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What is the impact of online classes and how is it better than offline education?

The advent of online-based teaching has made a significant impact in the world with its ability to provide services that may have seemed impossible at one point of time. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, several educational establishments explored ingenious means to continue meaningful work during these trying times. Contrary to popular belief, online-based learning is not a new phenomenon. Its existence was always present even before technology had advanced. People in the 1800s had an academic scheme known as Distance Learning Program which was introduced in London where its education was solely dependent on postal services. Since then, technology advancement has enabled the non-traditional study to grow into what is considered today as viable online-based learning.

 

Online education has proven to be immensely useful and sought out amongst working professionals. Educators, the main contributors of the educational system, can use online education as a means to improve their skills in curriculum implementation as well as providing appropriate policies that can help the students navigate better towards their terrifyingly unknown futures. This type of education further helps educators to improve their instructional skills that are extremely important to their careers in this modulating digital age. Moreover, online learners can predominantly find great benefit in the autonomy and freedom that comes with online classes. Consequently, learning online can provide the students a chance to explore a more individualized learning program through which they can better understand their options before adopting courses that can help their careers.

 

A 2012 study attempted to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of online courses. Apart from the major disadvantage that there is a lack of face-to-face interaction, the students also stated that their levels of understanding instructions were misunderstood and that there were technological issues. The advantages, on the other hand, showed high ratings in the ability to stay in the comfort of their homes without traveling, having to look presentable or dealing with uncertain weather conditions. Moreover, the students also stated the flexibility to work over the course at a leisure pace allowed them more stress-free time. Another study evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of online learning especially from the students of Mangalore University. The students reported that online education was able to provide them with the liberty of accessing classes from anywhere, that the paramount information online also contributes immensely towards their education, reported having flexibility in the time for the classes, initiates “self-paced” learning, provides access to the teacher anytime, and that overall online education was able to enhance their education.

 

Online courses, in general, demand more drive and self-discipline than traditional classroom courses. In the traditional classroom, a student is more accountable for their work which is held by professors or even peers whereas in the online mode, the students have to embark on a journey of self discipline. It requires the students to set their own goals, track their progress, and meet deadlines. This sort of regiment will provide an opportunity for the individual to improve their overall lifestyle and become more organized.

 

Aside from inducing discipline and rigor among students, online education can also pave the way for providing education to economically weaker sections of the society. In a traditional setting, the students can benefit from face-to-face interaction which is generally administered by the teachers but since its access seems to be limited to a certain section of the society, online education can lay the groundwork towards reducing the number of people deprived of the opportunity for knowledge. Additionally, traditional schooling is also witnessing an increased proliferation towards the usage of technology and online courses in providing a better educational system to the children. Therefore, in an era of continuous change, the most successful schooling systems are those that are able to adapt to the changing times. Accordingly, we must learn to leverage the use of technology to make our educational system more conducive towards productivity and learning. 


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