1.2 billion children in 186 countries have started virtual learning due to this global pandemic: Covid-19. This whole scenario has totally changed the mode of learning for students, and on the other side, for parents, it is an entirely new digital world.
E-learning has increased the comfort level of students, as they do not have to get dressed up early in the morning, to leave for their schools. This new model of learning has increased the retention level of students.
Learning has emerged into a dramatically new world. Parents on the other side are now totally bound with their children assisting them in their virtual classes.
Parent-body felt more committed towards children for e-learning in this pandemic. Teachers are being monitored by parents as most of them accompany their children to ensure that the children are making most out of e-learning. Teachers are working remotely, so the whole standpoint of learning has utterly changed.
Students’ screen time has increased no doubt that’s an emerging threat to parents. But providing the situation they have no other alternative. E-learning has its own advantages, simultaneously; it poses a few challenges for teachers, parents, and students.
A Professor from the University of Jordan stated he found out that this mode of learning more effective and efficient. As he connected with his students effortlessly through video calls, voice notes, Facebook, and Whatsapp. In this way, instructors are providing prompt feedback.
Research has shown that online learning takes 60% to 40% less time to learn as compared to our customary education system. Keeping in view our younger lot in Pakistan, who is more tech-oriented, is more likely to preserve information being provided digitally rather than through print media.
As we all cannot deny the fact that these days it’s very rare we see young cohort been hooked reading books in libraries. In fact, there is a new inclination towards e-libraries of which we are well-acquainted.
In Pakistan we see E-learning as an emerging trend on the contrary it is a serious encounter for a certain class, which is underprivileged. This pandemic is certainly aggravating disparities in the education system as the students in rural areas have no access to gadgets and the internet.
According to Pakistan’s demographics, taken from trading economics site 54.39% of the rural population has no access to electricity.
In that perspective, more than half of the rural population is incapable of acquiring edification during the pandemic. No one is certain how long this global pandemic going to last.
However, this inequality of education among a certain class is affecting the young cohort of Pakistan in an elongated course.
Here I would like to quote one real-life example, revealing this bitter truth; A farmer whose two kids attend an ordinary primary school nearby his house, school has started virtual classes and he is the only one, who has got a mobile (not a smartphone). He cannot afford an internet connection and a smartphone; therefore he might withdraw his children from the school.
E-learning: Welfares and Detriments
Virtual learning, a process whose sway varies among different age groups. Younger ones need a structured learning atmosphere as they easily get distracted, teenagers and grownups enjoy e-learning, as there are a lot of those who are into Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube.
While learning virtually, they can effortlessly access extra online substances related to their topic. Distance learning is bringing the evolution in society. A very serious challenge pose to our education system followed by virtual learning is for the students. Most of the private institutions conducted online exams. There was a protest, a few days back in KPK, by the students who were not contented well for taking the online exams.
As there is no infallible method present throughout the world through which the teachers could trace the trickster. But is completely a new technique of taking exams in Pakistan. And the ratio of cheating is quite high among students and eventually, this would affect their results.
Although learning through gadgets using the internet is fun and effective but on the contrary, it becomes a challenge for some people. Many parents complain about the increased screen time of their children.
Most of the students’ are experiencing the problem of being isolated during e-learning they are deprived of studying in a classroom environment. Student’s participation rate in a class activity declines in an online classroom, as a few of them are hesitant of speaking in front of the camera.
In my opinion distance learning is neither cost-effective for educational institutes nor for the parents/students. Institutions have to pay their monthly rentals and salaries to the teachers, as they were doing before.
In fact, some of the teachers have to buy monthly internet with larger bandwidth and laptops for which they were not really bothered previously. Parents have to pay a monthly fee as they were paying earlier and in addition to that, they have to bear the expenses of buying laptops/tablets/desktops separate for every kid if in case every child is having online classes at the same time.
Virtual learning; Quick Transition
We have been thinking about social distancing and its pros and cons but a very important question is that if it is an easy transition or not?
Distance learning has started on an abrupt basis in Pakistan so neither the teachers nor the students were familiar with this progression. Teachers started conducting classes without any training.
It was a nerve-wracking process and increased screen time. A professor Joseph James, a professor in the Information School and chair of the Faculty Senate, said
The move was going “about as well as you could expect.” While there have been, to his knowledge, no technological disasters, faculty members in his school, like many others during this crisis, are stretched thin.
It is a quick but very challenging transition in these testing times not only in Pakistan but globally. In Pakistan, institutions have developed their online portals and even peer-to-peer online conferencing software in no time, which is really applauding.
We all as a nation are struggling in these testing times. Teachers and students have no other connection for learning except virtual learning. We all are gradually getting used to it. Teachers are being provided with useful pieces of training from their respective institutions. Students on the other part are now discovering it fun and quick learning. As long as the situation is going to be the same there is no other option than distance learning.
Anum has done an MBA. Currently teaching at LGS PARAGON. She has extraordinary writing skills and a passion to put her real thoughts on paper.