Virtual Learning in a Coronavirus World and Beyond
With the current Covid-19 pandemic, learning institutions have shifted to online learning platforms so as to continue with the process of teaching learners. Online learning has become a crucial resource for schools and students across the globe. For many schools, this is completely a new way of learning that they had to adopt. The transition to virtual learning as a result of the pandemic was abrupt and hurried. For the last few months, the demand for virtual learning has increased greatly, and it will continue in the future.
Similar to many teaching methods, virtual learning has benefits and shortcomings. Understanding the pros and cons will assist schools in creating strategies for efficient delivery of lessons and making sure that the learning journey of learners is not interrupted again.
Benefits of Online Learning
Online learning enables students and instructors to set their own learning pace. Students can set a schedule that fits their agenda. Utilizing an online learning platform enables learners to balance their studies and work; thus, there is no need to give anything up. Even though online programs run asynchronously to offer maximum flexibility, some necessitate students to collaborate with their colleagues at specific times or meet with their teachers during online working hours.
When searching for online programs or courses, you will notice that there is a self-paced label on most of them. This implies that learners can begin learning at any time and may create an agenda that meets the needs of learners.
When enrolling in a face-to-face high school course, you will have to forget about your family, hobbies, and work. In a traditional school setting, learning is the priority. This is the major reason why most individuals who work and single parents continue chasing their academic goals.
Additionally, self-paced learning enables learners to make progress at a speed that is suitable. Online learning doesn’t necessitate you to attend live sessions, and thus you may access learning materials at any time.
Most learners overlook the cost benefits of virtual classes. Even though online students might pay a similar per-credit tuition rate as other students in a traditional school, they don’t pay for meals and on-campus plans. Also, students can save money and time since they do not commute to school.
Other cost savings consist of affordable textbooks, particularly if online students buy digital versions. So, online learning is generally affordable.
It Is Accessible
Virtual learning enables learners to study from any location so long as there is an internet connection. Also, teachers can teach students from anywhere. This implies that there is no need to commute from one place to another or follow a fixed schedule. Here, you can save time and money that you can use on other priorities.
Most of the United States’ top high schools, such as High School of America, offer online courses meaning that students don’t have to travel so as to attend classes. Also, no need to move implies that high school diploma seekers don’t require to end professional and friendship relationships. Students can also stay near their extended families as they do their courses. This benefit of online learning contributes to less stress and greater emotional well-being.
Enable Learners to Develop Crucial Skills
Learning online needs specific skills like communication, self-motivation, and self-discipline. When you are an online student, you will find that you improve and develop these skills quickly. These skills will assist you in your future workplace.
For instance, you will regularly require communication – whether written or verbally – with your peers and professors. This sharpens your communication skills. Also, you will have to motivate yourself in order to finish a virtual course and turn in your online homework since there is no disturbance during online courses as compared to traditional classrooms. Unlike brick-and-mortar classrooms, where it is difficult to give critical comments, an online setting provides you with an opportunity to go through the learning materials and make comments.
Customized Learning Experience
As mentioned above, flexibility can assist you in setting your own learning pace. Also, online learning is flexible for the individual requirements and abilities of every learner. Virtual classrooms are smaller compared to traditional classrooms. Virtual learning platforms enable students and teachers to interact and share feedback.
Usually, students can access different course materials like eBooks, photos, and videos, and instructors might integrate other formats such as discussions and forums in order to improve their teaching. This additional content can be accessed from anywhere and anytime, which will provide you with more tailor-made and dynamic learning.
Online learning is spreading. The Covid-19 crisis just sped up the implementation of virtual learning by high schools and higher learning institutions. Actually, the Consortium for North American Higher Education Collaboration (CONAHEC) and the American Higher Education Alliance (AHEA) announced a new partnership.
The press release stated that the main aim of the partnership was to address the requirements of higher learning during the Covid-19 pandemic. Learning institutions are preparing for a wide and quick shift to the online mode of learning. Also, the partnership stated that there was the need to create academic methods that will make sure that there is learner engagement for hybrid and online delivery models.
There are many reasons why you ought to choose online learning than those highlighted here. Over 90% of learners today believe that virtual education is better or similar to the face-to-face classroom experience. Learners need to assess their extraordinary circumstances and make decisions based on their goals and needs, and since this alternative to brick-and-mortar learning is not for every individual, it is still the most convenient choice with endless online possibilities for learners across the globe.
Cons of Online Learning During Covid-19
Time and Technology
The major disadvantage of online education is technology and time management. For earners who are prone to procrastination, virtual learning might be challenging to coordinate, and encouragement might prove to be a struggle. Because much of virtual learning depends on the ability of the learner to finish self-directed work, learners who succeed on direction and routine might find virtual learning lacking. For those learners who have the motivation and dedication to adopt virtual education normally struggle because of access. A study conducted by the National Center of Education Statistics shows that 14% of the learners aged between 3 and 18 have no access to an internet connection at home, which is almost 9 million learners.
Online education can lose appeal for learners who have set their minds on face-to-face high school experience. Without traditional school interactions with other students, teachers, sports, and clubs, most learners might feel isolated. Research shows that social isolation is the major contributing factor for school dropout. The reduced level of social interaction weakens most learners’ high school experience, leading to stigma towards virtual learning. Nevertheless, stigma towards online learning is fading slowly.
Virtual learning is challenging to navigate as learners resume their studies with a mixture of excitement and anxiety of the unknown. A survey conducted by NSHSS shows that learners were lukewarm regarding the future of virtual learning. When students were asked whether they feel that their learning institutions were still all virtual as they resumed studies, 53% stated that they opt for a face-to-face classroom but might deal with online learning. Also, despite the current Covid-19 crisis, learners remain hopeful and optimistic. Gratefully, over 80% of the respondents said that they were “Pretty hopeful” or “Very hopeful” regarding the health of their colleagues and family (82%) and their capability to attain further education (94), graduate in time (86%).
With the increasing pains of online learning, there are advantages that, with fewer studies and dedication, learners may as benefit as the Covid-19 pandemic continues.
Virtual education necessitates instructors to have knowledge of the use of digital platforms of learning. Nevertheless, this isn’t always the case. Usually, instructors have an understanding of technology. Occasionally, they do not have the essential tools and resources required to perform online classes. In order to deal with this, it is crucial for learning organizations to invest in training instructors with the latest technology to enable them to conduct their virtual classes easily.
Management of Screen Time
There is a great concern regarding the health risks of having students spend a lot of hours gazing at screens of their laptops and computers. Notably, the increase in time spent on the screen is one of the greatest disadvantages and concerns of virtual learning. In some instances, learners can develop bad posture as well as other physical complications because of staying bent in front of the screen. The solution to this issue is to give learners many breaks from the screen in order to refresh their body and mind.
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