It had been several months since the lockdown, and today was the first day the government had allowed access to using the Metro rail. In my previous years, I had never been fond of the idea of using the crowded Metro trains for office commute, primarily because I commuted during rush hours. but today I felt nostalgic. I decided to travel once again to the other end of town to meet my colleague instead of driving the distance. I just wanted to get out of my home and feel the city, albeit aerially 🙂 Luckily, the Metro station had very few visitors and so, I set out with proper precautions. The whole city looked so beautiful, how much had I missed this feeling.
Rewind a few minutes, while waiting for the metro, I came across two girls having an interesting conversation. They looked like they were in their early twenties. From their conversation, I figured out their names to be Aarthi and Anandhi. Their conversation seemed to be a hot topic today. They spoke on their views on Online Learning vs Offline Learning. I found it interesting and thought that I could share it with you.
“I wonder when these online classes will stop. And I badly want to return to college,” Aarthi began.
“Why?! What’s wrong with online classes? I love this and find this a lot better,” Anandhi retorted.
“You can’t be serious; there are many benefits of traditional learning which online learning can never satisfy, like the face-to-face interactions with the teacher. We have a more competitive atmosphere in the classroom. Teachers could easily judge the performance of each student and help them accordingly. We were able to pay better attention to classes without any distraction, and we had a disciplined routine when it comes to offline learning,” Aarthi said.
“Well, online classes have become the ‘new normal.’ We have flexible hours in the online method of learning. We could use many online resources to learn a lot more now for new information. We could use many online platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and YouTube to better understand the concepts. On the whole, it’s cheap and convenient. Classes could be recorded and checked later too. It’s time-saving and we need not travel far to attend our classes. Therefore, transport and accommodation aren’t necessary for online learning. Students are more comfortable at home. You needed to follow fixed locations and fixed schedules in offline learning. Now, we can refer to several e-books when it comes to online learning, but if it’s otherwise, the number of resources could be a huge minus,” Anandhi said.
“There could be benefits, Anandhi, but what about the cons? A minor issue with the internet connection could disrupt your whole class. There would be no interpersonal skills development among the students. We miss many activities, especially sports activities and other extra-curricular activities. Teachers find it difficult to cover many topics in limited face time online. Limited practical learning is a huge minus in online learning,” Aarthi said.
Their debate continued for a long time, and before they landed at a verdict on which option is better, their destination arrived and they alighted. I was much curious about what they would have settled for.
Therefore, I leave it to you to decide which one would be a better option, Online Learning vs Offline Learning. If you ask my opinion, I believe a combination of both i.e., a blended form of learning is a realistic solution in the long term. As educators and students settle and accept virtual teaching-learning equally over years, a new world immersed in technology will make online interactions an obvious choice to have. What will matter is how the online mode blends with the offline learning modes we have been practicing for generations together. But for now, until we completely get over the Covid pandemic, I believe online learning is safe and better for all the students.
If you find this conversation thought-provoking, consider reading the blog on Role Of School In The Overall Development Of The Child.