As soon as the pandemic struck, life across the world came to halt affecting people across all walks of life, except education. Educationists couldn’t hang up their hats, even in the face of a global pandemic. An answer had to be found, and it was. Parents could no longer chide their children for being glued to their devices, it was part of school now. Learning had to be revolutionized to educate an entire generation of children. This is what prompted the switch to e-learning on a large scale. It all had to be moved online, and the transition proved to be one of the hardest generational shifts gen z had to encounter. This was mainly due to the novelty of e-learning as well as the largely experimental instruction techniques that come along with it.
The significant change impacted all those who engaged within the system. Schools had to pull up their socks to adapt to a new system of learning, teachers had to experiment with pedagogical techniques to hold children’s attention and the students themselves had to pull themselves through it all with a brand-new medium.
While conventional methods of educations are tried and tested, this was the first time such large scale “experimental” learning had been carried out under such unusual circumstances. E learning has now become a necessity because of the psychosocial aspects affected by the corona virus pandemic. With offline classes being deemed unsafe, there was a spike in e-learning methods as educationists took to the internet to impart knowledge. E-learning, or the deployment of tools like the internet and modern techonology has become an indispensable part of education in the present context.
But the larger impact of online education on such a large scale still remains to be seen, and is unchartered territory that educationists’ dived headfirst into.
Once the inertia of being away from phycial classes set in, it was hard to shake. Children were no longer learning at the same rate, concentration was affected.
The digital divide was becoming apparent, with many students struggling to have access to stable internet connections and reliable devices. A severe lack of socio-cognitive development became apparent. This would otherwise have taken place in the physical presence of peers/classmates.
One must take note that E learning cannot replace learning through interaction with peers and lived experiences. In other words, online learning is not everyone’s cup of tea. Renowned Indian economist Raguram Rajan too noted the void that e-learning left in the socio-cognitive development of students in comparison with offline learning.
E-learning comes with several challenges of its own and in order to be effective, the didactic methods need to be increasingly efficient and engaging.
As a generation that is living through history, E-learning seems to be no mean feat. Many students could vouch for the the initial reluctance and gradual acceptance of a new system of learning. That goes beyond just numbers. The story of education is unique lto students from all over the world. They have had to adjust, adapt, change their lifestyles and learning environment accommodate their educations. The boundaries between homes and schools became fluid, as the schoolroom invaded their homes. For students all over, schools tried their best to provide as much as they could, and continue to do so by any means necessary.
However, it was the need of the hour to find a fitting substitute to traditional learning methods, and online learning proved to be the perfect fit. While there are several kinks to be worked out in the e-learning systems, one can rest assured that the pandemic provided the push necessary to move E-learning from the fringes of pedagogy to the mainstream. In conclusion, we have only reached the tip of the iceberg in terms of the untapped potential that E-learning offers. Most importantly, it has also facilitated the creation of a close knit community of avid learners and passionate educators.
-content by isabella