Is Covid-19 the push online education needed?

Jeandre van Tonder | 07.10.2020

Throughout my ‘educational lifespan’ although short compared to many, I am not a professor or doctor of any kind, but I have had my fair share of exposure to online platforms or digital learning and have seen the benefits as opposed to the conventional ‘sharpen your pencils and sit at your desk quietly while I scribble on this board’. Most of my education has been the conventional way so I am not saying it’s wrong or that my desire to learn has been stunted, however, I have seen how trying to ‘fit a square peg into a round hole’ can often lead to unfulfilled potential.

Fresh out of varsity I had the privilege to home school two very intelligent children, both in their own way they were far more superior in knowledge than most their age, in one area in particular, languages, they could both speak four fluently. It was surprising at first to hear why their parents had opted for the less conventional classroom setting but rather choosing to do so online. This was due to the school having rejected them, the system had failed and what I didn’t know then I understand now. Since adopting digital tools to support their dyslexia and focusing on their strengths while growing their weaknesses they achieved their first hurdle – school and overcoming the dread that a textbook gave them.

Corporate Education Will Never Return To The Classroom | Forbes

Since reading this article in Forbes, I can see corporations have been digitalising / converting the classroom for years, people are able to adapt quicker at a fraction of the cost. There are many benefits and what has been created further is that online training doesn’t just mean staring at your computer but the ability to interact with others Platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts have opened us all up to interacting virtually. I agree it’s not ideal all the time, however it sure does fit more in line with a busy schedule and saves more than a few pennies travelling, staying over and attending a 45 minute lecture half way across town or country.

Although a big motivator, money or the cost of knowledge is not so the angle I am going for but rather the time and the ability to adapt these platforms at a click of the button. Einstein’s quote ‘If you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree then it will live its whole life thinking it is stupid’ with the speed to update social media or upload a new image on Instagram how quickly can we adapt the tools to support our different ways of learning. A huge indicator is how learners who prefer to ‘ear read’ can adapt their tools to audio learning while others can adapt their learning to their pace and preference.

There are many benefits to online education, such as: -

Career Advancement

Studying online can help with advancing your career in a particular subject you are interested in. This can provide you with a lot more freedom and flexibility for your development and learning. You should feel relaxed whilst learning and what better way than not feeling any pressure by time management; online courses are available at whatever time you choose.

Saving Money

Certain online courses do cost money however, you do not incur costs of transportation or accommodation, which can benefit you with more savings and lower debts. Working from home can be a good time to create some savings we all wish we had!

Self-Discipline

You must fully rely on completing your course yourself as you will not have someone physically keeping a close eye on you to keep you focused on your deadlines. In time and with enough motivation, you will teach yourself the art of self-discipline and time management and hopefully be able to master it. Once you know how to rely on yourself to get a task done, this can open many possibilities for you.

When the role changes and you become the teacher, it can be quite difficult especially if you have no relationship with the student. However, play this to an advantage to help yourself become more confident.

The main forefront of my training was utilising Microsoft teams, the tool abled me to share my screen which was extremely effective. This tool accommodated me in my explanation and training. Teams has been a great factor in my training, and I am sure this has been a convenience for many more people that were operating from home. As a report by Statista states that daily users have doubled in the months during lockdown, going from 32 million users in March 2019 to 75 million as of April 2020.

There is so much opportunity here and taking the leap I am sure we can create the happy median between classroom attendance whilst building on the foundations of a faster, more cost effective and time saving online experience.

Balanced Learning.