As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in the Philippines, most schools have adapted online teaching and learning to keep students safe and help control the spread of the virus.
The online learning set-up is a combination of synchronous learning (learning at the same time with classmates and a teacher) and asynchronous learning (learning at any time that works for the student).
Schools have also picked their own platforms for communication and for teaching lessons virtually. Still, a lot of students, teachers, and parents are not thrilled about this method because of its many challenges.
It’s not perfect, that’s for sure. But there are also good things that can come out of it. Here are some of the pros and cons of online learning.
What are the advantages of online learning?
You are safe inside your home
With Covid-19 cases escalating by the thousands every day, it won’t be surprising if we just decide to stay inside our homes for the next couple of years.
Online learning reduces the risk of contracting the virus. Students only need to go turn on their gadgets and enter their virtual classrooms. It’s education without leaving your home!
You don’t need to commute or travel
This is probably the biggest advantage of online learning in the Philippines. You don’t need to catch a ride at the crack of dawn just to make it to your 7am classes.
There’s no need to queue at the bus station or at the MRT and waste precious hours. You also don’t need to spend money for transportation or parking fees. This money can go to other important expenses or priorities.
You get to enjoy more time with your family
Online learning also means an increased time shared between children and their parents.
There is a more active participation as parents create a positive learning environment and support their children with whatever they need for the online learning set-up.
And because there’s no need to travel to and from school and sit through hours of traffic, you also have more time to spend with each other throughout the day.
You have the freedom to learn wherever you want
As long as there is a stable and reliable internet connection, of course! You can study anywhere you want in the house that is conducive to learning. Whether it’s in the living room, the lanai, or your bedroom, it’s a lot cozier and more comfortable than your usual chair and desk in the classroom.
You can get enough rest and sleep
With online learning, you can set your alarm, do your morning routines, and then turn on your computer to start your day of learning.
During your lunch break, you can enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal. And when classes are over, you can rest or even take a nap before you tackle your homework.
In short, you can study and relax in equal measure.
You can take advantage of available technology
In the classroom, almost everything is prepared by your teachers. All you need to do is show up for class, pay attention, and learn something.
With online learning, you are responsible for the tools and apps you will need to be able to follow the lessons, participate in discussions, and submit your assignments.
If you’ve never used an app before, you need to learn how to create an account, as well as navigate the app.
Online learning also encourages you to be resourceful when it comes to research and presentations by using alternative methods and making most of what you have at home.
What are the disadvantages of online learning?
There can be a lot of technical difficulties
Aside from the issue of slow and unstable internet that causes videos to freeze and streaming to be disconnected, there may be problems with ambient noises that can be too distracting. Like dogs barking, tricycles passing by, construction noises from the neighbor, just to name a few.
And because students are at home, there’s also the tendency to feel sleepy and lazy.
Not everyone can afford resources for online learning
Internet subscriptions, laptops, smartphones, and tablets are not exactly cheap. Students who are from the marginalized sector definitely won’t be able to afford these.
Some teachers / professors / instructors are not tech-savvy
Not all educators are adept at using the latest technology. Maybe they haven’t had the need to because they utilize other tools and methods to teach. Or maybe their schools are not equipped with it.
Classroom interaction is only online
Students and teachers only get to talk on video calls and social media platforms. This is very different in an actual classroom where they can sit together, chat, share a joke, huddle for group activities, and many more.
With online learning, you only get to interact with what you see and hear on your screens.
Maybe for most people, the bad things outnumber the good. But with the current threat of Covid-19, online learning seems like the best solution.
It allows our children to be safe at home without having to skip a whole school year.
In line with this, the Department of Education will also be rolling out TV and radio lectures for students who don’t have access to the internet or cannot afford to buy electronic gadgets.
The DepEd TV channel will soon be airing on Solar Learning and IBC 13 with educational episodes, information materials, and online lessons that will aid students and teachers during this pandemic.
What are some of the challenges that you have encountered with online learning? Are there aspects of it that you really like? Share your thoughts in the comments!