‘Virtual learning is okay, but no replacement for classroom lessons’

Hindustan Times, Ludhiana | By
Apr 20, 2020 10:06 PM IST

We asked readers in Ludhiana for their take on online teaching. Is it more effective than classroom lessons? Can it replace classroom lessons entirely? Here’s what they say:

Virtual teaching is beneficial only to an extent

Readers feel that e-learning is innovative but cannot replace the traditional classroom teaching.(ht photo)
Readers feel that e-learning is innovative but cannot replace the traditional classroom teaching.(ht photo)

Virtual or online learning provides various channels such as mail, online chat and video conferences, through which students and instructors can interact with each other. In the classroom, there is only one channel to communicate with each other. Many students have a visual memory and seem to learn more willingly and are interested in online modes of teaching. Virtual learning is opted these days due to the shutdown of schools and institutions. It is beneficial to an extent because it does not require waking up early, there is no fear of getting scolded and one can study in a comfortable manner. But, a teacher-student relationship can be best established in a classroom only. The interaction and the questions a student asks the instructor in the class cannot happen in an online interaction. Virtual learning offers a good substitute to classroom learning in the time of emergency but it cannot replace the classroom. Classroom learning still remains the main option as discipline can be taught through it and it is a better mode of imparting education and knowledge. Sanskriti Verma, via email

Classroom teaches life skills

I agree with the fact that it is the need of the hour to conduct virtual classes as the situation calls for it. But, in my opinion, classroom teaching will always be preferred over virtual classes as juniors or young adolescents learn much more. Daily interactions with teachers and peers improve their skills to deal with and teach them how to live in a society. Moreover, schools organise competitions and exams which result in the formation of skills required in day-to-day life. Harleen Kaur, via email

Technology has proven its merits

In this situation of a global health crisis, the virtual system of learning has proved its merits. As the technology advances, this system is here to stay. But, accepting the virtual method doesn’t mean rejecting the traditional classroom pedagogy. The convenience and low-cost model of virtual learning cannot replace the experiential learning of human values and character development of the classroom setting. Gurkirat Singh, Model Town Extension

Both forms have their own place

Both virtual learning and classroom lessons have their own importance. In these times of pandemic, virtual learning is more important so that the education of children is not hindered. Classrooms are important as the children sit together and concentrate on a particular topic. They are able to learn new skills in such an environment and the teacher has their full attention. Thus, both forms of teachings have their own place. Srishty, via email

Many distractions in online learning

Online education is a necessity these days. Although it gives a student an opportunity to learn, it also distracts them. Once the educational lessons are done, they start surfing other things. Hence, the impact of learning is uncertain and not always optimum. Education is not limited to the syllabus only; it also includes discipline, manners, morals and interaction with other students and teachers. These traits are difficult to inject through online teaching. In fact, I am of the opinion that the education system in schools should not be much inclined towards smart classes. Rather, in every school, some time should be devoted to teach moral values and discipline. Moreover, access to online platforms is not healthy for the students as their ability to remember and retain information diminishes. Neeraj Kumar Bhatt, BRS Nagar

Virtual learning is the only option right now

The students are left with no option other than virtual learning due to the coronavirus pandemic. The teachers are trying their best to teach the children online and have also asked them to contact whenever they face any difficulty in studying. Despite that, classroom learning is better than virtual learning and understanding concepts in the class is easier. Manisha Baria, via email

Maybe not perfect, but serves the purpose

In such times when desperate measures are being taken, virtual learning has proven to be a shred of hope for the students and teachers. I am undertaking six months of industrial training via virtual classes. We can outline that this method has its pros and cons. For instance, in this virus outbreak, many software solutions and applications such Zoom, Webex, Amazon Chime, and Microsoft team allow video conferencing. Technical resources and facilities to aid the learning process can be shared, but we can only interact virtually, whereas classroom learning involves direct interaction between the students and the instructor. We also need to take care of the fact that the software or application used for the virtual classroom is secure. Moreover, virtual classrooms have some requirements, like a steady internet connection and an interface such as laptop/computer or a mobile phone. Hence, virtual learning may not be a convenient option for the economically weaker section. Virtual learning may not be as perfect as classroom learning, but in a pandemic, it serves the purpose. Raghu Mahendru, via email

