The pandemic has shifted dynamics in several spheres, including education, because of the implemented measures to help curb the spread of the virus. These measures include social distancing and lockdown regulations, which mean university gatherings, classroom settings, and campus living arrangements can’t be facilitated. The result has been online education in 2021, which has its pros and cons, as discussed below.
1. Safe Learning Method
Online learning means students and teachers don’t physically interact with each other. Placing students together in a classroom with teachers risks spreading the virus because of direct contact and dynamics, such as transport and mobility to get to the classrooms and campuses. Mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing can be implemented in the classroom setting, however, still, the risk of spreading and contracting the virus is high. One can explore online learning options on platforms such as Best Value Schools where quality education is guaranteed in the safety of one’s home.
The pandemic has led to unfortunate financial situations as a result of people losing jobs. This means that paying for an education may be more difficult compared to pre-COVID days. Online education, however, is more cost-effective because of the eliminated cost factors that come with physically attending school, which include:
- Learning attire and clothes
- Furniture storage during holidays and breaks
- Social expenses
Learning from home helps cut down on such expenses, while still being able to acquire quality education particularly during a time where distancing oneself from others is crucial.
3. Constant Access
Online education means learners have constant access to educational materials and services despite pandemic restrictions. Curfews, travel bans, and lack of transportation systems, for example, don’t interfere with education in this case. One simply has to have a reliable Internet connection to have access to education.
Self-paced learning accommodates learners who may have to work to be able to pay for tuition, for example. This also accommodates learners who are affected by the pandemic in other ways and, thus, need assistance. Online learning is convenient and caters to the varying dynamics that learners are experiencing as a result of the pandemic. One doesn’t need to choose between acquiring an education and earning a living in such a case.
Online learning, however, also comes with a few cons, which will be discussed below.
5. Social Isolation
Online learning can bring a dynamic of being socially isolated. Physically attending school means being able to interact with colleagues and teachers at an interpersonal level, which digital learning can’t provide. Learners can form friendships and rapport by playing sports and taking part in activities, such as choir and cultural activities. Such activities, however, encourage gatherings, which are a risk at the moment.
Various online educational platforms have attempted to make the process as socially productive and as digitally as possible. Some have chat rooms where non-academic discussions are enjoyed, as well as wellness center platforms. Learners need to make the most of such provided services to avoid feeling entirely socially isolated.
6. Restricted Education
For some, Internet access isn’t as easily accessible as it is for others. This means that there’s a divide between learners who will progress during the pandemic and learners that will lag. Learners who live in remote places, for example, might not have Internet connectivity. It may mean having to travel to the nearest place with an Internet connection, which is a risk during the pandemic. This is one of the reasons why online education may be a disadvantage to some.
7. Learner Distraction
Online education is convenient and accessible, just as the distractions are. It takes quite some motivation and dedication for learners to focus solely on school works when working on the computer or any gadget. Social media and entertainment are just a click away, and may be a distraction for example. Also, the fact that learners may be working from the comfort of their homes means they may get too comfortable and get distracted so easily. As such, learners have to develop discipline during the learning sessions to make the most out of online education.
The pros of online education include safety during the pandemic, cost-effectiveness, constant access to educational materials, and self-paced learning. However, social isolation, restricted education, and distractions are some of the cons that learners have to surpass. During this time of uncertainty and change, one can only make the most of what is available, and online education is one way of tackling the new dynamics.