How Students Accustomed To Offline Education Taking Prospects On Online Education?

Online education has come a long way in making quality education accessible, engaging, and in some cases more impactful by adopting new-age technology

The education sector is constantly evolving to meet the challenges it faces to make education more effective, accessible and to prepare students for life. The adoption of new technology in the education sector since the technology boom of the 1980s brought a major shift in the paradigm of learning. Though online education has been around for a while, the covid-19 pandemic made it a cornerstone of education. During the lockdown it replaced the traditional brick and mortar classroom. Since then, online education has also evolved with many students continuing to prefer online education over physical classes.

Offline – Online: Transition 

As the world came to a standstill during the pandemic, students across the globe were left with only one option to continue their classes – online. The sudden transition became a necessity for students and many faced initial teething issues. 

Sitting in front of a computer and attending online classes can get lonely when you’re accustomed to studying with peers in large classrooms with excellent infrastructure. Early on, educators realised that the experience of learning online wasn’t the same as learning offline. Learning activities and curriculum which were designed for offline classes weren’t suitable for online classes and had to be improvised to catch and retain a student’s attention, especially for younger students. 

Educators and parents are worried that online education will not have the same impact as offline. Students were waking up minutes before a class, interaction was lacking, and there seemed to be little motivation to study on their own. However, as covid-19 brought in what is popularly called the “new normal” students adapted remarkably well to this change. Students seamlessly blended the best of what offline and online education had to offer and smoothly transitioned from offline to online.  

With the pandemic coming to an end, how will education look like going forward? What will happen to online education? Is it here to stay? If yes, why?

We look into some of the key drivers for students to take up online learning.

Online Education: Transformative Impact 

There’s no denying that the pandemic changed the way we live, work, socialise and study. The strict lockdown measures introduced at the beginning of the pandemic affected students across the world when they couldn’t go to schools or universities. However, it is laudable to see how quickly students and teachers adapted to learning and teaching online.  

What numbers reveal?

To overcome the limitations posed during this time, educational institutions quickly moved to E-learning and began imparting education through the online medium. Instead of using the physical classrooms, digital platforms took over and now remote teaching has become a norm rather than an exception. And looks like, it’s here to stay! 

  • According to an annual survey by Wiley Education Services, 2020 Online College Students, Comprehensive Data on Demands and Preferences, 78 percent of online students who have learned in a face-to-face setting feel their online experience was the same or better than their classroom experience. 
  • Top 10 education institutions across the world have registered at least 10 per cent increase in online education enrolment than the offline registration
  • The Asian market, which is the largest consumer, sees a 20 per cent annual increase in its revenue through the online learning industry, while Thailand, India, China, and the Philippines experience a 30 per cent annual market growth

Students’ Perspective on E-Learning

While there are a number of stakeholders involved in online education, the most prominent ones are the students. They have made the transition from physical classes to online classes very smoothly. Students feel that online classes with their many benefits make learning more accessible and engaging. 

  • Exposure and Connectivity

The primary advantage that online education provides to students is the connection to students and faculty from across the world. This exposes them to different learning methods, techniques and cultures. From the comfort of their homes, they can access a world-class education. 

Online learning also exposes students to different software, learning apps, and environments which, in turn, helps in the holistic development of learners, making them more dynamic. The transition to online learning also helped students understand that E-learning has now become a mainstay of the education sector and they need to update their skills to stay relevant in the future.

  • Convenience and Engagement

Online education has made things simple for both students and teachers. Students can access their assignments and notes with a simple click. They don’t have to waste time travelling to classes instead they can simply wake up ten minutes before class login.  Integration and adoption of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) also make online education more engaging and create a bespoke learning experience for the students. 

  • Global Accessibility

With online education, students have easier access to global universities. An Indian student aspiring to get a degree from Harvard University does not have to travel all the way to the US. Or they can choose to complete a certain part of the curriculum online and attend university for the desired time. Online education has opened new ways of achieving credentials and the best part is that all this can be done from the comfort of your home. Students can choose the time and place from where they want to learn by easily accessing their coursework online. It also gives students to choose the pace of learning according to their convenience. 

  • Independent Learning

Another important aspect of online learning is creating independent learners.  Without constant supervision, students become more capable of following instructions and learning on their own.  In case of roadblocks, learners are encouraged to solve their problem by checking other resources before reaching out to the teacher. This is specifically important from the perspective of corporate careers and creating future leaders who have developed skill to do things on their own. As online education provides students with an opportunity to explore, plan, analyse and evaluate things independently, it is becoming instrumental in turning students into better learners and performers. 

The Future 

Online education has transformed the education landscape. Although it has not completely replaced the on-campus experience, it has come a long way in making quality education accessible, engaging, and in some cases more impactful by adopting new-age technology. It offers a more customised learning environment for learners while motivating them to be more independent, agile, and dynamic. Combining the best practices of both online and offline education, hybrid programmes - that can be delivered online and also on-campus, are the future of education. 

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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