Everyone will remember what happened at the beginning of 2020. With countries terminating flights and closing their borders, hardly could we believe it would be the same over one year after.
Online learning has become an integral part of every student’s life. With hours spent in front of the screen, remote education provides numerous challenges. However, the other side of the coin exists, which has opposite to bad taste recordings thoughts regarding online learning. Many students find distance education a powerful tool, which allows them to study and even work under one roof. We have researched the subject thoroughly and are ready to present the most predominant strengths and weaknesses of online learning.
Weaknesses of Online Learning
Spike of Given Assignments
When education switched to an online mode, teachers didn’t know how to adjust to remote learning. The only way to make up for traditional classes, according to them, was to increase the number of home tasks. What they didn’t consider is that students didn’t begin to have more time to deal with such assignments. A rapid surge of tasks made students get assignment help outside academia. Such services declared that their flow of customers has tripled. And although students could somehow deal with teachers’ insatiable desire to assign dozens of papers with short deadlines, they still felt it was too much to handle.
Inability to Separate Free Time and Studies
“I can’t tell when I study and when I rest,” states a group of university students. Indeed, online learning, in its initial format, makes everyone work on tasks practically 24/7. Many students confirm that they have already forgotten about the boundary between studies and free time they used to have before the covid-19 outbreak. Unfortunately, multiple teachers disagree and keep assigning tasks, proving that learners must work on their own more since learning from home.
Lack of Interactivity
Another drawback of online learning is the lack of interactivity. It comes as no surprise that instructors’ approaches play a pivotal role in students’ understanding. Sadly, not every educator decided to shift teaching strategies and make learning more interactive. “We were hoping teachers would create engaging activities, like working in groups on various questions, peer-reviewing articles, even playing educational games,” students report.
Instead, an impressive number of classes remained the same, i.e., a teacher talks and students listen and take notes. In an online format, it is incredibly challenging, considering that many students have younger siblings, live in a disturbing neighborhood, and similar factors that prevent learners from being fully focused.
Strengths of Online Learning
Online learning has plenty of positive sides. One of them is that it provides students with more freedom. When learners switched to a distance mode, they couldn’t believe instructors would change their teaching techniques. Yet, they have. Online learning allows students to study from any spot. Indeed, it is hard to travel these days, but many have family members scattered around the States. Having classes on Zoom or any other platform enables learners to tune in wherever they are.
Online learning has come in handy for those who tend to be less confident. Many students state they are bullied and get judgmental looks from their colleagues. Thanks to distance education, they don’t have to turn on their cameras. This, in turn, makes them more assured and productive and lets them focus on a subject, not thinking about their appearances.
Also, learning from home eliminates early wakeups. Students from large cities used to wake up several hours before classes to get prepared and enter the classroom on time. “Now that I learn remotely, I save four hours daily,” says Monica, a second-year M.A. student of Cornell University.
Many institutions have changed curricula and adapted them to remote learning. As a result, students became more involved in their studies. On top of that, they started having more opportunities, which allow them to work, do sports, and spend more time with their family members. Aside from these essential aspects, people started exploring new fields of interest, enrolling in various courses, and serving internships.
Whatever downsides online education has, it is liable to remain with us for a long time. The pandemic will end, sooner or later. But remote learning will become an excellent option for those who value mobility and efficiency. Top universities have already started giving students freedom of choice, allowing them to attend lectures online or in real life. Will it become leading? We shall see. But whatever predictions are, online education, with its weaknesses and drawbacks, must become more flexible, interactive, and, most importantly, practical.