Africa's Education News Source

The Rise of online learning platforms amidst challenges,opportunities

Before the massive changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerian universities mainly used traditional teaching methods. This means they mostly had classes where students and teachers met face-to-face in classrooms.
Get stories like these delivered straight to your inbox.

Education in Nigeria has changed a lot in the last few years. This is as a result of online learning platforms being used alongside traditional schooling. This change became even more important and evident in Nigeria during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a global event. Before the massive changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerian universities mainly used traditional teaching methods. This means they mostly had classes where students and teachers met face-to-face in classrooms. Teachers would use chalkboards, whiteboards, and projectors to teach, and students would take notes in their notebooks. When COVID-19 hit, everything changed suddenly. During the pandemic, schools had to use remote learning methods to keep students abreast of learning activities. Universities had to switch to online learning platforms quickly to keep classes going. Lecture halls were empty due to the lockdown, and everyone started using virtual classrooms instead. This shift happened fast, and both students and teachers got on board with using digital tools for learning.

The advent of online learning platforms in Nigeria represents a dynamic shift in the delivery of education. It offers students and educators access to a vast array of resources and opportunities for collaboration. Platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and Khan Academy gained traction among Nigerian schools during this period. Social Media Platforms such as WhatsApp Group Chat and Telegram also became very useful as it provided flexible learning options tailored to diverse educational needs.

Online learning platforms offer students the flexibility to access educational content anytime and anywhere, thus breaking down geographical barriers to learning. Online learning offers students the flexibility to learn at their pace and schedule, accommodating diverse learning styles and personal commitments. This flexibility empowers students to balance their academic pursuits with other responsibilities, such as family obligations and work.

Learning platforms like YouTube help tailor educational content to individual student’s proficiency levels and learning pace, thereby promoting personalised learning experiences. This individualized approach fosters student autonomy and self-directed learning, empowering students to take ownership of their educational journey.

Online platforms provide a rich and wide range of multimedia resources, including educational graphics, video lectures, interactive quizzes, and virtual simulations, catering to varied learning styles and preferences. These diverse learning resources cater to various learning styles and preferences. This enhances engagement and comprehension. This diversity enhances engagement and facilitates more in-depth understanding of complex concepts.

Another advantage of online learning is that it can be more cost-effective than traditional classroom-based education. Online learning platforms eliminate the need for expenses such as textbooks, learning materials, transportation, and accommodation. This affordability expands access to education, particularly for students from low-income backgrounds.

Moreover, online learning platforms offer opportunities for lifelong learning and professional development beyond traditional academic settings. Students can access a wide range of courses and certifications to enhance their skills and advance their careers. Occasionally these courses are available for life. Unlike traditional settings where students can lose their notebooks in critical times such as exam periods, the only thing needed to access courses and materials on online learning platforms is access to Internet connection.

Despite the numerous advantages of online learning platforms, there are a few challenges that cannot be overlooked. Online learning environment can be prone to distractions, such as social media, notifications, and other digital temptations. Without the structure and supervision of a traditional classroom, students may find it challenging to stay focused and motivated to complete their coursework. A student from the computer science department in Obafemi Awolowo University provided his thoughts on this. In his words he said “although learning online has been very helpful and productive, I get distracted easily when social media notifications pop in. I get carried away for hours before resuming to my academics.”

Despite the proliferation of online learning platforms, access to digital devices and reliable internet connectivity remains a significant challenge in Nigeria, particularly in rural and underserved communities. Students living in rural areas have a challenge in accessing active Internet connection timely.

Transitioning from traditional teaching methods to online instruction requires educators to undergo training and professional development to effectively leverage digital tools and pedagogical strategies. Some educators do not have adequate information and technical know-how when it comes to online teaching. Resistance to change and lack of institutional support may impede the successful implementation of online learning platforms in schools.

In cases where teachers are trained after the pandemic, there is still the issue of inadequate technological infrastructure. This poses a barrier to the effective implementation of online learning platforms in Nigerian schools. Some schools have seen the pandemic integrated online learning with normal physical learning which is a great initiative. However, issues such as insufficient power supply, and limited technical support hinder seamless integration of digital technologies into the educational ecosystem, hampering the efficacy of online learning initiatives. Without sufficient resources and support, schools struggle to provide a seamless online learning experience for students.

Many students and educators lack the necessary digital literacy skills to navigate online learning platforms effectively. Without adequate training and support, students may struggle to use digital tools and resources, hindering their academic progress and comprehension.
Online learning platforms may lack the personal interaction and social dynamics inherent in traditional classroom settings. The absence of face-to-face interaction with teachers and peers can diminish the sense of connection and community among students, potentially impacting motivation and engagement.

Certain subjects and disciplines require hands-on practical experience, which may be challenging to replicate in an online learning environment. Students studying fields such as science, engineering, and healthcare may miss out on valuable hands-on learning opportunities traditionally offered in laboratory or clinical settings. Another student from the Obafemi Awolowo University who is in the nursing department explained that not all courses can be appropriately online. In her words “Part one zoo 101 which is a zoology course and dissection for part two are mostly physical. Though you can watch YouTube videos sha. But you know we’re used to physical teachings for practicals in Nigeria, so online might be a little difficult for assimilation’s sake.”

The integration of online learning platforms holds immense promise for expanding access to quality education and fostering innovation in teaching and learning. Students, educators, and government should invest more in this.

Share this article

All right reserved. You may not reproduce or republish Edugist content in whole or part without express written permission. Only use the share buttons.

Support Edugist’s goal of giving education a voice

Even a small donation will make a difference.

Related Content

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!
???? Hi, how can I help?
Scroll to Top

Fill the form below to download the WASSCE 2024 Timetable

Be the First to Know When we Publish new Contents

“Stay ahead of the educational curve! Subscribe to Edugist’s newsletter for the latest insights, trends, and updates in the world of education. Join our community today and never miss out on valuable content. Sign up now!”