The huge buzz around online schooling –
The buzz around online schooling has been growing steadily,
ever since lockdowns were announced
– and schools were closed – all around the world.
Some wax lyrically about what has become a new trend; possibly too few analyse the advantages and disadvantages of online schooling versus ‘traditional’ schooling.
Online schooling has been with us for many years but it has never had as much ‘air time’ as it currently has. The internet and the media are abuzz with mostly positive information about online education.
Like everything else, there are two distinct sides to this ‘story’.
The pros of studying online
- Time and location flexibility: Online courses are convenient because you can determine your own schedule to a large extent. Studying online also means you can mostly do this from the comfort of your own home.
- Decide when and how: Most of the decision-making, apart from the obvious, like deadlines, is up to you.
- Access to study material: The study material for online courses is available throughout; you can review it whenever you want – you do not need to rely on notes that you have taken yourself.
- Affordability: Online learning tends to be cheaper.
- Less intimidating than being in a classroom: It is often easier to ask a question or take part in a discussion online, rather than in a classroom. (Also see * under pros)
- Shows your commitment: Teaching yourself to a last extent and being committed to completing your studies will convince some employers that you are very employable. Online schooling helps to develop a healthy work ethic.
The cons of studying online
- Self-discipline, self-discipline, self-discipline: A very large measure of self-discipline is needed, by learners and parents. Very few people, young or old, have the kind of self-discipline and self-motivation that is needed regarding deadlines, time management and organisation.
- Lack of/limited social interaction and peer-to-peer learning: * The importance of gleaning information and being exposed to different viewpoints and outlooks from your peers can not be emphasised enough. It broadens one’s mind, teaches you to be tolerant and exposes you to the views of others, whether academically or otherwise. In a classroom setup questions and opinions are bandied about in every lesson; this presents an opportunity for learning each and every time.
A lack of or limited social interaction can easily lead to a lack of communicational development skills. You need to communicate effectively not only with those close to you, but also with others that you don’t know well or at all or who come from a different background (race, culture, financial status, international exposure or whatever else) than you.
- Opportunity for enrichment: A ‘traditional’ school setup provides a variety of resources, human and otherwise. It also provides daily interaction and enriching experiences such as extra-curricular activities, clubs and outings.
- Some stigma is still out there: Online institutions have gained more credibility lately, but there is still a degree of stigma attached to many online qualifications, especially in the world of academics.
- Technology rules: If you do not have a computer, equipped with the relevant technology, or access to one, wifi and someone to help you to troubleshoot, you will not be in a position to study online.