The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has created immediate and unprecedented challenges in the field of education. As schools and colleges remain closed in the face of the crisis, the concept of education has changed and digital learning has emerged as an indispensable resource for education.
Schools are leveraging existing platforms like Google Classroom and Microsoft Education along with conferencing apps like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting, etc. The Ministry of Human Resource Development, to promote digital learning, has released a list of key digital/e-learning platforms covering multiple subjects. This digitized education and ease of access to the internet are transforming the approach to learning with virtual class rooms, advanced learning schools and free educational content, especially in rural and semi-urban areas.
An online class, as the name implies, is a class that happens online in cyberspace. It tries to replicate a real classroom virtually wherein their teacher or professor teaches students; the students can communicate with their teacher and their classmates in the same way that they do in an actual classroom. Teaching, learning and evaluation all happen online.
No need for physical infrastructure and the bandwagon of teaching and administrative staff and the attendant cost.
It warrants a quiet, well-lit and distraction-free corner that is dedicated to learning.
There is no need to travel thereby saving time and money.
Dangers of cyber safety lead to the need to ensure that child-friendly filters are available.
It includes pre-recorded videos where videos are recorded in different locations or produced with green screen technology, sound effects, music, advanced graphics and augmented realities which make learning enjoyable.
Bad posture, eye strain and physical problems with prolonged exposure.
You can speed up or slow down the videos or pause them. Further you can also download the contents through your device.
There is a lack of personal contact and interruptions to pose a challenge when the student needs further clarification.
Wider sharing of knowledge, flexibility in timing, easy to update and low cost in administering.
Digital learning warrants a lot of self-discipline as classroom discipline is not there.
In culmination, online learning in the present scenario has both advantages and disadvantages. The technology needed for online education might not be available to all students; the effectiveness of the classes conducted and how well the students understand what is taught online is also still questionable. However, with time and with improvement in technology the scope for online education is vast. With the advent of newer and easy-to-use software and enhancement of the e-learning system, classes can be conducted effectively online. In the future, online classes too can be as helpful as regular classes. However, the mode of education is best left to the choice and comfort of the student seeking the same.
Dr Pushkala M.S
MBBS, MD (Paediatrics), PGDID (UNSW-Australia)
Consultant Paediatrician, Kauvery Hospital, Chennai