June 21 (India Today) – The Covid-19 pandemic and the prolonged lockdown induced by it has made working as well as studying from home the new normal. Though the concept of online learning existed even during the pre-pandemic era, the phenomenon has certainly reached an altogether different level and intensity in these trying times.
While e-learning emerged as the biggest saviour in the wake of the closure of educational institutions, it has come with its own set of challenges.
All stakeholders, including students, teachers and institutions are forced to overcome challenges that have come with this sudden and often hastily executed online learning programmes.
In a lot of cases, the key driver for the adoption of a technology platform was whether or not it was free. This led to a lot of products being adopted that made the adoption curve significantly steeper.
There was a lot of predatory behavior by some of the large technology players to get a foothold in the education sector. This led to new verbs like “zoom bombing” to be added to the English lexicon.
Listed below are 5 problems you can face with online learning that need to be tackled for successful education:
1. Internet connection strength
One of the major stumbling blocks with regard to online learning is the lack of strong and stable internet connections, as the ones conventionally used at homes have either low bandwidth or have exhausted their limits.
Just the process of logging in for a class itself becomes a cumbersome process for students and teachers alike. Even as upgrading the broadband connection is a prima facie solution, but it certainly isn’t a fool-proof one.
What’s really needed for the purpose is a tool that can make logging in a one-time process. There’s a need for an app through wherein both teachers and students can simply select their class/subject and get going.
2. Conducting assessments
Assessing a student in the right manner is an integral component of the education system. Under normal circumstances, students are made to take a test or appear in an examination on school premises, unfortunately that’s not a possibility now.
In online learning, assessing students through a Multiple-Choice Question (MCQ) mechanism is still feasible as a stop-gap but real learning is measured by conducting a subjective assessment — this is one of the biggest challenges for traditional edtech solutions that are predominantly MCQ based.
Another related hindrance is checking the assessments. Even if students upload their answer sheets online and if the teacher concerned teaches across five different sections, they would have to assess more than 50 students. And it is particularly an uphill task to upload or download so many answer sheets.
So, what’s needed here is a tool that provides a comprehensive assessment system wherein the requirements of both the teachers as well as the students are met.
3. Restricting cheating instances
Accept it or not, there are quite a few students who try to leverage the easy way to success. It has become easier for them to cheat while using online learning system.
While we agree that this is primarily about being self-disciplined, educational institutions should look at minimizing the possibility of students subverting the sanctity of assessments that are used to improve the learning of the class and the student too.
To check this menace, we have developed a secure mechanism on our platform wherein the teacher is immediately informed when a student leaves the examination screen to access a browser etc.
We also shuffle the questions so children cannot use communication mediums to get an unfair advantage.
4. Online security
No matter what you do on the Internet, concern about data privacy and security is always associated. Usually, teachers conduct online classes through free platforms such as ZOOM and Google Classroom.
But they are not really the safest or the most secure tools for the purpose of learning. The need is to make use of new-age edtech platforms that ensure a safe online environment.
Last but possibly the most significant challenges associated with online learning is monotony and boredom induced by increased exposure to the screen as well as the modus operandi of sitting at one restricted spot for prolonged hours.
The onus of breaking this boredom or fatigue lies with the teachers and the educational institution. There is a need for a consistent endeavour to make the session as interactive as feasible.
Taking this aspect of online learning into consideration, we have developed a mechanism in our Edtech platform through which students can be engaged in polls and other similar activities. There is also a provision of a whiteboard-style tool wherein teachers and students can draw or write anything, eventually making learning more interactive.
– Article by Dev Roy, Founder, Digital Aristotle