Yes, an online learning approach to education is the necessary step forward to work around the world’s current state because it allows students to study safely and efficiently without the risk of coming into contact with multiple people. And, we’ve seen numerous schools from across the world adapt this system to provide continued access to education for everyone.
However, despite the online learning approach being the most effective way of combating the pandemic, it’s not without drawbacks and shortcomings. In fact, many students find it less effective and more draining than your regular face-to-face classes, which has caused many to experience breakdowns and burnout from too much stress. So, today we’ll be weighing the advantages and disadvantages, and hopefully, find a middle ground and resolution to the problem.
What are the Advantages?
First, let’s begin with the positives. Digitization and full-integration of educational materials onto an online learning platform are inevitable. It’s the logical step forward that many other areas and sectors of the world need, and that concept also applies to learning. As more and more people prefer flexible schedules, less resource-intensive approaches, and more choices, it’s only natural that the education system moves online. Plus, this transition will help build a foundation for the future of learning and taking courses.
#1 Self-Paced Learning
Everyone is unique, and no two people are ever equally alike, and the same applies to every student’s preferred learning pace. Some people are naturally gifted and can afford to crunch through their classes in a single day without worrying too much about burnout. It’s just how they prefer it. And others like to take their time with every new chapter, squeezing out every bit of knowledge and reviewing to ensure they got the lesson’s essence. With online learning, students get absolute freedom in how they digest and go through their classes, which holds to the idea of self-paced and self-directed learning.
- Flexible Time: Let’s be honest, you’ve met people who are most productive in the mornings, people who get the most work done at night, and even people where the term “afternoon slump” doesn’t apply. And all these varying methods of time management can’t fit into a single systematic schedule. With online learning, students can work to their strengths and offset their weaknesses.
- Caters To Different Learning Styles: Another critical aspect to consider is the students’ preferred learning styles. Some like visual, others lean toward audio, and there’s also a group of people who enjoy kinesthetic approaches. And with online learning, students don’t have to feel pressured into choosing a method that doesn’t fit them. They can tailor their online learning according to their associated learning style.
The internet is one of the most remarkable technologies humankind has invented. It has brought us so much convenience, and it’s only natural that we carry that quality of life upgrade into our education systems. Unlike before, where written text and constant skimming were necessary, students today get full access to millions of references and connect with professionals from all across the world.
- Accessibility To Online Materials: Using an online learning system, faculty and admin can centralize all of the necessary reading materials, announcements, and other relevant information onto one platform. Therefore, students won’t have to scout through multiple places to stay updated. Everything is conveniently placed on a website they can navigate with ease.
What are the Disadvantages?
Of course, now that we’ve identified some of the strong points of online learning, we also need to clarify that it’s not perfect, citing the disadvantages to a fully-integrated online learning system. While the current pandemic does necessitate online learning, we need to think of what happens after and how these issues are to be addressed.
#1 Self-Regulation Challenges
Nobody’s perfect, and you can’t expect every single student to continually meet every requirement without a hint of failure or missing a deadline. And one of the biggest disadvantages of an online learning system is the challenge of self-regulation. Even the smartest of people meet bumps on the road, and since both rest and study are localized at home, regular students are faced with distractions daily.
- Procrastination: Everybody hates procrastination, but it’s an issue that plagues all of us, regardless of how much we despise it. And, students are at an increased risk of falling into procrastination episodes, falling victim to cognitive overload, and stacking deadlines. Yes, you could argue that these aspects should be solved through self-improvement, but the implementation of online learning shouldn’t over encumber students with work to do as well.
#2 Student Isolation
No man is an island, and when it comes to education, socializing and communicating with your classmates is an integral part of the learning process. So, new students who don’t know anyone in their class are at an immediate disadvantage because they cannot collaborate effectively in group projects or ask for help. And, unless they have access to a proficient tutor, online help-seeking is also another troublesome factor. Many students find it challenging to open up and ask for help from their professors, leading to misunderstanding and hitting a wall in their learning.
As it stands, all that we can do now is to adapt the online learning platform according to these newly identified challenges and the challenges that have yet to be discovered. Since we can’t afford to introduce a blended approach with the risk of the pandemic, it’s imperative to success that we find a balance between meeting curriculum requirements and building an online environment conducive to success.