How has Online Learning Become More Effective and Convenient than Traditional Classroom?

How has Online Learning Become More Effective and Convenient than Traditional Classroom

The following article is written by Sameeullah Kakar, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.

Education undoubtedly plays a constructive and curative role in strengthening the bases upon which a country’s law, moral, and political values standstill. Moreover, quality education develops innovative skills in the nation and enables them to take risks and become the world’s leaders. It not only forces the learners to comply with the standardized templates but also dissuades failure and departure from the standardized average. However, quality education is more conveniently and effectively guaranteed through online education, as evident in the United States of America (USA), a nation with one of the leading education systems due to the conversion of traditional classroom instructions into an online learning system. Moreover, in terms of convenience, online education provides equal rights and access to education to both genders, along with a decrease in geographical restrictions and the application of updated curricula both nationally and internationally. Apart from that, online education is much more effective in providing flexibility of time and pace and assuring cost-effective study programs for students. It also advocates research-based studies and participative methods of teaching. Therefore, the more a nation moves toward online education, the better the future of the nation; however, the situation in underdeveloped countries like Pakistan is not pleasurable. According to popular research, Pakistan ranks at the lowest among 50 countries in online education worldwide for several reasons, especially corruption and an unstable economy. Thus, to have a prosperous future, every nation has to shift its traditional classroom instructions to an online education system.

The delivery of education has become possible in a number of ways. However, the two major patterns include online education and old-fashioned traditional classroom instructions, and both of them differ remarkably from one another. The first difference, between the two, include the location from where classes can be conducted; moreover, it is very much necessary to reach to a particular space and at a particular time to take or deliver classes in the traditional way of education compared to online education with flexibility of both time and space. Similarly, in physical or traditional classrooms, both the students and the teachers interact physically, but in online education, physical interaction among them is impossible. Above all, physical education is very much costly due to the arrangement of multiple classrooms and Audio-Visual Aids (AV Aids), but online education uses modern technology, like Zoom with the capability to handle and arrange hundreds and thousands of students in a single interaction. Thus, online education differs very much from traditional classrooms due to the following characteristics: absence of physical interaction, the provision of flexibility of time and space, and less cost of expenditure.

Similarly, there are several characteristics of an effective and convenient learning system, and its first characteristic includes its accessibility at door step to both the students and the teachers. Secondly, the effective learning system should also contain upgraded and student relevant content of study, i.e., the presence of relevant study material according to the atmosphere and daily interaction. Moreover, the third characteristic of an effective and convenient learning system is its flexibility permitting every student to study in relation to his own pace and requirements of life. Lastly, an effective and convenient learning system always provides communication and collaboration between the students and the teachers. Thus, any system of learning with the above four characteristics will be categorized as effective and convenient in the modern world.

The online learning system is undoubtedly more convenient in the modern world. Moreover, there are certain facts making it convenient, and the first fact is its possibility to apply an up-to-date, relevant, and single national curriculum throughout the state. It not only enables the country to update curriculum from a single office but also integrates different schools and other related offices with one another. The most prominent example is the constant update of the United Kingdom’s Single National Curriculum, which is, to some reports, updated every year with the addition of necessary content and the removal of useless content. Thus, online learning enables a state to update its curriculum easily.

Similarly, online learning is more convenient because it provides equal rights and access to education to both genders, i.e., males and females, compared to traditional classroom instructions with geographic and time management problems. Moreover, in certain areas of different states, like Pakistan, girls’ schools are merely present in many villages due to which students have to cover a vast distance to reach their destination. However, online education engulfs both the geographic hurdles and unsuitable timings through the provision of video lectures able to be watched anywhere at any time, and the best example in this regard includes the presence of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in sub-Saharan Africa. It constantly works for the conversion of old-fashioned physical classrooms to online education causing a rapid rise in the enrolment of female students.  

