The pandemic has negatively affected education systems, including research, academic curriculums, professional development of staff and jobs in the academic sector, etc. These changes affected not only schools but also teachers, students, and even parents. Since quarantines were, introduced everywhere, educational institutions had suspended in-person teaching and on-campus activities were suspended due to public safety concerns.
Educational institutions started offering distance learning (DL) to accommodate students, but post-pandemic this has become the new normal. Distance learning is a type of remote learning where the student is not physically available in the classroom. The student can be present anywhere while the learning takes place i.e. they are being educated virtually.
This further stems into branches called synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students opting for synchronous learning are encouraged to take the online course as if it were a face-to-face course. The students were gathered in a virtual classroom where everyone could interact with peers and teachers/coaches. Asynchronous learning is different in the sense that students had access to a portal where they could view their lessons or learning materials at any time of the day.
This learning method did not include live video discussion, although students were given the choice to view documented videos. However, real-time interaction was not an option. While many remain skeptical of this new concept, there are some undeniable benefits to distance learning.
All you need is a good internet
Studying at home poses new challenges for the household network. From video conferencing to streaming, and other remotely done tasks require more than standard use, especially when there are children and other high-bandwidth users in the family surfing the Internet at the same time. The bandwidth used is much more for larger file transfers, streaming, video conferences, specialized software applications, and other things. Many Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Cox internet, are recognizing and focusing on this need, more information find here: https://www.localcabledeals.com/Cox/Internet.
You can avail yourself of faster upload and download speeds, which is especially beneficial for larger file transfers such as projects, or pdf versions of books. You can check out more of their economical bundle offers by visiting their website.
Greater number of virtual learning options
Distance learning opens up new educational horizons concerning international institutions. Major universities and business schools around the world now offer acknowledged degrees, certificates, and academic qualifications online for students of all ages. For more motivated people, basic level and advanced courses are available on various sites from Udemy to Google Skillshop, and many are even free of cost! In addition to this, you can pick up courses from anywhere, regardless of geographical boundaries. Distance learning has broken down several barriers in this regard and made education truly available to anyone who wants it, as it should have been.
You can become tech-savvy
Distance learning programs use advanced technology to provide education. By accessing e-learning materials, submitting assignments via websites, and participating in online forums for daily communication with instructors and classmates, you can become more tech-savvy as opposed to your counterparts.
“You will have to pay less” are words every person wants to hear! Distance learning or online education, in general, helps you to save on fuel, parking, books, and other extra costs, which makes a huge difference. Mainly due to the scalability of digital learning, virtual education reduces the expenses associated with education (Read more). Online degrees are becoming almost conventional, and there are even qualified online-only universities that can cut costly infrastructure overheads and start teaching right away. In addition to this, you can even work part-time easily without the worry of having to rush to attend classes!
However, despite the numerous benefits, virtual education still raises some concerns from various schools of thought.
Many think that distance learning opens doors to distractions. When students are outside the classroom and in the comfort of their own homes, it gets difficult to evade distractions. They might be divided between activities and the desire to listen to music, sleep, or something else. This can lead to poor student performance. This creates further challenges for teachers to make their lessons fun and motivate their students to concentrate on their lessons.
Another argument brought forward is that there are hidden costs and sophisticated technology required to make the most of DL. Yes, online courses can save money through lower transportation and material costs, but latent costs are not easy to ignore, such as purchasing the software and other computer applications to support an online course. The technology used can also be complex. Navigating apps used in online education can also be difficult and time-consuming, especially for younger students and their teachers.
The sudden imposition of the lockdowns led to the drastic shift of teaching online instead of the traditional classrooms. While that was a necessity at that time, it continues to raise concerns. Teachers who had been teaching for many years, particularly those closer to retirement, found it difficult to cope with this sudden onslaught of technological expertise that was required. The prolongation of distance learning continues to fan that issue. Teachers need to be given additional online teaching training to properly guide their students. Therefore, to provide high-quality education, schools should always provide their faculty with technological educational achievements through teaching and online courses.
The final and most common disadvantage associated with the trend of online education is the harm caused by continuous screen time. Consistently doing assignments, taking classes and research work done on devices causes harm to the mental and physical well-being of students and teachers alike. On-campus classes allow for breaks and extracurricular activities, whereas virtual classes may reduce the motivation of students to socialize or focus on their well-being as well.
In conclusion, we analyzed some main benefits and can make the case that readiness is the key to all benefits. Moreover, this readiness is the preparation of students, teachers, and educational institutions. Therefore, student orientation, teacher training, and institutional needs assessment are recommended to prepare those who will participate in distance learning.