How The Pandemic Has Shaped Virtual Learning
How the Pandemic has Shaped Virtual Learning
COVID-19 has ushered in a new era of education. Unaffectionate dubbed “virtual learning,” “e-learning,” or “online learning,” the widespread adoption of non-traditional instruction due to the pandemic has opened up a host of questions for educators and parents alike. Is virtual learning more or less effective than in-person instruction? Is there an approach to virtual learning that is more effective than other approaches (or even more effective than in-person instruction)? What is the future of virtual learning? Although introducing a host of unique challenges into the field of education, virtual learning is not without its benefits. In fact, one could argue that neither type of learning is “better” than the other; they simply both have their own unique pros and cons, and are each specifically suited for different types of learners. There are things parents and educators can do to make virtual learning more effective, and the future of online instruction may be different than what you’d initially think. Read on to learn the answers to some of your most pressing virtual learning questions.
Benefits of Virtual Learning
There have been a variety of benefits observed by teachers and students alike while participating in online instruction. For starters, virtual learning provides more accessibility: all students will need in order to participate is an internet connection and a laptop. Teachers can reach out to their students faster and easier through multiple means, depending on what is best for the student, and also receive quicker responses throughout the day. When teachers use their creativity, lessons are often more interactive and more engaging, as they tap into students’ love of digital games and activities
Not to mention the practical factors such as less paper waste, less time spent printing and copying physical copies of handouts, and a much smoother ease of collecting data and lesson recordings, which are things that teachers can use to reflect back on their practices and, consequently, become better teachers. Students often can work at their own pace, and on their own time, so they can develop the schedule that is best suited for their preferences and lifestyle. Finally, one of the most overlooked benefits: there’s something to be said about the impact of a comfier environment on one’s mental health. Students can have their pets with them, spend more time with their families, and tend to their physical needs as necessary - without having to raise their hand and ask for permission or wait for a designated “lunch time.” Instead, they go to the bathroom when they need to, and if they’re hungry, they can just get a snack.
Virtual Learning vs. In-Person Learning: Pros and Cons
Virtual Learning Pros:
some virtual learning pros include the ease of access to the learning platform,the use of Less paper, that is less paper wastes, the schedule is Flexible, that is student-centered schedules. students learn how to make thier own schedules and stick to them. The Comfier environment allowing more focus, More fluid study data collection making the study process easier to collect, share, and distribute data and files. Students are often more engaged and participative, and can use anonymous data collection process. No need for classroom management equipment and settings
Virtual Learning Cons:
Students may experience difficulties with self-regulation, Virtual learning is restrictive to those in rural areas due to lack of proper equipment such as fast internet connection and access, it is difficult for low-income households to afford proper e-learning , and those with poor internet connection, Confines students with bad home lives to their environment with no escape, Invasive to privacy as all students and teachers can see how the student lives, hands-on activities are not correctly conducted, teachers have limited supervision access over students
In Person learning Pros and Cons
The in-person pros include hands-on activity perfomance, kinesthetic activities, Face-to-face socialization,as well as interactive group work, it also provides escape, better intervention for students in abusive and/or dangerous home situations, more support for special needs students which also allows a better teacher supervision. In this same line, in-Person Learning Cons include no flexible schedules for students who must live by the school schedule and rules, lower student participation due to timidity and more likely for students to be acting out, this also includes the danger as more kids are all together in one place, they are therefore exposed and more vulnerable for the spread of COVID-19, school shooters, disasters, the wasted time transitioning to and from school can also be pointed out .
Effective Approaches to Virtual Learning
However, despite the benefits (and drawbacks) to virtual learning, there are ways that both parents and educators can make online instruction more effective, so that we can maximize the benefits and minimize the cons. To begin with, the parent’s role is to make sure their child is up and on the computer during their scheduled virtual learning time. Teachers can’t teach a kid who never shows up. Meanwhile, teachers have two possible approaches to virtual instruction: asynchronous and synchronous learning. Asynchronous learning is completed on the student’s own time. The weeks are typically divided into modules, which are folders of all the videos, readings, and activities that need to be completed within that week. As long as all the work is turned in by the deadline, students can complete it on their own time. This may be perfect for college students, who are often working while going to school and also have the self-regulation capacity of a mature adult. For K-12 classrooms, however, asynchronous learning is just simply not as effective as synchronous learning.
There is proven data that shows that synchronous learning - where students gather together virtually in real-time, usually on a video call - is more effective. Students don’t have to “teach themselves” the material, and they get peer interaction and access to discussion (which, as every teacher knows, is where all the real learning happens). Another component to a successful online classroom is access to lots of activities where kids can participate - and the more physical, the better. Breakout rooms, online interactive games, Padlet, Kahoot, scavenger hunts, etc, all involve the student way more than simply lecturing at them all day, or even showing them videos. Finally, having more frequent, but shorter, video meetings is key to helping students retain information. Staring at a screen all day is exhausting, and kids simply can’t handle it. They may be able to function in a 45- or 90-minute classroom in person, but it just doesn’t work on the computer. Restrict their classes to 20–30-minute lessons, keeping in mind that the younger the student, the less time they should spend online.
In summary, online learning, although having drawbacks, features quite a few benefits compared to in-person learning. However, online instruction is only as beneficial as what the teacher makes it to be. With a creative and skilled teacher and involved parents, virtual instruction can be just as successful as in-person learning.
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