Not everyone has access to internet

In current times, most of the institutes have switched to online classes. But it has a drawback that not everyone can access online education. In remote areas, many people don’t own Android phones or gadgets, which is a harsh reality. Also, there are some who have these gadgets but are unable to pay the price of the data packs. Though the teachers send assignments in WhatsApp groups, but the students are experiencing difficulties as there is no direct contact or interaction with the teacher. Sometimes, the signal is lost and the class is missed. Virtual learning is useful but not successful. One of the reasons is the lack of preparedness for it. The other is the unavailability of the books as the new session had to begin and students didn’t have the material for their next class. Aliza, via email

Something is better than nothing

Virtual learning by no means can be a replacement for classroom learning. But it can be used effectively to enhance the learning process. Due to the lockdown, many schools and colleges have started online classes but things like understanding the concepts, clearing doubts, interaction with the teacher are not possible in online classes. The environment of a classroom is quite different and it itself makes learning effective. But as something is better than nothing, it’s good to have virtual classes in this period. Rajni Matta, Vishwakarma Town

Online teaching can harm the eyes of the students

Online teaching is a good platform but it is not for everyone. It has some requirements like a good internet connection and an interface, but not every student can afford these things. Lack of accreditation and low quality is another problem. Moreover, the blue screen of these gadgets can affect the eyes of the students if one continues to look at the screen for a long duration. There is another drawback that a teacher cannot monitor the body language of the students and ensure their focus. Vishali Kalra, via email

Classroom teaching is the clear winner

Irrespective of the technology available, classroom teaching is the clear winner. No amount of virtual learning can match the environment that you one gets in the classroom. Studies suggest that children learn better through face-to-face interaction and group study also helps in developing the communication skills. Moreover, some students who are from rural backgrounds do not have access to the internet or the required electronic gadgets. Khushboo Singla, via email

Virtual learning is the only solution

Covid-19 is a pandemic which has turned the world upside down and it will take time for things to be normal again. It is not possible for the government to find a substitute for all the normal lifestyle activities which we were involved in. Virtual learning is a good substitute to classroom learning. It’s true that it may not clear our doubts completely and we won’t be able to interact with our teachers and professors. However, to avoid the lag in our lives in terms of education and to save the time, virtual learning is the only solution. It will help students to get back on track once we get out of this pandemic. Nidhi Jain, via email

Make the most of technology

Virtual teaching is not the perfect substitute to the classroom setting, but there is no better alternative for now. Learning should never stop and technology is the best channel for that. Teachers should make videos and share them with the students through WhatsApp, YouTube or school homework applications. There should also be some provision for clearing the doubts. Besides, the students should utilise this time and learn life skills. In any case, there is an ocean of videos on every topic on YouTube, which the students can access for free. Inderpal Singh, Dugri

Digital learning is inevitable

Owing to the lockdown, the education system has shifted from classroom teaching to virtual teaching to avoid learning gap. This was inevitable as we can’t step out of our houses. College and university students can adapt to this mode easily as they have their own smart phones. Early learners can gain access to digital learning with the help of their parents. This in no way will ever substitute the need of a teacher though. Loveleen Sarao, via email

Classroom learning better than virtual learning

Amid the lockdown, we have no other option but to opt for virtual learning. That’s why most of the institutions are holding virtual classes. If compared, classroom learning is better than virtual learning because the latter involves many technical problems. Teachers give lessons online but are not able to keep a check on the students. Virtual learning is good but only if it is clubbed with classroom learning. Diya Baria, via email

Online teaching: Best way to impart education right now

All educational institutions are shut owing to the lockdown because of which students are unable to go for classroom learning and have to instead opt for online classes. Online learning is an interesting medium as students can attend classes taught by teachers from across the world. If one doesn’t understand a concept taught by one teacher, he/she can refer to another one. We can even get a three-dimensional view of objects online which helps us understand certain scientific concepts better. Amid such critical times, online teaching is the best way to impart education. Sneha Pathak, via email

