The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to everything in life. Businesses had to adjust or risk getting shut down. Authorities urged people to practice social distancing or risk getting infected by the deadly virus. Every aspect of life had to change, giving way to the new normal. Education did not receive protection from COVID-19 as academic institutions had to shut down campuses.
Schools have a responsibility to protect students. Social distancing protocols could prove challenging to accomplish among young people without parental supervision. However, education should never stop. Academic institutions must continue to provide lessons and classes to students, giving birth to online learning.
The pandemic made online learning a necessity, especially in countries that continue to suffer from lockdowns. Fortunately, it is an effective alternative that helps students gain knowledge and skills. However, there is no sign that it took the throne from face-to-face learning as the ideal learning environment. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, here is what we know about online learning so far:
There Is Still Room for Improvement
The pandemic hit the world fast, which means humanity has to force adjustments. For education, closing campuses was the first course of action. It means that academic years were canceled or delayed. Parents must prioritize health and safety for their kids first. Still, it was only a matter of time before they circled back to providing them with education. Academic institutions pushed for online learning, with teachers holding virtual meetings for lessons and handing out educational modules.
Unfortunately, the limits of online learning are glaring. Unstable internet connections prevent students from getting the most out of a class, making student participation difficult. Modules are not as effective as chalkboards, group projects, and other face-to-face educational tools.
However, there is so much room for improvement. Academic institutions act like businesses, which means adjustments will arrive. Once they notice potential issues, they can initiate solutions that will be helpful to both lecturers and students.
Campuses Must Dedicate More Resources
Despite efforts to pursue online learning, it remains a problematic situation for both students and lecturers. Unstable internet connections will become a constant problem, as external factors like the weather and technical issues become the primary source. However, the troubles might be more complicated for each student.
They might not have access to laptops, computers, and other equipment to pursue online learning. Textbooks, notebooks, and other supplies might not also be available to them. It is easy to say that parents should bear the responsibility. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who lost their jobs and struggled to make ends meet. Adding educational worries to the already challenging health crisis might not be ideal.
Fortunately, academic institutions have equipment and devices they can rent to students in need. While it might be risky, renting those tools can help struggling families from pinning education as an additional problem they have to solve.
Education Remains Innovative
Adjustments are necessary for the pandemic, but they don’t have limits. Fortunately, those changes could become chances for innovation. Education can move forward, and online learning is its stepping stone. The adjustment could lead to future advancements, including those that already exist. Virtual reality (VR) solutions for schools might not be widespread yet, but they can be achievable in the digital age. The execution might take a little more time, especially with the product not available in every school. However, it is an opportunity that is almost inevitable for experimentation in classrooms.
Online learning’s primary flaw is that it does not encourage students to interact with a learning environment. Fortunately, VR provides a simulation that allows students to experiment, interact, and learn from a conducive environment, even if it is imaginary. For now, this will have to do.
Parents Play a Critical Role in Education
Online learning happens inside homes, which might not provide a conducive environment as classrooms. Educational establishments have a singular purpose, which is to help students learn. The home, on the other hand, caters to multiple aspects of a person’s life. As a result, students might end up getting distracted during online classes.
Unfortunately, the home might not have space for education. Like how parents create home offices for work, they must provide a study area for their children. Teachers will struggle to get their attention, even if they perform their best efforts. Parents must ensure that their kids pay attention during online classes, ensuring that the investment is worth it.
Online learning ensures that students get the education necessary for growth and development. Despite being in a global crisis, education remains critical for younger generations. Online learning might still have plenty of work to do. However, the adjustment to it will only improve its effectiveness in the future.