E-Learning: A substitute for Classroom Learning? Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning

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The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in schools and university closures all across the world. As a result, globally, over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries are out of the physical classroom. In India too, Schools and Colleges have been closed for many months since March 2020. To continue teaching-learning, Schools and Colleges are offering lessons remotely on digital platforms like Zoom, Google Meet. Many online learning platforms like BYJU’S and Vedantu (for school education) and Coursera and Udacity (for higher education) are offering free access to their services for limited time. IIMs and other top B-schools have started their new batch in online mode. Given the above context, the question arises – Is E Learning a substitute for Classroom Learning? This will be an important GD topic for MBA Entrance and other exams. MBAUniverse.com has prepared this article with facts and views to help you prepare and excel. So, read till the end.

 

Size of Indian E-Learning Market
According to ‘Online Education in India: 2021’ report prepared by Google KPMG in 2017, by 2021, the online education industry in India will see a growth of about X6 times. The number of users enrolling in online education were expected to touch 9.6 million users by 2021, from 1.6 million users in 2016. The revenue of Indian Online Learning Industry was estimated to be worth $1.96 billion. These forecasts were made in 2017. With increase of low-cost internet access and COVID 19, these numbers would stand much more today! 

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Let’s see some recent facts.

  • The COVID-19 has resulted in schools shut all across the world. As a result, globally, over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries are out of the physical classroom.
  • Today, education has changed dramatically with the rise of e-learning where teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms like Zoom, Google Meet.
  • Many online learning platforms like BYJU’S and Vedantu (for primary education) and Coursera and Udacity (for higher education) are offering free access to their services for limited time.
  • New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 also puts emphasis on Online Education to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER).
  • Regulatory bodies like UGC and AICTE have given more liberty to education institutions to offer classes online to ensure that students are not disadvantaged.

COVID - 19's Staggering Impact On Global Education 
Number of Learners impacted by national school closures worldwide

Figures refer to learners enrolled at pre-primary, primary, lower-secondary, and upper-secondary levels of education, as well as at tertiary education levels. 
Source: UNESCO

 

Given the above context, the question arises – Is E Learning a substitute for Classroom Learning? This will be an important GD topic for MBA Entrance and other exams. MBAUniverse.com has prepared this article with facts and views to help you prepare and excel. So, read till the end.

 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Online Learning in India
Let's first look on the advantages of e-learning.

 

Advantages of e-learning

  1. Anytime Anywhere Learning Convenience: Students and Learners who attend online learning can take up the class from anywhere and anytime (if permitted) as per their convenience. This opens up learning opportunities to working professionals and other segments of society.
  2. Low Cost: Online learning costs less as more students can attend at the same time. Learners also save a lot of time and money in travel.
  3. Increased Reach: Online learning can be accessed with the help of a computer/ laptop and an internet connection. In a county like India, community internet services can make sure that top quality Online Learning reaches to every small town and village.
  4. Good learning outcomes: Research shows that learning online can be as effective and sometimes more effective in a number of ways. Some research shows that on average, students retain 25-60% more material when learning online compared to only 8-10% in a classroom. This is because students being able to learn faster online as students can learn at their own pace, going back and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating through concepts as they like.
  5. Immediate Assessment: Online Learning uses online quizzes and other tools to evaluate the students. Both Teacher and Students can get personalized assessment and feedback of learning on a real time basis! This is a powerful advantage of online learning.

Disadvantages of e-learning.
There are some disadvantages of e-learning.

  1. No face to face interaction –A key disadvantage of online learning is the lack of face to face interaction. If courses are taught purely online, there is a less possibility of building a good relationship with the teacher and classmates. This has negative impact in team-building and social-skills.
  2. Demands higher motivation from learners: Online learning requires a higher intensity of self direction and motivation from learners and there is limited social/peer pressure or support. So students and learners who are more disciplined and focussed on their learning requirements will get good results, but not all.
  3. Limited Access to Internet & Devices in Lower Income Households & Rural Area: 70% of India lives in Villages and majority of our population falls below middle class. Online Education creates a ‘Digital Divide’ where rich have access to all and poor are deprived of learning.
  4. Low teaching support: Although there are frequent interactions between the student and the instructor, the students may face the issue of two way communication or face to face interaction. A lack of communication can lead to low motivation among some students who are struggling with learning and need the help most.
  5. Health Issues: Online learning requires the use of computers or other screens for many hours. It can cause eye-strain, back-ache and several other health effects on the learner. Since Online learning lacks human touch, there can be issues of depression and mental health.

Your turn – Which side of the argument are you
Based on above facts, you can prepare your approach for this topic. You can decide that E-Learning is actually a beneficial approach, and give solid reasons of your views. Or you can be on the other side of the argument. But remember, be logical and put your points politely to do well in a Group Discussions. 

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