Online education

The downside of reliance on digitization for learning

The increase in social isolation and the closure of schools after the COVID-19 pandemic has made technology the ultimate and the end for everyone. From shopping to studying, everything has become virtual. While addressing the need to maintain consistency in education, experts have overlooked the downsides of virtual education today.

The pandemic has changed the face of education forever. Overall, more than 1.2 million children around the world have switched to online education. The rise of online learning has also given way to digital learning platforms on government and private educational platforms. However, such measures do not overshadow the drawbacks of the rise of e-learning platforms.

What are the disadvantages of going digital?

Online education has limited interactions between children and educators. Since there is minimal face-to-face interaction on both sides, although it is undeniable that students are excited about technology, their downside is that the technology opens up a plethora of options for students, and they can be easily distracted. . Today’s students are tech-savvy and easily find games and other information on the web that can distract them.

Excessive screen time can trigger overstimulation or deregulation of emotions. Increased screen exposure therefore reduces students’ sleep time. While there is no concrete study yet that provides ideal screen time for students, the availability of education on digital platforms has sped up screen time for students. In the absence of alternatives for students, parents and teachers should be alert to recognize the early symptoms of overstimulation, such as unmanageable stress and difficulty regulating mood swings.

Independent learning allows students to develop analytical thinking skills, while collective problem solving increases harmony and brotherhood among children. They learn to develop skills to work in a team and take collective responsibility. For proper development of a child, a classroom learning experience is a must. However, online educational platforms threaten that students become too involved in virtual education and lose interest in classroom learning.

Even though technology has been a constant friend of children in contemporary times, it cannot be compared to the interpersonal learning experience of a physical classroom. While students are familiar with digital advancements, many teachers lack technical expertise. In the first wave of the pandemic, when online education was just accepted as the standard, teachers were duly trained to operate education platforms. However, teachers had to practice to get used to the new methods of education.

Most educational apps are designed for individual use. Therefore, instead of peer interaction or interpersonal interaction between students and teachers, children are more engrossed in a computer program. The consequence of such a learning system is the underdevelopment of communication skills in children. The younger generation already lacks interpersonal communication skills. Teachers should strive to use educational apps for interactive virtual classroom learning experiences. Most workplaces look for employees who maintain cordial social relationships. Therefore, the lack of communication in classrooms is a legitimate concern.

If, on the one hand, knowledge and technology complement each other, the two are not created equal. Students who have easy access to electronic devices know them better than those who do not. Children from financially strong backgrounds have the upper hand over those from economically backward families. The disparity also depends on the educational divide between children from different backgrounds. So, we have to ask ourselves if progressing on a learning application means better knowledge of the subject?

The information available only turns into knowledge if one has the right skills. Appropriate research and the correct interpretation of the study material is necessary to enable knowledge. The World Wide Web offers a plethora of studies on a single subject; therefore, it turns off the creativity of a person’s thought as it does not cause them to think outside the box and try various alternatives.

Short attention span in children

Technology is a boon when it is available. However, many households cannot afford to access smartphones, tablets and laptops. Then it becomes a brake and further widens the digital divide. Relying on a computer can be problematic without a stable internet connection.

In modern times, students are required to master several languages. Even though there is more than one readily available app for language learning, the practicality of the subject is lacking. A new language cannot be learned without using it every day between peers and social groups. The student misses grammatical aspects and tense training in a language. Mobile applications provide little or no feedback. Typically all mobile apps have automated feedback based on practitioner score. Therefore, learning a language can be more difficult online than in physical classes.

Attention spans across age groups have declined dramatically since digitalization took over. When every little detail is available at their fingertips, people have lost the habit of browsing big textbooks in search of details. Short attention span is a termite that will devour the younger generation as it will gradually lead to loss of focus.

Online learning requires self-motivation and discipline. In young students, motivation and discipline are habits that are difficult to teach. Therefore, they require constant adult supervision. Working parents cannot devote enough time to their children, leaving them alone. You have to learn to balance work and play to keep e-learning a healthy, ongoing practice.

Since online education focuses more on the theoretical aspect of learning, the essential practice and practical expertise. On e-learning platforms, students are forced to listen to podcasts and watch videos and documentaries but do not have enough equipment and hands-on installation experiences. Online learning reduces the chances of students learning with professionals; thus, when they enter the field of work, they have only classical knowledge of the subject and cannot make dynamic decisions.

In uncertain times, online education is the only way for students to stay in touch with their studies. Schools have closed for longer periods, and reopening is uncertain and little expected by parents because they worry about children’s vulnerability to the virus.

To read also: Welcome to the move! Tamil Nadu increases maternity leave to 12 months


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