Furthermore, online learning provides uniformity of education both nationally and internationally because of global connectivity and uniform accessibility which makes it more convenient. However, there are many countries worldwide where different categories of education, like O-levels and A-levels, exist on the basis of boards, curricula, and books they follow. But in an online learning system, every student gets the opportunity to connect globally with access to universal learning material. They do get multiple assessment tools and websites that constantly examine their studies, and for this purpose, the Open Education Consortium is working its best to promote access, affordability, and quality in education through open and online courses worldwide. Consequently, online learning promotes uniformity of education worldwide.

Moreover, online learning has decreased the cost value of educating the nation in contrast to the provision of education in typical classrooms. In the Physical education system, there is a need of constructing new classrooms and maintaining AV Aids. But the situation is somewhat different in online learning because there is no need of maintaining or upgrading the classrooms and AV Aids; rather, the technological costs, such as video making, the use of a whiteboard, no physical formation of books, and other AV Aids are very less. The Indian government has taken a major step in this regard through the initiation of the National Program on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) providing free online courses and resources for students and teachers. Thus, online learning can educate the nation with minimum funds.     

Last but least, online learning has decreased geographical restrictions- a cause of illiteracy in multiple countries. Moreover, there are a number of districts in Pakistan, especially Balochistan, where there is a dearth of universities. According to a report by Alif Ailan, there are no universities in seventy-five per cent of districts of Balochistan, but the gap created by the shortage in education has been fulfilled to some extent by the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), Islamabad. It ranks first in Asia providing distance learning through online setups covering multiple degree programs, like Master, M. Phil, and Ph.D. Thus, an online learning system surely decreases geographical restrictions and is much more convenient compared to old-fashioned instructional classrooms.

In the same fashion, Online learning is much more effective compared to traditional old-fashioned classroom instructions due to a number of characteristics. Moreover, the first characteristic making it effective is the provision of flexibility of time and space to the learners and teachers. Everybody, especially workers and family responsible persons, in the contemporary world has engaged in multiple tasks permitting no one to take classes on fix time and place. Similarly, the workshops and assignments of AIOU can be taken and submitted at any time due to which nearly all its students complete their tasks during their free time without disturbing their working schedules. Thus, online education provides flexibility of time and space to its students and proves more effective.

Similarly, online learning offers cost-effective study programs compared to physical and old traditional classrooms.  It not only eliminates overhead costs in maintaining classrooms but also decreases utility expenditures, for in online learning, a very large number of students, unable to be managed in several classes, is managed and taught by a single teacher in a single class through different platforms, like Zoom. Moreover, there are other platforms such as education-x providing different courses from multiple international universities, i.e., Oxford and Harvard University, with the help of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) at lower prices. Thus, online learning provides cost-effective study programs. 

Moreover, online learning helps learners to determine their own pace of study. However, in traditional classrooms, it is usually observed that the pace of studies is determined by either the teachers or the few boys with excellent capabilities becoming a cause of failure for the majority of students with average study pace. It once again results in the loss of a lot of students, but in online learning, students are provided with the possibility to learn according to their own speed with the help of pause and play options of video lectures. Even students can now play videos at higher or lower speeds than normal speeds. Thus, students learn at their own pace in online learning. 

Apart from that, online learning promotes research-based studies with the grant of access to a wealth of information. Students study a number of articles and research papers on a single topic to properly understand it compared to traditional learning with only a few books to cover the whole syllabus of a subject. Moreover, Wikipedia and Google scholar have played an outstanding role in providing extra knowledge to the readers. In Wikipedia, there are a number of different pages for a single topic with credible resources updating its content regularly, and Google Scholar provides hundreds of research papers for a single topic. Thus, if a student wants to have proper research on a topic, online learning is outstandingly helpful for him.

Similarly, online learning guarantees the proper achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs) including gender equality and the reduction of other inequalities worldwide. Moreover, it not only provides quality education to both males and females equally but also equips them with modern tools and techniques that can be used to earn their livelihoods. Many women have learnt the art of writing their thoughts grammatically correct from online courses like the British Council, and they currently write articles, blogs, and research papers for different websites and university students while charging a huge amount of money. Thus, online education guarantees the proper achievement of SDGs.

