The fallout of the Covid -19 pandemic was a great impetus in making online learning mainstream as an alternative to physical classroom training.
Now e-learning and virtual learning are high-velocity buzz words. Online learning or electronic learning is online instruction by teachers to learners. The main difference between online learning and virtual learning is the latter’s high interactivity as students join live sessions and raise questions to teachers and also chat with classmates.
Now online learning is universal with the bulk of the educational institutions relying on online learning platforms to educate students. A Pearson study explains the magnitude of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on more than 300 million students worldwide.
American Educator Panels (AEP) data says the biggest challenge in continuing education involved the disparities in educational opportunities in terms of digital literacy, technical issues, time management, and motivation for eLearning participants.
Despite obstacles, everyone is learning to adapt to online learning. Some studies say eLearning helps students to retain more information than traditional classes.
Many teachers find online learning a more efficient way to deliver lessons via videos, PDFs, and podcasts. It breaks the barriers of traditional textbook-based learning and is making teachers hardcore educators.
No location barrier: The big plus about online education is that students can attend classes from any location and reach out to a more extensive network beyond geographical boundaries.
Scope for the preservation of lessons: Online lectures are sharable and can be accessed at their pace and comfort. Online learning offers students the flexibility of time and place in education.
Costs are limited: The biggest advantage of online learning is lower financial costs compared to physical learning where many cost points like transportation, meals, and real estate-like buildings exist. The online study materials also provide a paperless learning environment that is eco--friendly.
Good attendance: Online classes can be accessed from anywhere with net connectivity and students will not miss out on lessons. Online learning takes care of all learners with an array of options to create a perfect learning environment suiting all.
However, one big challenge is the continuous focus on the screen by learners. This puts teachers under pressure to keep online classes shorter, engaging, and interactive to sustain the learner's focus.
The virtual classroom allows seamless communication from any location without face-to-face interaction. It can be via webinars, audio and video conferences, web presentations, live streaming, text chats, Learning Management System (LMS), and online training courses. Many features make virtual classrooms unique. There is sync between the teacher and the students and the productive interactions.
The virtual class has the flexibility of on-demand video and live lectures for future reference. Virtual classes offer cloud links once the live sessions conclude. Video conferencing and online app for teacher-student interaction and teacher-learner communication are the vital parts of this mode.
Modern eLearning companies like Jigsaw Academy are Virtual classrooms providers with instant messaging features that make communication easy without upsetting the class.
The real-time demonstration of concepts with figures and diagrams using digital whiteboards and sub-chats makes learning of concepts in-depth and clear.
Virtual classrooms offer high-end encryption limiting access to authorized learners. The live classes are recorded with cloud links offering on-demand access and solving of queries.
Now experts say the future of education is online. This is the unambiguous opinion of Ryan Daniel, an online education expert in New York. Daniel notes that students are no longer required to sit on a physical desk and they are also not required to follow any dress code. The online learning experience is empowering to compete in the job market as it hones self-motivation, creativity, time management, and critical thinking.
At the university level, every college offers a wide variety of online courses. When students return to campus for full fledge classes many see a hybrid set-up of in-class instruction and online classes.
Some milestones in online class penetration can be seen from the following facts.
Like in any teaching method online learning too has negatives. It needs more remedial strategies for delivering lessons for an uninterrupted learning arc for students.
Students learn a lot when they are in the company of their peers. However, online classes, skewed physical interactions result in loneliness.
Competition between peers is stimulating and students benefit from it. But online learning has no scope for real-time human interaction.
Any discussion on online classes will be incomplete without online learning platforms suiting every category of students. They cater to segments Primary education, secondary education, and university level or tertiary education.
Google Classroom is an efficient example of facilitating distance learning leveraging Google’s tools, such as Google Docs, Slides and Sheets, to allow content-sharing between teachers and students. Google classroom platform helps every educator to easily monitor class requirements.
Khan Academy is a notable eLearning platform for math studies offering grade-level programs. The online learning tool facilitates remote education. It is accessible, with user-friendly video instructions.
The web-based distance learning Edmodo serves secondary-level teachers and students. Duolingo has made name as an online learning tool to hone language skills. The app is usable to learn Spanish, Danish, English, Dutch, French, and Italian. Duolingo allows practice for reading and speaking.
TEDEd is a “lesson creator” platform to create video lessons to reinforce online classes. Video lessons keeping students immersed and boost creativity in online class presentations.
Udemy is a brand as the largest online learning platform for college students worldwide. Coursera has a university and industry-guided created courses across the globe.
It has partnership with Yale, Princeton, and the University of Michigan for its 4000 odd college-level courses that are very lucrative.