Online education has been on the increase for some time. However, the COVID-19 crisis has definitely accelerated the adoption of online platforms for educational purposes.
It’s no surprise that online education has some benefits. But, do the benefits really outweigh the cons?
The current pandemic has shown light on what can be achieved. And just how adaptable the education sector can be. It is also showing what is clearly lacking in an exclusively online way of learning.
The Benefits of Online Education
Online education has many benefits. There are certain efficiencies and organisational components that are simply impossible to manually replicate.
Automation is a blessing, travel time is reduced to the seconds it takes for you to refresh your browser. Moreso, every resource you will ever need is one double click away.
Many students find the gap between high school and university difficult because they are no longer spoon-fed information. The online learning phenomena produces higher independence in students.
This can help them transition to university style learning more readily.
There is also a boost in efficiency when it comes to organisation. Tech allows for everything to be in one place.
Learning management systems are being more rapidly adopted to help both teachers and students manage education tasks. This can have benefits such as allowing automated reminders, assignment submission portals and integrated plagiarism checking software.
The rapid adoption of online learning puts forward a path for students to learn at home, even when physical schooling makes a return.
Students that are sick or otherwise unable to temporarily attend school would still be able to attend virtually. This is fantastic as it would prevent them from falling behind.
How Online Education Can Be Detrimental
There are many benefits to online learning. Still, it can be hugely detrimental to both learning and social development. Online learning environments are riddled with distraction.
Without a physical learning environment, students have distractions from home. They are also prone to distractions on their computers.
School is not just about learning theory. Learning through a screen prevents students from developing their social and emotional skills.
These skills are extremely important for students to successfully navigate their careers. Also, it will help to function in the society. Removing human to human interaction could actively foster antisocial behaviour and anxiety related disorders.
The removal of in-person interaction not only removes teachers from the equation but also removes peers. This is perhaps a more overlooked aspect of online learning. It is not directly related to education.
Schools present a unique environment where students spend a large amount of their time. The relationships that they develop with their peers cannot form later in life.
It’s therefore hugely important that this indispensable part of human development is kept intact. It would be scary to look upon the stats regarding depression and suicide. That is if we were to permanently remove students from physical learning environments.
The verdict – should we permanently transition to online education?
The simple answer is no. To be frank, online education is great and it does have a lot of benefits over traditional learning – and perhaps it should replace traditional learning in some circumstances.
However, traditional learning inside a classroom has many indispensable qualities that makes it necessary. Not only for learning, but also the social, emotional, and psychological development of students.
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About the Author
Victor is an Australian based Private Tutor, Writer and Owner of Tutor Storm – a private tutoring company. He has a passion for teaching, helping students succeed in their academic endevours, and inspiring them to dream big!