Furthermore, online learning has nearly terminated the dilemma of chronic absenteeism of teachers. However, in the traditional learning system, there are a number of districts and sub-districts in Balochistan where there are a number of ghost schools with no learning and teaching activities. Apart from that, in cities, there are very few teachers with much higher teacher-to-student ratio due to which maintaining quality in classes remains a dream. But, in online learning, the absence of teachers from the classroom is not possible at all; secondly, a single teacher can handle thousands of students from his home with the use of technology. In this way, both the problems of teacher chronic absenteeism and the reduction of teachers are handled effectively.

Additionally, online education undoubtedly promotes participative methods of teaching and learning. It not only provides them with interactive tools, like WhatsApp, Facebook, and email, to interact with one another but also increases the feedback of the students regarding their teachers. Moreover, there are some tools, like the Zoom app, that enable the students to conduct live discussions and permit them to build consensus and learn more positively. In the same way, it does promote discussions among students from different regions worldwide and shares several ideas. Thus, online education promotes participation more easily compared to traditional education instructions.

Last but not least, the online education system advocates cost-effective teacher training programs. Moreover, a large number of teachers are trained in developed states through online training sessions with much lesser expenditure and fewer trainers. However, in traditional physical training, expenditure remains very high due to infrastructural costs and transportation charges of both the teachers and the trainers. For example, training conducted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Balochistan has nearly cost ten million dollars, for each trainer and teacher was paid 1000 rupees a day. However, if teachers were trained online by the trainers, there would be no transportation charges, and the money could be used for other developments.

The United States of America has done its best to convert its traditional classroom instructions into an online learning system, which has proved very productive in multiple aspects. Moreover, its major characteristic includes flexibility as both the students and the teachers are allowed to perform their tasks from anywhere. Similarly, a number of online training, degree programs, and other technical courses are offered here at both public and private sector institutions. Furthermore, each institution provides laptops, tablets, and other technological aids to the students to enhance their learning. Above all, nearly all its programs are accredited by the reputable organization, so the quality of education remains high in the concerned programs. Consequently, a major chunk of the American economy is left behind to be used for research-based studies, like the conduction of experiments, and it is the reason there has occurred a constant rise in the number of nobel prize winners. Thus, the more a nation moves toward online education, the better it is.  

In contrast to the above-mentioned online education, Pakistan’s education system paints a gloomy picture. People work hard to educate their children, but due to multiple hurdles, like geographical restrictions, and the absence of schools, colleges, and universities, children remain unable to complete their studies. Moreover, if there are some universities, like AIOU and VU providing distance and online learning, there are still other problems, such as the absence of internet signal in most of the areas, that counter their studies. Students take admitted to online learning programs, but they can’t attend their classes on time due to internet issues. However, if the Internet is provided to every corner of the state, with the provision of particular devices to the students, they would be able to take admission and complete their studies.

After analyzing critically, it is clear that online education has become the trend of the day. Moreover, serious students favour online learning due to its uncountable benefits; however, it cannot be implemented in both developed and underdeveloped countries equally. In Pakistan, an underdeveloped state with no basic amenities, it is impossible to conduct online classes in every region, no region, other than the main cities constituting only up to ten per cent of the total area of Pakistan, has the proper facility of internet. Thus, despite its many benefits, it is not currently feasible for underdeveloped states.

In a few words, online learning has overthrown traditional classroom instructions. Moreover, it has not only become convenient for both the students and the teachers but has also proved much more effective compared to old classrooms. In online learning, it becomes more convenient to apply an updated curriculum and provide equal opportunities to both male and female students. Similarly, it does effectively train teachers and promote participative methods of learning, which is clearly evident from the education system of the United States of America.

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