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Saurabh Jain, Managing Director, Vidya Prakashan Mandir (P) Ltd: Efficacy of online learning explored

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Saurabh Jain

Today, like never before, educators the world over are faced with an increasing pressure of transforming themselves into e-teachers, and that too with success. While the world fights an unprecedented pandemic with a forced lockdown, digital education seems the only answer to compensate for the loss of school time. If you are an uninitiated teacher, read on to know more about the nuances of this change.

E-Learning refers to the learning that takes place via electronic gadgets such as smart phones or computers. Learning material may be available offline, such as in the form of educational CDs or online such as educational websites or YouTube videos. E-Learning is a powerful tool and its advantages are many. Learners are able to learn in the comfort of their home. They can choose their own time and space. Most importantly, they can learn at their own pace. Different types of learners get access to different media to achieve the same learning outcome. A visual learner can choose videos and animation to learn. An auditory learner can plug earphones and listen to audios. A kinesthetic learner would look at associated activities and worksheets. This means that the E-Learning platform can override our limitations of time constraints and skills as an educator.

Not only for the learners, the advantages for teachers are also many. Once you go through the task of creating your repository of resources, it remains with you forever. Every year, the same digital material can be used. You may only need to revise after feedback from the previous sessions. In this way, instead of focusing upon transactional methodologies (which you would have already done while creating your repository) you can personally lead and interact with each student on his or her journey. This, I believe, is the highest achievement for a teacher especially in a vastly populated country like ours. Online assessments and evaluation tools remove the burden from a teacher’s shoulder to a great extent. Tools like test generators and MCQMaker not only allow teachers to quickly formulate assignments, they also enable instant checking of answers.

Akin to every Teaching/Learning paradigm, E-Learning poses its own set of challenges which educators must address. The first challenge for teachers is to become well-versed with the technology that is needed to impart online education. Teachers must remember that we have seamlessly adopted newer technologies such as using our smart phones, working with emails, downloading YouTube videos in our daily lives. In the same way, with a little initiation mastering E-Learning tools is neither impossible nor difficult.

Teachers must understand that during the process of E-Learning, the pace and the completion of a learning module becomes learner-centric. Self discipline and self-motivation of the learner becomes the most important ingredient in the achievement of our objectives. You can deliberate a non-performer to sit through your class in school and listen to what you say or do, but this would need a different approach online. Another common problem that educators will face is to accept the authenticity of online submissions for assessment and evaluation. Newer methods and online tools are enabling us to combat this situation.

Teachers thrown with the challenge of this dilemma can find higher meaning with the knowledge that E-Learning is here to stay and that they are moulding students who will definitely need to graduate or get certified from online learning in the future.. In the next article, I will be initiating you into the nuances of online tools that you can easily master and get started. This is indeed a new world order in School Education. The baton is in your hands, dear teachers.

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