According to various reports, there are more than 1.2 billion children in 186 countries that have been affected by school closures due to the pandemic. In North America, Europe, South-East Asia and the Middle East, schools and universities have been closed until further notice. However, countries remain at different points in their COVID-19 infection rates, so it is difficult to tell how things will turn out. For instance, children up to age of 11 and above are returning to schools in Denmark. Whereas, in South Korea, students are smartly adopting to remote education with their teachers online.
With this shift away from schools in many parts of the world, people are wondering how this will impact the students and also if adoption to online learning will continue post-pandemic. Even before COVID-19, there was a high growth in adoption in education technology. Whether it’s virtual tutoring, language apps, online portals, learning software or video conferencing tools, there has been a massive surge in usage since COVID-19. However, just a few months ago, no one could have imagined we’ll be in a situation where remote education is the only viable solution.
Many people believe that instant adoption of remote education with no training, sufficient bandwidth and little preparation will result to a poor user experience. However, fields such as information technology are rapidly making progress and will soon be integrated with different components of school education. Even though these are early days, we are yet to fully discover what will be the impact of remote education. These changes will not only be adapting to the pandemic to cater to students. Schools and colleges are businesses too and like every business, they are struggling. So, let us dive in to the good, the bad and the ugly of remote education;
Obviously, there are many advantages of remote education and distance learning such as:
- Many students work full-time and manage their classes at the same time. Distance learning offers some relief with access to classes anytime and virtually from anywhere.
- No traffic, fighting for parking spots, fatigue and more time at home.
- More time for other activities.
- Virtually, anyone can get access to education with reach to larger audiences.
- Less crowded classrooms.
- Less schedule conflicts between classes.
- Environmental benefits such as less use of paper, electricity and fuel since nearly everything is electronic.
There are many disadvantages of distance learning such as:
- Little or no interaction with other students.
- Hard to maintain focus – With no one to stop them, students can eat, sleep, exercise, and watch movies during classes.
- Limited or no one-on-one interaction between teacher and student.
- Lack of explanation or assistance from instructors.
- Schools and colleges not willing to reduce tuition fee during the pandemic leading to many dropouts.
- Need access to the internet and specific software which may not be available at all times.
- Harder to reach faculty members for assistance.
- Can be challenging for non-tech savvy students.
- Easy to fall behind if one cannot manage time properly.
- Most students are not accustomed to giving tests or exams online, which will most likely affect their performance.
- Studying online just doesn’t have the same feel as studying in a classroom with friends.
Remote education may free up some time, but like any college course, there’s still work to be done. Usually, online institutions promote distance learning as an easy way to learn in terms of schedule for full-time workers and married people. However, there are many skeletons in this closet so let’s take a look:
- Training new instructors for remote learning is expensive and difficult.
- Difficult to motivate students and keep them engaged.
- Many instructors are old fashioned and have a negative attitude towards online technology. This takes them out of their comfort zone.
- Instructors have to change the course to fit online learning objectives and capabilities.
- No way to give visual feedback as compared to traditional teaching.
- Hard to stop students from cheating during online quizzes and examinations
What the education industry is looking for in these desperate times is a win-win situation. We’re not sure when things get back to normal, but as they stand at the moment, you might as well get used to remote education.