At the mention of online learning there is usually at least one person (and often a fair few more) that lets out a long sigh of resignation. Let’s face it: who wouldn’t after the screen-filled year or so we’ve just had?
And so I want to do my best to put a positive spin on it. It might not help you feel any better, but it may make things feel that bit clearer.
We can get through this. Here are my 100* advantages to online learning.
Education and is more accessible to everyone of all ages, abilities and backgrounds when it is online. (Admittedly, that does assume you have access to the internet). There is more opportunity for all of us to learn something new. Perhaps something we wouldn’t have taken the time to learn without the pandemic. It might not seem like much, but you never know when that new fact or skill might come in useful. Even if it’s just for a general knowledge quiz at the pub.
When there are fewer people around us, it can be easier to focus on learning. So, going with this idea, online learning could improve retention, and then overall academic achievement. A lot of classes are being taken on Zoom or Microsoft Teams, meaning that there are fewer day-to-day disruptions like the opening of doors. (Although that could instead be replaced with the relentless temptation of phones). Fewer resources to hand could improve focus, as we really have to make the most of the teacher’s knowledge and teaching skills.
Who doesn’t like to save a bit of coin? If you think about it carefully, there are so many hidden costs that go into a school day, such as travelling and school lunches. Not to mention the time we spend during the set school day mulling around. (From my experience you can’t refresh yourself properly in between lessons anyway). But with online courses or classes, we only have to pay for the course itself, not the added costs too.
Learning is more flexible
We all learn in different ways. But from my experience, schools have neither the time nor the resources to cater for a person’s exact needs. Online learning prompts more independent learning. There is also less structure in the day, meaning that we can do the majority of our studying whenever we like, as long as it complies with standards and deadlines. We can also work at our own speed, something you can’t always do in the classroom, as you’re expected to keep up with the teaching pace.
As I said above, these might not immediately make you feel any better about online learning situations, but they are definitely points to keep in mind when you next feel unmotivated. There may be aspects of online learning that remain embedded in society even as we go back to normal (whatever THAT is!), so it’s worth holding on to any glimpse of positivity we can.
* “There are 10 types of people in the world – those who understand the binary system, and those who don’t”
WORDS Daniel Paice