What the Pandemic Has Revealed About Online Learning
Over the past year, the pandemic has forced many industries to rethink how they operate. Some restaurants have had to go to a delivery-only methodology to stay afloat. Movie theaters have closed, and more people are utilizing at-home streaming services.
Education is another niche that has had to adjust during the pandemic era. Many schools nationwide have had to close, and online learning has been the kids’ best option. Even colleges have had to go to an online learning mode so adults can continue with their educations as they try to earn degrees.
If nothing else, Covid-19 had shown us that online education is possible, but also that it has some distinct limitations. Let’s look at both the pros and cons of this burgeoning enterprise.
Many Online Learning Apps Have Risen
As the pandemic spread across the globe, schools began to rely on various apps to connect students and teachers, such as Moodle. Some other online educational tools include:
- LinkedIn Learning
Each of them has different features, with some better geared toward teaching kids versus adults. However, wherever individuals have internet access, they can continue their education in some capacity.
Some People Do Not Have Internet Access
This brings us to the next point, which is that some individuals who have wanted to learn in the past year have fallen behind. This is distressing concerning adults, but it’s far worse with grade school kids. The issue is that some students of all ages do not have internet access.
This is usually due to one of two things. They are:
- Lack of Wi-Fi connectivity
The average student who wanted to engage in online learning this past year needed internet access to do so. That meant they needed a router, and they needed to pay for internet access through a local provider.
Impoverished grade school students couldn’t afford that, so in many cases, they have not been able to learn for the past year. Now, vaccines are starting to come out, and it seems likely that by this time next year, if not before, everyone who wants to receive one will have gotten it. However, by that point, some students will have a distinct advantage over those who have been idle for the better part of two school years.
What Does This Mean for Students Going Forward?
Experts have yet to truly reach a consensus regarding what this education gap will do to kids and what school administrators and teachers can do about it. When kids can return to in-person schooling, they might have to go without a summer vacation for one or possibly two years in a row to make up for lost time.
Another possibility is that some kids will be older than the others when they graduate from high school. Rather than seventeen or eighteen, they might hit nineteen or twenty by the time they get their diplomas.
As for college-age students who had to put their education on hold because of the internet access lack, they will probably be a bit older when they graduate too. Some of them may have to discontinue their higher education quest entirely.
Many of them will not have been able to work during the pandemic because this nation has lost so many jobs. The college-age students were probably relying on those jobs to pay for their continued schooling, not to mention their rent, utilities, etc. if they were living on their own.
Further Online Learning
The bottom line as it relates to online education is that there are abundant options if an individual of any age wants to learn that way, but only if they have internet access. Some psychologists are also concerned about the kids who are growing up during the pandemic.
It’s true they will have probably fallen behind in their studies since the lessons they received online might not have been as immersive as those they would have gotten in an in-person classroom environment. Beyond that, though, they have not been able to socialize with other kids in-person. Some psychologists would argue that’s just as important as any other lesson they might have received.
Kids are quite resilient, and most adults are too, for that matter. All ages will try to bounce back once we have eradicated Covid-19, but in the meantime, everyone seems to have taken a couple of big steps backward. It’s probably going to take several years till the educational system is back on the right track again.