Introduction to Online Education
Online education is an approach of delivering education using online, digital or internet enabled platforms through a virtually enabled interface.
Such an education can be live, or self-paced in delivery and consumption. Students use the digital platform to attend classes, access learning content, and interact with educators and their peers alike.
Such a type of education delivery eliminates any physical interaction for the student and is totally based on the ideology that the entire education process is held online.
While the idea for such an approach was being floated for decades, the onset of the efficient and cheap digital channels provided a fillip to online education. While start-ups such as Byju’s were providing tutorial classes over online medium already, the widespread efficiency of digital technologies have enabled the transition of the entire teaching process online overnight.
A lot many educational institutions, and students were caught off-guard in enabling this change – lack of curriculum structured for the online medium, and personal digital readiness were key detriments to enabling this process. While schools took time to absorb this change, students still found them scrambling to understand how to operate in the online world.
Online in the new age – the imperative
As students scrambled to adjust themselves to operate in the online world, a key observation behind such a difficulty was that the physical schooling process lacked in preparing the students for skills required in their future lives.
Clearly, the online schooling process required students to:
- Manage time
- Become better communicators
- Take ownership
- Stay motivated
- Plan ahead
- Be comfortable with the digital world
Qualities which every professional deals with day in day out.
Hence, online schooling is not an obligation, but a need today. The school of the future will enable the leaders of the future. All aspects that physical schooling lacked are now being covered by online schools.
The classroom of the future will act at the cusp of digital and physical, combining technologies such as live classes, virtual reality, with self-owned physical aspects.
Hence, not only will students become more future ready, but they will also be exposed to aspects that the physical schools lacked.
Apart from making education future ready, the other benefits of online schooling include:
- Access desired education: the pre-online schooling structure limited varied curriculums to only specific institutions, hence specific students. Moreover, the entry to such institutions was sometimes costly, or came at the expense of reduced education features as possible by the imparting institution. With online schooling, virtual education platforms have partnered with global renowned educational institutions which provide different curriculum such as American, British, or other international curriculums, at equitable costs.
- Enabling productivity: Students save time on travel, and use technologies which make delivery faster – hence more time is spent on desirable activities
Hence, online schooling is now an imperative, and not just an obligation, given its centricity to future modes of working
The new mode of schooling – how schooling has changed, and its advantages
The physical school model has been running without any substantial changes since decades. Additionally, the mass method of delivery did not factor in individualised learning requirements or needs of diverse students.
With the onset of online learning platforms, not only has the physical schooling structure undergone a change, but individualised learners have also benefited given their ability to customize learning.
Given below are some features around how schooling has changed:
Students became tech-savvy and future-ready
Students got exposed to varied tech platforms, LMS systems, coding platforms, and learning centric portals which were provided as part of the course content. Additionally, students have become accustomed to power-points, and other platforms which are used amply across the professional world.
One of the key drawbacks of education had been its lack of tech centric modules – online schooling made it the centrepiece of one’s education.
Individualised learning options
Diverse students with differentiated needs, or those with different learning speeds were at a loss in a mass delivery mode of education of the physical world. The virtual learning platforms provide students with the ability to structure their own curriculum and learn at their own pace. Specialised dedicated classes can be opted for to further their understanding in a subject
As stated above, the access to varied curriculum and subjects was costly, and limited to few institutions and hence few students in the physical learning environment. Online schooling platforms enable this at a fraction of a cost, anytime, anywhere. The ability to rapidly scale in a digitally enabled environment makes the student a key economic beneficiary in the process
Students get time for their own interests & hobbies
Physical schools have long been branded as one too inefficient and time consuming. Moreover, the physical schooling process did not enable dedicated time for the student to explore interests & hobbies given the rigorous timeline-based nature of the schooling process. With online schooling and self-paced options, students can explore their own hobbies & interests and focus on making education an even richer process for the self
Helps parents who are constantly on the move
Parents with mobile jobs have found it extremely difficult to have their children repeatedly adjust to different learning environments with changing physical locations. Moreover, this has also caused breaks in continuity of learning, and has left the child confused. However, given the anytime, anywhere access of the online schooling process, students can continue where they left off, and ensure they carry out the learning process with minimal disruption even while they are on the move with family
As stated before, the online mode of learning is now being seen as a new way of learning to meet long-term goals.
Even the United Nations Sustainable Development target for 2030 aims at enhancing skills and improving lives of people. With the non-physical nature of online education, anyone in any part of the world can equitably access education and become ably skilled. Within this framework, online only schools have re-invigorated the long-awaited intervention of concepts such as skills-based learning, concept-based learning, inquiry-based learning and so on and so forth.