Prof. Deepak Kr Prasad
Uttranchal PG College, Haridwar
The year 2021 so far has been eventful. As we pass through it, we have witnessed the proportions of human tragedy that the global pandemic has unleashed. Covid-19 or the Novel Corona Virus unfolded during the early months of 2020 and by now it has engulfed more than 185 nations worldwide. As it continues to leave a deep impact on almost every aspect of our life, Education being an integral part of human civilization has had its share of stress and crisis, caused by the pandemic.
The world today as we know it has undergone rapid changes and has been trying to adopt new measures to cope up with the evolving global situation. As we have realised the bitter truth that there is no respite from the crisis anytime soon, we have been effectively using the technology to our rescue. The global education system has woken up to the new realisation that contactless education, distance learning methodology, or what we know today as Online/e-learning, is the best way forward.
Importance of Online Education
Our world is a platform witnessing change every second and there is an unending need to gain higher education, obtain awareness, and expand credentials, learn new skills that are apt with the modern-day technologically driven lifestyle. We have witnessed that the focus on communication and support is paramount at this time, as traditional schools, colleges, universities, and educational institutes are now quickly getting adapted to remote and online teaching strategies. The course modules are being redesigned to suit the new methods of e-learning.
With the sudden increase in the demand for E-learning and to make the new system at par with the conventional methods of classroom learning, and most importantly, to remain competitive, the schools, colleges and universities have been designing courses and curriculum that are highly flexible, and can be easily accessed anytime and anywhere. The online learning methodology has broadened the horizons for young learners, new graduates and average professionals. The new-age learners are armed with the technology that would add worth to their existing skills, carry on with uninterrupted education & learning, without any limitations of time and space.
An academic calendar is measured by the annual / by annual / quarterly semesters where the syllabus needs to be completed on time and prepare the students for the assessments. The students cannot afford to lose out on the classes for a longer period.
The current environment of E-learning
At this moment, the majority of the institutions in India and all around the world are facing a challenge of not just finishing the course online for which they were not very well prepared, but of having to start the next academic year on time & under similar testing conditions. Nowadays, a vast majority of students have been receiving online classes with mixed levels of success and satisfaction. The schools had no other option than to gear up with a knee-jerk reaction, to act and combat the new reality, overcome the hurdles and inexperience, and adopt the new culture. Slowly but steadily the education institutions are in the process of developing a serious strategy to ensure a quality learning experience through remote classroom systems and e-learning.
The lockdown and mandatory social distancing system will create a completely new system of how the future classrooms shall function. It is a reality that the normal academic activity we know, will take a long time to revive, and the new methodology of remote teaching/e-learning shall become the new normal of the modern-day education system. It is anticipated that a mechanism needs to be designed where a student will have an option of a full alternative to the physical classroom and contemporary teaching methodology with a 100% flexible process of learning.
The way forward
The skepticism about online learning is a thing of the past, as today majority of the authorities and policymakers of academics and the education system have realised the power of online learning and its far reach to the masses.
Recent stats have shown that more than 69.8% of the students consider that studying online is the most effective approach ahead, both during the Covid-19 crisis and post COVID world.
As a result, it’s anticipated that in near future, an increasing number of institutions shall offer flexible online learning solutions in addition to their traditional syllabus, and smaller schools and universities shall offer almost entirely online-based courses.
The online education system is the most advantageous as its more flexible, it offers a wide selection of programs, it’s easily accessible, it allows a customised learning experience, it is more cost-effective than traditional methods of teaching.
With more than 3.2 million active web users searching for opting for higher online education and 68% of those searching educated for degree courses, the mandate for specialised education is evident.