With 4.66 billion Internet users around the world, it’s no surprise that technology has influenced the way we live our lives. From how we communicate with each other to where we get our news, we rely on technology to make our lives easier and more efficient. After the pandemic hit, the rise of the digital economy accelerated faster than anyone expected, with many working and learning remotely.
Now more than ever, technology plays a very important role in our lives. This sudden shift to everything digital is further changing our lifestyles, including the way we learn and take in information.
Learning in the Digital Era
Back then, if you wanted to learn a new skill, you would have to go out of your way to enroll in a class and need to be physically there to learn from those classes. Nowadays, all it takes to start learning a new skill is enrolling in an online course. There are different kinds of online courses depending on both your budget and learning style. Some classes offer a self-learning option where you are provided with the materials you need, including professionally-created videos to help you learn. Other classes offer a more interactive approach, also providing you the necessary materials while being assigned to a teacher who can help give real-time feedback and answers to questions you might have. If you don’t have the budget to enroll in a class or want to save your money, you can even lookup tutorial videos on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
The same goes for online education. As Zoom classes are becoming a part of the new normal, needing to be physically present to actively participate in class is no longer a necessity. As long as the pandemic still exists, this is how students will learn from now on. However, this could take some time for both teachers and students to get used to, as collaborative learning brought about by new technology is something that both students and teachers have yet to familiarize themselves with.
Aside from physical presence and collaborative learning, another aspect of online learning that’s different from its traditional counterpart is the shift from passive learning to active learning. In a traditional classroom setting, lessons are usually teacher-centered- students take notes while the teacher discusses the lesson. In an online classroom setting, on the other hand, lessons have become more student-centered. This encourages students to share what they’ve learned and interact more with both their teacher and fellow students.
Advantages of Online Learning
Online learning is an excellent way for teachers to give lessons, send needed materials, receive passed requirements, and delegate tasks efficiently. It also allows both students and teachers to use online resources in real-time in addition to traditional textbooks. Whether you need to share files or communicate, there’s an application or program that can cater to online learning needs. This doesn’t only apply to an educational context. Even skill-learning classes that can help you improve on a specific skill benefit from this efficiency.
Take music classes, for instance. In a regular voice or piano lesson, your piano instructor may require you to purchase a book or a set of worksheets to help supplement your studies or provide activities that you can work on at home. In an online class, on the other hand, the teacher may just send you the materials via email for easier and quicker access.
Accessibility in Terms of Location and Time
Having online classes allows students to participate in their classes from anywhere in the country or even the world. This is a great way for students who find themselves struggling to pay for their boarding near the school to continue attending their classes. Online learning also allows students to record classes and discussions so that they can go back and study them in the future.
Online learning is good for both saving money and the environment. It greatly reduces the cost of transportation, meals, and boarding, saving both students and teachers a significant amount of money that they could otherwise put into something more productive. As files are shared online, it also creates a paperless environment that reduces both waste and carbon footprints.
Flexible to Different Learning Styles
People have different learning styles: visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing. One significant benefit of online learning is that it can be personalized in different ways to create the perfect environment that caters to a specific learner’s needs.
Challenges of Online Learning
While online learning provides benefits like different applications that cater to different needs, students can also become distracted by social media or games on their phones or computers. This is why teachers or mentors need to keep their classes engaging and interactive. Doing this allows the student to participate more in the lesson and reduces their chances of getting distracted.
While the existence of Wi-Fi and the Internet is anything but new, students who reside in smaller cities may find it difficult to find an Internet connection with consistent speeds. This makes online classes more difficult to access and can cause a delay in the learning process.
Teachers Have to Be Trained
Making sense of online learning applications may be easier for students, but it may take some getting used to for teachers. In most cases, teachers only have a basic understanding of different kinds of technology and might not have the necessary resources to conduct an online classroom session properly.
Online learning isn’t new, but with the sudden shift to a completely digital setting, both teachers and students are scrambling to adjust to the new normal. However, as we continue to make our way through the digital landscape, online learning will soon become easier, and teachers may soon be able to utilize its full potential.