Blended Learning is the Future of Online Learning
“Learning is a social experience. It is not only about learning content but learning to deal with others”, so do we all realise.
Online learning is the future of education. Online learning is definitely on the rise and there need not be questions raised on the same. More students (with less choices) are adapting to blended learning – combines distance learning with traditional classroom methodology, due to the flexibility and ease of use in maintaining a balance on work-personal commitments.
Striking benefits of Online Learning:
a) Online learning is known about accessibility and inclusivity:
- eLearning facilitates flexibility and removes the physical barriers that prevent many people from fulfilling academic or career ambitions
- eLearning allows students to work from pretty much anywhere, at their comfort
b) Online learning ensures that all students receive the same level of education:
- eLearning ensures that all children receive a first-class education, by treating all students equally regardless of merit and competence
- A virtual learning center, which includes online lessons taught via video conferencing
c) Online learning is bringing an educational revolution – in the form of facilitating ‘a blended learning approach’:
- Hybrid courses are now the new norm in educational institutions – schools, universities, and colleges. The trend is set to continue due to an ever more interconnected digital world and some major investment from big tech
- Also, blended learning in higher education is producing higher academic achievement than exclusively face-to-face and online courses (as per the experts in the industry)
d) eLearning is a less expensive alternative to traditional class-room based learning
In the Education sector, things are dynamically changing and students are witnessing a revolutionary change and schools of tomorrow won’t look anything like the ones students have been so far and that go to today.
Realities of Online Learning:
While eLearning creates plenty of opportunities, there are potential drawbacks too, to consider for:
- The huge amount of choice is a real benefit for learners. Also, it leads to a greater imbalance and disparity in the quality of teaching, online tools and resources, student support
- Accreditation for educational institutions is a sure way to check on its credibility and also essential for choosing long-term career options (Key employers only choose learners with accreditation online degree)
- The impact of learning without regular direction is always a threat to students (although online learning offers flexibility)
- A long break from formal traditional education, may also impose isolation on students, by spending long hours studying alone (Without the kind of personal attention that comes from more traditional forms of training, learners become demoralised and give up)
- eLearning platforms should encourage connect with fellow students so as to share ideas and offer moral support, which is always a great area of concern (that is still not being addressed)
- Social elements of the courses – such as participation of fellow students via chat-rooms, forums, and even regular meet-ups, team building exercises, creates a real sense of community among the students
The Human Impact of Traditional Learning is lost in Virtual Learning:
Building a real-life network with fellow students and tutors is an essential part of online learning, thus creating a real sense of community among the students, as it is also the guiding factor to differentiate between success and failure.
Reciprocation in the form of either a thank you or congratulations from a human via Skype, Google Meets when a student passes an assignment or an assessment, in the form of human recognition, is always an encouragement to students. This makes students self-worthy than computers recognizing our efforts and validating them, which is the missing part and hence a flaw in Virtual learning platforms.
The Future of Learning:
For a long time survival, with the on-going CORONAvirus pandemic, blended learning will play a dominant role. Online learning is not just here to stay, it is set to become an integral part of the future – as students have the flexibility and institutions are encouraging more students to enroll as it is cost effective and keep up with consumer demand and changing technologies.
Schools, educational institutions in particular, have no choice than to integrate Online Teaching (facilitating online learning to its students) as a methodology. To further enhance, some institutions are integrating next-generation technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence and virtual reality to experience VR-based lessons, virtual experiments and VR products.
For example, a project can include a VR game where a forensic science student can investigate a virtual crime scene and analyze the evidence they find.Such technological advancements undoubtedly will lead to wilder forms of speculation, but it’s important to note that schools and big tech firms are focusing on integration rather than wholesale replacement.
In the real world, ‘real-life’ teachers will still play a pivotal role in educating the next generation of students. In fact, they are absolutely crucial and essential.
Teachers play a really influential role with VR just being an engaging tool, which will cut short the course duration of 30-40 mins to 3-4 mins.
While there will always be a place for traditional, classroom-based teaching, even classrooms are becoming increasingly more integrated with online learning. Also, while it’s almost impossible to predict what directions technology will take the next level of teaching to, online learning is now set to become a major part of learning institutions all around the world.
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