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CAN WE SHIFT COMPLETELY TO ONLINE EDUCATION?

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The current education system is severely disrupted due to the outbreak at the beginning of 2020. The education is partly or mostly carried with online means through virtual platforms. This has created various disputes in the society regarding both mental and physical concerns of students. However, the future of online education still remains unresolved.

After the crisis of the ongoing pandemic, will it be better for the students to return to the classrooms and undergo traditional education that has been practiced for centuries? Or will it be a better alternative to continue online education by shifting completely to online learning? The best answer is found with proper research on the main features and impacts of online education. Here are some major considerations when identifying the possibilities of converting to a completely online education system.

Challenges in Different Regions

There are various challenges related to access to technology in developing countries. Some students struggle to participate in digital learning due to this. Therefore, all assumptions should not be made considering only the students from privileged backgrounds. Even if the world is to rely completely on online education in the future, the governments would not be able to provide the necessary facilities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Therefore, only the developed countries with access to advanced technology will be able to shift completely to online education.

Effectiveness

When considering those who have access to the proper technology, it can be seen that online education is more effective than traditional education in physical classrooms. Researches show that students retain 25% to 60% more material in online learning. This is only 8% to 10% in classroom education. Students can learn faster online as e-learning requires about half the time needed in a traditional classroom. Since the setting of online education platforms can be personalized, students can learn at their own pace. They can re-read, skip, or re-watch the various portions of the learning material.

But the effectiveness of online education varies among different age groups. Although the younger generation is keener on online education, the adults may find it quite difficult to get used to the technology. They need to put more effort into dealing with digital tools and engagement. A similar situation applies when teaching kids online. They get distracted easily and may not be able to focus on the class for long. It needs the participation of parents to keep them organized and attentive during the online classes, unlike in classrooms. Therefore, shifting completely to online education may not be a good idea especially for kids and adults.

Impact on Student Life

The transition from the traditional classroom to online education has already created a vast impact on the life of students. Prolonged absence from schools and colleges has isolated the students. The inability to meet friends, engage in daily conversations, and hang out has made children a lot more lonely. Having to stay within their own premises for a long time continuously has impacted negatively on mental health.

The current system of online education is not the best option for young students especially kids. They need to interact with peers and teachers for proper development of personality. Staying at home doesn’t help the process as their interaction is limited to the family. Since the students excessively use their senses to learn, they will be limited to learning through what they see on the screens. The lack of engagement decreases the motivation towards learning among younger students.

Changes in Infrastructure

Shifting completely to online education would mean that the infrastructure built for schools and universities would be useless. If everyone is to access education through their own homes, there will be no use of classrooms. This will make it a waste to keep maintaining them without being used. However, the personal spaces would need to have more personalized spaces for long sessions of online learning. Everyone would need to have their own study rooms to bring the vibe of a traditional classroom to motivate them to study.

When considering online education for kids, there is a need for using a range of collaboration tools and engagement methods. This is to promote inclusion created in the ordinary classroom within the online platforms. Since this will be something beyond mere electronic screens and internet connections, things could get expensive.

Efforts Required to Change Mindset and Behaviors

This would be the most difficult phase in the online education paradigm. People haven’t still got completely used to virtual classrooms and technology. Having to conduct and participate in online sessions since early 2020 has already become a nightmare for many. There is a digital divide among those who haven’t used even the basic audio and visual equipment and the modern generation. The former find online education as something strange that they will never get used to.

But over time, this too can be normalized as we have got used to the various equipment designed with the industrial revolution. Proper awareness about the latest technology and providing access for everyone will be a good starting point. This will not be as hard for developed countries that are already ahead with modern lifestyles. However, implementing changes will take time and should be done gradually with the initiation obtained with the pandemic.

Post Effects of Online Education

Online education is not only about the considerations on access to technology. Student engagements and interaction with society in traveling and activities are an essential part of life. With online education, there will be no chance for extracurricular activities. Sports and gym will not be possible for sports enthusiasts through online education. This leads to an increase in obesity and physically unfit generations in the future. Requirements for medical needs and physical therapies will be a major concern if this continues.

Online education could even lead to a lack of ethics in future societies. Since the students have not got used to peer interaction, they will not be able to engage in polite conversations. Meeting new people would be an awkward situation. This will be a common issue among most kids raised within the walls of the home during the pandemic for years. There would even be a need for rehabilitation sessions in online schools to help students cope with stress and deal with life.

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