The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the shutting down of schools and colleges all over the world. Students have been out of their classrooms since the burst. As a result, the education system has changed vividly, along with the increase of e-learning platforms and online studying materials. From school children, civil services aspirants to engineering and medical students, all are highly engaged in the online learning process available on the Internet free as well as paid. Apart from students enrolling in the co-curricular courses, several schools and colleges have started their online lectures and classes over video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc., wherein the teachers and lecturers are approached by the students according to their syllabus.
Covid-19 has enforced universities across India, and the world indeed, to suspend physical classrooms and move to online classes. In India, while this transition has been smooth for most private universities, the public ones are still adapting to the change. Though facing problems with the issues relating to digital learning processes, the pandemic has caused the students and teachers to ensure and acquire the best use of it. The Digital learning process has evolved through the years with the introduction of new technologies, courses, and learning materials and hence has become one of the essential components for the education system over the globe.
E-learning Platforms As the Savior
Being highly contagious and prone to possible death, the government all around the world has suggested following social distancing along with regular sanitization and compulsory use of masks and gloves as precautions against the coronavirus disease; which makes it impossible especially for the schools and colleges to operate smoothly, given how socially active the students are. The countries around the globe had announced complete lockdowns to make sure that people stay at their homes safe. While most of the organizations had stopped their work, some of them adopted working from home via the Internet.
Most of the countries have declared a pause on the academics sessions till the next year. Whereas some of them opted for online mode of education for peers, undergraduates, and civil services aspirants as well. For schools continuing the learning, the focus shifts to digital learning platforms to ensure the covering of the syllabus as well as the optimum utilization of time and energy of the students. The schools sought it important to continue the students’ learning, unknown to how long this lockdown period will sustain. Even prestigious institutes like the IITs, IIMs are conducting online classes and sharing study materials and audio files with students over the internet.
Online education, an outcome of the digital world has brought a lot to the learning processes at all stages of the education system, beginning from kindergarten up to higher-level institutions. This initiative to remote learning has been possible due to several online tech stacks such as Google Classroom, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams, all of which are playing a key role in this renovation. There are several other platforms created to enable online education in India. Most of which are supported by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), and the department of technical education. There also are initiatives like SWAYAM (online courses for teachers & students with assessments & certifications), e-PG Pathshala (e-content), and NEAT (for employability purpose).
The Online Mode of Education
The digital learning process is conducted in two ways. The first is through the use of recorded classes, which, when opened out to the public, are referred to as Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs). The second one is via live online classes conducted as webinars or zoom sessions. Institutes and individuals require high-speed internet connection and education delivery platforms or learning management systems, along with stable IT infrastructure and faculty members who are known to teach online teaching while conducting the sessions.
While MOOCs are recorded and hence can be accessed anytime depending upon the membership of the particular educational site, webinars are generally live sessions with the options for converting them into a MOOCs video. Institutes have always deliberated digital learning via educational applications as a complementary tool and may have had difficulty in throwing enough light on them, mostly due to not having fully understood its functioning and efficiency. However, the current circumstances have given them a boost to hasten the adoption of technology and try-out with online learning and measure its success.
From the current scenario, it is not wrong to predict that education is going to be digital in the future, and with the right infrastructure and dogmas in practice, one would be better prepared to handle it.