Can Online Learning Be Better Than Campus Learning

Once we get past this pandemic, will institutes across the globe reopen their doors and resume classes as before, or will the education model be changed forever?

Once a niche form of education, online education is now the norm. Previously, it was mainly working professionals & distance learning students who used it as a learning tool because of the convenience, flexibility and affordability it offers.  Today, because of the onset of COVID-19, this scenario has completely changed. Online education has saved the day due to its adaptability to a widespread target audience- from KG kids to college students. E-learning has made certain that curriculums have kept their timelines, and additionally emerged as a great asset to education. In addition, it has brought to light some interesting and realistic questions which will need addressing once the world reopens fully.  

Once we get past this pandemic, will institutes across the globe reopen their doors and resume classes as before, or will the education model be changed forever? Has online learning overthrown traditional campus learning? There are some undeniable benefits of e-learning: 

It’s more time-efficient – Students can work for classes around their existing responsibilities and commitments. They can engage with multimedia content and learning materials at whatever time is most convenient to them. Even better: they don’t have to travel anywhere to study, they can simply log in to their virtual classes from the comfort of their own home. Time saved could be spent on more self-study, course work and other added benefits. The time and exhaustion of travel in congested cities would be a thing of the past, leaving students with less stress and the ability to focus better.  

There are more time and additional tools to connect with students - This works as well for facilitators and teachers. There are far more opportunities for teachers to conduct regular academic ‘check-ins’ on students, monitor progress and assist with any gaps in subject matter understanding. Students who might have perhaps fallen under the radar due to the nature of traditional teaching can now have teachers quickly identify gaps in learning. Areas that requisite more work can be more easily identified and coached, via weekly or bi-weekly catch-up sessions. This has a powerful impact on changing a student’s academic track record forever.  

Students can learn at their own pace - Online learning allows lessons and lectures to be recorded, stored and played back. This tool ensures nothing gets missed. Traditional lectures, in comparison, are more susceptible to missed information. With digital class recordings accessible at any time, students can revisit subjects during self-study and even draw up additional online resources. This has the added advantage of teaching students critical thinking and effective research tools at an early age. 

It offers a vast world of knowledge transfer opportunities – Coordinating guest speakers or visiting faculty could be a tricky thing in the past due to conflicting schedules, travel, and time restrictions. These days, however, it is as easy as a click of a button. Indian and globally acclaimed institutes of learning are offering students a wealth of knowledge via industry experts, guest professors and panellists. Students sitting within the comfort of their own home can now learn subject matter from the incredible people who helped shape the current landscape – and interact with them directly – a treasured addition to curriculums and an unforgettable inspiration to students. 

Amidst all its benefits, online learning has its downsides that still need to be tackled. It may result in lack of determination, low retention rates, less social interaction if not implemented properly. While digital learning provides more tools for students to take control over their education, on-campus learning provides crucial life skills and humanistic need fulfilment. Socialising with friends, forming networks and participating in group extracurricular activities are just as important in shaping young people into positive role models in society and in the professional world. 

It is fair to state that both traditional and e-learning formats have their advantages. Going forward a blended approach would be best suited to all types of education.  We cannot deny the utmost value that online learning has supported students with, during these unprecedented times. That it has made its indelible mark on mainstream learning, changing the way we view education as a whole.  


Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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