanks to the modern technology, e-learning has now made distance learning possible. We are all aware that classroom learning is more interactive and effective but web-based learning is gaining significant popularity these days, however it still has drawbacks.
Every student might not consider distance learning as the best choice to pursue his/her education. Let us understand the PROS and CONS of E-learning to help the students decide on whether or not Distance Learning is beneficial to them.
Advantages of Distance Learning:
Almost all educational institutions worldwide have adopted online teaching methods due to the ongoing pandemic situation. The concept of education has seen drastic changes in the recent years, and it is possible that E-learning may also become the future of education in the years to come.
Here are some of the Advantages of E-Learning:
1. E-Learning is Accessible Anytime and Anywhere:
Online education offers students a benefit to attend classes from any corner of the world as web-based learning is not restricted to any geographical boundary. Anyone with an internet connection can gain access to the virtual classroom according to their comfort and flexibility. E-Learning also offers benefits such as online recording, archiving, and sharing of lessons conducted during online classes. This allows students to have a copy of the study material for future reference. It also benefits students who work part-time for their comfort.
2. Learning Stuff Online Saves Your Time and Money:
Unlike classroom learning, distance learning makes learning possible at any point of time and helps you manage and schedule your online classes at a time most convenient to you. Be it any time of the day, you need not worry about being late for the class or worry about transportation. No time is wasted on commuting to school or college. Online learning saves your money too. You save commuting costs, tuition fee, and money for buying books and stationery.
3. Parental Supervision Adds Joy:
While children are attending online classes sitting at home, parents get a chance to understand the study pattern of their child. While parents sit around when their child is engaged in virtual classes, the child gets extra confidence, and he/she tends to perform better in academics. Parent involvement in their child’s education creates a consistent and positive relationship between parents and their children. Parental involvement is also associated with moral support to their child and leads to lower failures and dropouts.
4. Students Become More Independent:
Distance learning creates an attitude of confidence amongst the students. It makes them think that it is safe to try out new things. Online learning routines help students to learn and practice things independently rather than always being dependent on instructions of teachers. Self-directed learning is the logic behind scoring maximum marks. Planning and organization of goals plays a key role for attaining success. Self-studies often help children to gain more knowledge of topics because it causes them to do a deeper analysis of the subject.
5. E-learning Makes Students Less Prone to Distractions:
Online Learning comes with a benefit of helping the children to stay focused and away from distractions through other students in the class. Some students tend to be distracted by large groups. There are situations where children tend to be disturbed in a classroom sometimes. Some distractions such as fight between classmates, or talkativeness between friends can be avoided through the online learning process.
6. E-Learning is a Form of Entertainment:
When you study online, you are able to interact and communicate with the teachers and the rest of your classmates through online meetings, chats, and interactive forums. The online learning sessions are a lot more interesting than the regular classroom sessions. The web-based learning is simply a refreshing change to the traditional learning techniques. E-Learning allows you to interact with your friends and also allows you to clarify your doubts from your teachers.
Drawbacks of Distance Learning:
There are many students who still prefer to study through the Classroom Learning method. Besides having numerous advantages, E-Learning comes with a few disadvantages as well. Here are some of the disadvantages.
1. Online Learning leads to Insufficient Social Interaction:
While most of the children today are coping up with their studies through online classes, they never meet their friends or teachers face to face. Children tend to learn a lot when they are in company of their friends. But there is minimal interaction of students with their teachers and friends and this leads to social isolation. It is still very important for children to go to school to gain social exposure and experience.
2. Students are Not Clear with Most of the Concepts When they Study Online:
When a student goes to school and is physically present and learning from a teacher face to face, he/she tends to understand the topics far better and thoroughly than being able to do it through distance learning. Traditional method of studying in classrooms is still being considered the best way of learning by most of us.
3. Teacher is Unaware of the Student’s Activities:
When students sit in a classroom, the teacher focuses on each of her students and makes sure nobody is left behind in studies. It is hardly possible for a teacher to focus on every student in an online class. It is because not all students are visible to the teacher through the computer or mobile screen. Many students take advantage of this and tend to become unaware of what is happening in the class and tend to perform various other activities during the class rather than studying. This can lead to a major loss of their studies.
4. Internet Connectivity Issues Cause Problem:
Over 40% of us are affected by internet connection problems. Students face issues such as lack of proper internet connection and slow internet speed often times that cannot be fixed right away. This leads to miscommunication and omission of important topics most of the time and students don’t understand the subject properly.
5. Distance Learning Does Not Teach Discipline:
Manners and discipline are inculcated by students only by getting involved with people. A school is considered as a child’s second home. A child learns most of the discipline in a classroom and a teacher is responsible for teaching a child proper manners and discipline in an appropriate way. But online learning does not offer those benefits.
6. Students Become Less Attentive:
It is the physical presence of a teacher that forces a student to be attentive in the class and concentrate maximum. But in case of online classes, there is no physical presence of a teacher which makes a student less attentive and fearless. When the teacher is not around, students tend to develop procrastination and don't concentrate on the lessons most of the time.
7. Students Don’t Acquire Practical Knowledge in Virtual Classes:
When students study in a classroom, there are numerous practical activities that they perform daily along with theoretical education. They are given various physical activities as well as lab activities. There are a lot of practical applications related to studies that have to be performed in the school/college which are not possible when they do virtual classes. They are made to focus just on theoretical concepts. This leads to decreased practical knowledge amongst students.
8. Improper Invigilation Results in Cheating:
E-learning includes web-based learning as well as online assessments and tests. But during online sessions, as there are no teachers or invigilators around students to watch them while they write their tests and examinations, it becomes an advantage for the students to copy and do cheating during exams which is inappropriate.
9. Increased Exposure to Mobile/Computer Screen:
Children who are studying online spend so many hours in a day staring at the computer screen which might be a health hazard to the young generation. This is one of the major disadvantages of the virtual classes. There are many other health problems that the students may acquire such as headache, improper postures, and spinal cord disorders.
The pandemic has left us with no choice but to adjust with the situation. More and more educational institutions worldwide have started to practice the online teaching methods. Despite of the drawbacks, many students are still comfortable with distance learning as it provides the benefits of greater convenience and flexibility. However, some of the students still prefer the classroom learning method as it provides greater social interaction and improved practical knowledge. In the years to come, the future of online learning might continue to see an exponential growth. All you need to do is try to adapt with the changing situation and expand your knowledge based on changing technology. Be flexible, manage your time wisely and treat your online classes like real classes, and learn to tackle all the challenges that come your way!