HOW DIGITAL LEARNING IS THE FUTURE OF EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE POST-PANDEMIC WORLD
Author: Vrinda Ramanee, LL.B. from Amity Law School, Noida. Amity University
The pandemic has made the world come to a halt. All day-to-day activities and routines seem to have paused. The only way people have been able to stay connected and with what’s happening around the world is through the help of digital technology. It is this digital technology which has acted as a safety net for many businesses and educational institutions during the crisis. It is difficult to predict when things will get back to normal, or maybe this could be the new normal. Who knows? Hence, the faster we adapt to this virtual lifestyle, the easier it will be for us shortly. Technology has been growing constantly and bringing us closer each day. Thanks to the availability of the internet, geographical distances don’t seem to be a problem anymore as a person can connect with anybody, anywhere around the globe. Same goes for education, now a student can learn any course sitting anywhere in the world and can receive the necessary information and education from any place they wish. Thus, the gap in learning has reduced drastically.
The world was slowly shifting to digital learning and the pandemic has simply just accelerated the adaptation of E-learning and thus holds to be a promising vision for the coming future.
Though digital learning is the need of the hour, it isn’t an easy method to adopt. Electricity and a decent internet connection are crucial to fully enjoy the benefits offered by E-Learning along with owning a laptop and other smart devices. Thus, the lack of digital infrastructure is the paramount thing which needs to be fixed for this method of learning to be a success. Not many people have access to high-quality internet, especially those in the rural areas, so if measures aren’t taken, it might lead to a further disparity among students in the future. Staying on these online machines can not only become tiresome and exhausting for the teachers but may also put a great amount of strain on the eyes of the users, leading to more eye problems. Further, since there isn’t any face-to-face interaction, it becomes difficult for the teacher to ascertain whether a student is paying attention, as being online can be very destructive. Hence, this method lacks the overall grooming of students as there is no control over them and so there is a limit to what one can decipher by communicating online. Many of these problems have been faced by institutions who adopted virtual learning as a means to complete their course during this crisis.
The pandemic has acted as an experimental period of trial and error to figure out the efficacies and the defects in the system. However, there are two sides to every coin so if proper measures are taken to fix these loopholes and reforms are introduced in the Education sector and the IT Infrastructure, online learning could in all possibility reshape the future. Shifting education from the traditional classroom teaching to a virtual setting has its advantages as well. Students can access digital learning from anywhere in the world and it expands the online learning experience as it helps students to access more information and data than what is provided in a limited classroom teaching. Online learning acts as a cheaper source as well as a more efficient method of learning as there aren’t any travelling or commuting costs attached with it and nor does it have a long-drawn-out timetable. It makes it more time efficient for students as they can utilise their time in a better manner and manage their studies along with other activities. Further, equal importance and attention are given to every student and there isn’t any distinction based on the seating arrangement of students as backbenchers or front benchers. It also helps teachers to upload course material online which gets saved for further reference and also doesn’t require the use of paper and notebooks, making it more paper efficient. When it comes to internet connectivity and availability of laptops, measures need to be taken so that cheap and easy access to the internet is available to all and students could either be provided with laptops from the institution with their E-books installed or laptops should be made available to them at very nominal prices so that every student can buy it and it doesn’t create disparity. The IT Infrastructure needs to be improved and made more suitable so that every student gets easy and uninterrupted access to online sources irrespective of the quality of the institution they go to. Training should be provided to teachers and professors on how to use these online portals more efficiently so that they become equipped with all of its features.
Learning from the problems which have been faced, stricter online apps or portals should be designed which specifically cater to student education and learning so that it becomes easier to spot those who aren’t paying attention or such features should be designed which can help to keep a check on the students. Digital learning isn’t just time and cost-efficient, it also helps students to find courses catering to their needs and makes learning more flexible. It not only helps the students to mix and match their subject choices according to their interests but makes learning more systematised as it allows them to choose the best course material for topics which are universally same thus, expanding their horizon. Hence, with the right measures and suitable reforms, online learning can undoubtedly become a robust method of education in the post-pandemic world.
The pandemic has closed doors for classroom teaching and it is unlikely that post-pandemic things will entirely get back to normal. Even when schools, colleges and other educational institutions open up, they won’t be able to function like before. There would be more burden on the institution and the faculty and it wouldn’t be economical in the long run. Thus, it is digital learning which will act as the saviour and will offer to restore and continue to provide education. It is the future model of education and what will lead to the beginning of new learning possibilities.