Will Online Learning Take Over Traditional Learning?
If you’ve had the awkward moment of being told ‘you’re on mute!’ when speaking in an online class, you’re not alone. We’ve all been exposed to some form of online learning, with ‘Zoom’ becoming a regular part of our vocabulary. But is online learning a temporary phase, or is it here to stay for good?
Almost all students, school and university alike, have been affected by the pandemic and have had some sort of online learning at one point or another. It’s had its ups and downs, and generated polar opposite opinions on its effectiveness, but it has definitely changed the environment of learning and workplaces. But is this change here to stay? Will online learning become a feature of the future? Read on to find out what Millie thinks!
What really is online learning?
“One of the predominant changes has been the use of technology such as video conferencing”
For those who perhaps haven’t been exposed to online learning, let’s first just recap. Online learning, brought about by lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, is an alternative to in-person teaching whereby systems such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams have been used to record teaching material and interface with students for lessons. One of the predominant changes from traditional learning to online learning has been the use of technology such as video conferencing software to deliver lessons and lectures, and even the use of StudyTubers or podcasts to consolidate knowledge. With everything being online, email and text have become increasingly used in educational systems to liaise between students and with teachers.
Many people have opposing views on whether online learning was effective at all, but what were some of the pros and cons? Let’s find out.
- Lessons in bed, anyone? - While perhaps not the most productive way of learning, online lessons have allowed students to learn from anywhere they’d like, whether that be at the dining table, outdoors in the garden, or perhaps cuddled up in bed with their laptop camera conveniently ‘broken’
- Wait, I don’t need to scramble writing lecture notes anymore?? - That’s right, with online learning, most lectures have been converted into online mediums that allow students to pause and rewind them in their own time to fully understand the content, rather than rushing to keep up with the teacher or lecturer
- Online exams - While this was the best or worst news for some students, having online exams usually meant having open-book exams, which can be pretty great for those content heavy subjects
- More time for recreation - One bonus that people found with online learning and online work was the added recreation time that used to be spent commuting to school or work. This time was instead used for going on walks, playing outside, or spending time with the family
- Let’s face it, it’s not been easy for all - While some people have loved online learning, it hasn’t been a cake-walk for everyone, with many people struggling to keep up for a variety of reasons
- Productivity has taken a dip - For sure, maths class in bed seems way better than sitting in a classroom, however online learning has resulted in some children working less productively, without a teacher ensuring each student works efficiently
“Online learning has resulted in some students working less productively”
- Social interactions - While it’s great to relax at home and enjoy the novelty of online lessons, there really is nothing to substitute for real social interactions and the memories you make from being in school (yes, even things like the cafeteria food)
- ‘Ummm Sir, your camera isn’t on’ - Online lessons have had their shenanigans, with cameras and microphones not being turned on, or teachers powering through a lesson without realising they haven’t changed the slide in 20 minutes. Communicating through online learning while in some ways more effective, also depends a lot on the people involved in the interaction and how easily they adapt to the online platforms
So what’s here to stay?
Online and traditional learning have had their pros and cons, and have revolutionised the way we teach into blended-learning, a mixture of online and in-person. But while most schools have returned to traditional ways of teaching now that the pandemic seems to be slowing down in most countries, some changes are here to stay.
“Blended learning, a mixture of online and in-person”
#1 - Uploading teaching content online
Some schools and universities alike have decided to keep the system of uploading lesson or lecture recordings to online platforms, so that students unable to attend may watch the material, or even re-use it for revision. So helpful for those late mornings when you miss the bus!
#2 - Online Exams
While many of the high school diploma boards have returned to in-person exams, some class tests and university end of year exams have kept the online platforms they used during the pandemic to deliver exams even now, with open-book exams becoming common practice. Also SAT is turning digital in March 2023 for international test takers, and in March 2024 for US test takers.
#3 - Video meetings
It’s great to be able to meet your teacher in person to ask your questions, but sometimes it’s also nice to have the option to do a video call instead. And with online learning, that option has stayed, with teachers offering video meetings to students who prefer it.
#4 - New ways of learning
Many forms of traditional learning have been updated to fit with the new wave of online learning, such as online textbooks, Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) and virtual summer schools. Online versions of textbooks and resources allow students to access a much wider range of information only a click away, right from their homes.
#5 - Virtual Internships
Aside from learning environments, workplaces too have realised the benefits and flexibility that come with online learning, now offering virtual internships to allow more students to benefit from the experience without having to limit the numbers due to the constraints of hosting such internships in-person. Read our guide to Virtual Internships to find out more!
What are your thoughts?
While online learning is slowing down, with schools insisting upon more in-person interaction after almost two years of totally virtual interactions, some aspects are definitely here to stay. Perhaps the world will eventually move into more online learning, but for now, the blend of technology and tradition will continue to revolutionise how we learn.So what has your experience been? Do you say yay or nay to online learning, and do you think it is here to stay? Whichever side you fall on, education is a crucial part of everyone’s growth, and Millie is here to support that! Sign yourself up for a free consultation to plan your next steps!