How Online Learning is becoming the new normal in the wake of COVID-19
COVID-19 has caused enormous disruption to the lives of people and the economy as well. This pandemic has forced schools and other educational institutions to suspend classes and halt academic operations. With no let-up in the rate of infections, schools are now finding innovative ways to engage teachers and students so that learning continues despite the crisis. At this juncture, online education is proving to be a huge blessing by reinventing learning to meet the needs of modern education.
Technology being the driver of this change, it is imperative that schools adopt this tool effectively to help students adapt to the ever-changing dynamic world. By integrating audio-visual content, flipped classroom approach, e-books, quizzes, and like, online classes are helping schools across India beat the lockdown to push ahead with the academic calendar.
Considering the role of technology in education and supporting digital learning, the government of India has announced the ‘Pradhan Mantri e-VIDYA’ initiative as part of the Rs 20-lakh crore COVID-19 package that will include DTH TV channels, e-content and QR coded textbooks for all grades. Simply put, online learning is now being widely accepted and is becoming the norm.
Following are ways that digital learning can be fostered to become the new normal:
Shifting the focus from teacher-centered learning to student-centered learning
Student-centered learning is gaining popularity in the 21st-century education sector. This approach gives students autonomy over their learning so that they can explore conceptual information pertaining to their curriculum and gain an in-depth understanding in addition to what is being taught by the teacher. When student-centered learning is encouraged, students take an active interest in learning and find suitable resources to augment their learning such as short courses, online lectures, e-books, presentations, videos, and more. This approach also promotes lifelong learning.
Adopting technology-based solutions
The traditional classroom model is now becoming more a thing of the past. Schools are increasingly adopting technology-based solutions like online classes and learning management systems to augment their education model and pedagogy. Firstly, through online classes, teachers and students can connect virtually and ensure uninterrupted teaching-learning. This virtual learning environment makes it comfortable for students to get an at-home learning experience.
Secondly, digital content in the form of eBooks, PDFs and audio-visual content reduces the dependency on paper-based books, and students can learn on their own, at their desired pace. Finally, online classes make any time, anywhere learning possible. Teachers and students can carry on with learning from the safety of their homes, without hampering the curriculum and academic schedules.
Training students and educators to be tech-savvy
Since the education sector is making a transition from offline to online models, it is important to introduce innovative approaches that meet the expectations of today’s world. But to make them successful, it is essential that educators and students are properly trained to use digital tools. This will bridge the digital divide and empower teachers to go digital, modify their pedagogy, and usher in an array of new approaches to education.
Promoting skill enhancement and holistic development
Online learning offers a plethora of advantages to learners and educators. It offers an opportunity for educators to boost their presentation skills, technical skills, and time management. For learners, it helps to inculcate independent learning and self-management skills. For instance, if the teacher assigns a project, students need to explore for more information. In the process of exploring and collating the content, students become confident and develop critical-thinking and decision-making ability which make them future-ready.
Technology is thus giving students and educators a great opportunity to rise to the occasion and make a smooth transition from offline to online education. In a couple of years, online learning will be the new normal. It is believed that e-learning platforms will play a greater role in learning and print textbooks may slowly become a thing of the past. Technology will continue to improve the education system in India through cost-effective and user-friendly digital solutions.
This article is written by Beas Dev Ralhan, Co-Founder and CEO, Next Education India Pvt Ltd.