Does online learning yield better results? | By Waqar Hassan


Does online learning yield better results?

AVEEN yearned to get a high-quality education for realizing her dream of becoming the best version of herself. Dishearteningly, she faced obstacles on her way to get the best kind of education. She belonged to a remote area, having little access to educational facilities. Owing to the conventional method of education, she encountered social and financial obstacles which hindered her from attaining her ambition. Aveen grasped the opportunity to chase her dreams when the world was hit hard by the Covid pandemic. As the virus devastated the foundations of conventional teaching, it pushed virtual learning to the forefront and it has turned out to be more suitable and successful than traditional classroom teaching. It is a God sent opportunity for many students, like Aveen, to get a quality education owing to the difficulties that the traditional educational system offers to many students of rural areas.

Online education, a modern and dynamic style of learning, surpasses social, cultural, economic and geographical limitations and offers an educational experience in a beneficial environment, making it more accessible and effective than standard classroom teaching which does not have these essential elements of learning. Internet-based learning has opened the door to using YouTube and Zoom to sharpen our understanding of key concepts while being away from real classrooms. This is an approach that is more useful and efficient than conventional classroom teaching. For developing countries, administrations find it difficult to provide the same standard of education in far-flung areas. Such governments battle with budget restrictions, scarcity of capable teachers and inadequate infrastructure. Through online learning, students from even the most remote areas can break down any barriers and gain access to a state-of-the-art virtual classroom with highly skilled instructors, making online learning more convenient and practical.

Online education makes it possible for many people to attend universities from different countries, enabling them to attain the highest quality of education. It is also more effective in terms of quality. Online learning is a cost-saving option and has an array of advantages, one of which is significantly lower travel and educational expenses compared to traditional education. The convenience and efficiency of online learning give learners the ability to access lectures allowing them to replay them multiple times to further their understanding of key concepts. In times of crisis, such as pandemics, riots or damage to educational infrastructure, students can easily turn to virtual learning to keep their education going, making it an effective tool. In the advanced world of creativity and technology, customary learning finds confined room to generate the wanted outcomes because of constraints in its working yet online learning brings with itself an assorted foundation of learning opportunities that include modern tools and up-to-date learning techniques.

In rural areas, traditional teaching methods rarely offer many opportunities for women and girls to get an education, but internet-based learning can make it more convenient, breaking down social, cultural and financial barriers and proving to be more successful than traditional teaching approaches. Traditional learning scarcely uses modern technology tools in classes, making it more difficult and less effective to teach important ideas. Online learning is better in this domain because it uses the most recent methods of teaching. Equipped with the tools for quality education, online education offers students a better opportunity to learn and gain knowledge. The success of distance learning varies since some areas of the world lack the technology such as reliable internet and the right tools, to attend virtual classes. Overcoming these challenges can make online learning the most effective learning method. The following measures can transform the system of online education making it an effective way of learning.

There is a need to guarantee that students have access to essential technology devices such as computers, tablets or smartphones, along with any essential software or applications. Take a look at initiatives that offer affordable or subsidized devices to students who can’t afford them. Moreover, it is cardinal to equip teachers with the essential digital aptitudes, instructive strategies and help frameworks to make energizing and intelligent online learning encounters. Additionally, we need to offer comprehensive education and professional improvement programmes for teachers to efficiently utilize virtual teaching platforms and tools. The need of the hour is to guarantee the syllabus is constructed with interactive and multimedia components, satisfying the needs of online learners and utilizing the digital resources accessible sensibly. Furthermore, investment in easy-to-use and effective educational management systems that can facilitate effortless communication, content delivery, assignments, assessments and tracing of student progress is needed.

Governments should also focus on boosting communication infrastructure and access to reliable high-speed connections, especially in rural regions. For the success of online learning, we must develop devoted support services for trainees and tutors, such as helpdesks or online forums, where they can seek assistance with technical issues, educational queries, or general support-related issues about online learning. Furthermore, by utilizing effective assessment approaches for virtual learning by including formative and summative assessments that accurately measure students’ progress and provide prompt feedback, we can overcome the barriers to the success of this system. To ensure the quality of learning, modern methods such as web-based quizzes, digital presentations, or capacity-based assessments need to be employed. There is a constant need to conduct studies to locate the best e-learning techniques, survey the effectiveness of e-learning programmes and make decisions based on data for continual improvement.

Lastly, all entities, including administrative organizations, schools, teachers, parents, students and corporations, must collaborate to execute these steps and enhance web-based learning experiences in Pakistan. If developing countries don’t overcome these barriers, they won’t be able to benefit from the convenience and efficiency of online learning. Pakistan should take advantage of the opportunity provided by Covid-19 to improve its online learning system making it a tool to transform the system of education in the country. Digital learning is the best way to address issues such as budgetary restrictions, low enrollment, inadequate resources and shortage of qualified instructors. All we need is to view it through the eyes of collective wisdom before the opportunity passes us by.

The writer is CSS Officer, based in Sargodha.

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