It’s been over a year since schools and colleges shut down and home-based learning (HBL) became the new norm for students in India - and it’s gained a quite bad reputation amongst parents.
This is because, surprisingly, many parents still lack knowledge about the plethora of programmes, resources and LMS features that can easily solve their problems. This leads to many misconceptions that create negative attitudes toward HBL, when it is in fact bolstering the future of education. In this article, we explore some of these common misconceptions.
Misconception: Students will suffer from being glued to the computer all day
In today’s technology-driven world, screen time has become a hot topic. When learning is now done on screens, the extended online time is harmful.
Fact: Learning from home doesn’t have to be about sitting at a computer all day
A quality eLearning curriculum is able to mimic the all-rounded traditional school curriculum at home. This can be done with interactive HBL techniques, such as printed worksheets, experiments, and live demonstrations. Offline elements can be integrated into online learning - presentations that do not require digital tools, like a show-and-tell can be recorded as a video assignment and shared virtually with the rest of the class.
To prevent work from getting too heavy, breaks can be introduced during long lessons where students are encouraged to do physical activity, much like how a school schedule would entail physical exercise sessions and lunch breaks.
Misconception: Online learning is unproductive, thus parents need to balance work with teaching their kids
It may be challenging for students to focus at home. You might be skeptical of independent learning and worry about having to help and monitor your child constantly.
Fact: Online learning can foster more efficient learning
Students are not under constant surveillance in school, and they don’t need to be during HBL. On the contrary, there are typically less distractions at home, which is optimal for absorbing course material. Reinforcing independent learning also helps students develop valuable self-productivity and self-management skills.
Time management is paramount when getting used to eLearning at home, but only at the beginning. To help students develop an independent learning style, parents can tweak their schedule to take learning time into account, especially for particularly difficult subjects. Instead of hand-holding, parents can provide minimal guidance and allow students to solve problems themselves with the resources provided. Adapting to this learning style will turn students into more efficient learners in no time.
It’s also important to remember that lifestyle adjustments always take time. It won’t always be a perfect school day, and that’s okay.
Misconception: Students who don’t own laptops or computers at home will fall behind
The basis of eLearning is the use of electronic devices, but not everybody has ready access to laptops and computers. This can lead to students in vulnerable situations being left behind during stay-at-home orders and school closures.
Fact: There are diverse channels for students to access learning materials in India
Under the PM eVidya Programme to promote digital education in India, learning materials will be disseminated through radio stations, podcasts and TV channels, with additional learning measures put in place for visually and hearing impaired students.
It is also an advantage if schools utilise learning management system (LMS). Browser-based LMS platforms like D2L’s Brightspace allow students to learn from any device. Smartphones can be used as a more convenient and affordable alternative eLearning medium.
Misconception: Students have a better learning experience in the classroom
The supposed superiority of on-site learning to home-based learning lies in how technology is unable to replicate the feel of a real classroom and the human touch of educators.
Fact: The virtual space allows educators to use new technologies to enhance learning
With advanced digital tools, online learning can be even more fulfilling than on-site learning. Regardless of how teaching is done, educators often hold the same passion for what they do. LMS platforms allow educators to track individual student progress more closely than offline lessons, allowing them to come up with hyper-personalised lesson plans.
LMS platforms like Brightspace also leverage new technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to bring the classroom experience to the next level. These technologies give rise to new forms of course material such as 3D content that facilitates better understanding of visual subjects, such as science and math.
eLearning is becoming increasingly popular in India - 61% of parents in India chose online learning platforms for their kids during the lockdown - but these misconceptions cause the process to appear more daunting than it actually is. Parents and schools just need to be equipped with the right tips and tools so students can reap the rewards of independent learning and have a better learning experience.
He has worked for industry leaders like as Amity University, International Management Institute and Tata Consultancy Services. He has also worked for US-based companies The Network Incorporation, Laureate International Universities, and Singapore-based Universitas 21 Global. He has authored two books.
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