Collective effort important

In India, we don’t have a lot of experience in digital learning but we had to resort to it as finding a substitute for classroom teaching was the need of the hour. The concept of online classes is not new but amid the COVID-19 lockdown, it has become our only option. Digital classes are managed through app management systems. Regular feedback from parents plays a major role. A collective effort of teachers, students and parents is important to ensure that students’ education is not affected by the pandemic. Mehak Arora, via email

Students don’t take online classes seriously

Though virtual learning is a good initiative taken to continue to educate children during the COVID-19 lockdown, classroom learning is definitely better. Classroom learning facilitates a better understanding of concepts. No one takes online classes as seriously. It is difficult to cover the entire syllabus through digital mode of learning. Swarika Garg, via email

Virtual learning is the best option

Instead of halting the process of education, virtual learning is the best option amid lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. Though the online platform is not as convenient as classroom teaching, but it is still very effective in educating students during these difficult times. Teachers have been using new tools and technologies to teach pupils. The e-learning platform is the only and the best substitute to classroom learning for now. Besides, it is more innovative and makes learning interesting and creative for students. Therefore, it is important that we support teachers and educators in their endeavors to educate students from home. Laveena Sharma, Haibowal Kalan

Classroom learning more effective

Classroom learning is always better than virtual learning as it is more effective and engaging. For attending online classes, students require technology, which might not be affordable and available to those living in rural areas. Besides, virtual learning requires prolonged exposure to mobile phones, which might cause strain to eyes and ears on overuse. The classroom setup provides students a platform to engage themselves in group discussions and boost their overall self confidence. It also helps them establish a rapport with teachers. Ishita Katyal, via email

Classrooms have less distractions

For me, classroom learning is anytime better than virtual learning and has many advantages. A classroom set-up is more engaging with less distractions for students. Besides, it is dynamic and provides more opportunities for group interaction among children. It also promotes kinesthetic learning among students as they are not just restricted to their phone screens and technology. Jassica Goyal, via email

Each mode of learning has its own pros and cons

With the coronavirus outbreak, the whole world has changed drastically. In the sphere of education, shifting to online learning was the only option left for students and teachers. Both the teaching methods, online and offline, are accompanied with their own set of pros and cons. While the working students and professionals prefer online mode, others like to opt for offline mode. However, presently, there is no choice but to go for virtual learning and embrace the changes with a positive mindset. Right now, our main motive should be to get education and not complain about the circumstances. Taranjot Singh, BRS Nagar

Online learning follows social distancing

Online mode of learning is the best choice during the pandemic as it adheres to the norms of social distancing as laid down by the government as a precautionary measure against the spread of the virus. However, it does have a few backdrops, including lack of technical awareness among students and network issues during online sessions. Also, under regular circumstances, classroom learning is a better choice as a teacher has full control over the class and there is much better communication among teacher and students. Harshpreet Kaur, Haibowal Kalan

Students now using gadgets for study purposes

Each mode of learning has its own merits and demerits. In these times when people have to stay at home, online learning has had a great impact on students’ education. Prior to the lockdown, children used to kill their time playing games on mobile phones, but now they are using the gadgets for study purposes. Despite its advantages, online learning has negatives too. During online classes, a teacher cannot pay attention on every student. Also, there is a lack of understanding between a teacher and students at times. Jasleen Kaur, via email

Online classes will help students complete syllabus

Switching onto online learning is a great step taken by education institutions amid lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. E-learning will enable students utilise their time and cover the syllabus on time. This method will ensure that students spend their time productively during the tough times. It’s important that we appreciate the efforts of institutions and teachers who are working recklessly towards betterment of students. Vivek Marwaha, via email

E-learning saves time, money and energy

Technology has narrowed the bridge between virtual and classroom learning in the modern world. Unlike traditional mode of learning, e-learning saves times, money and energy. It is the most preferred method that promotes knowledge enhancement among students while they are in their comfort zone. On the other hand, classroom lessons are good for primary students as they learn to become disciplined and follow a daily routine. In classrooms, students learn about their weakness and strengths besides focusing on social interaction as a means to boost self confidence. Pawan Kumar, via email

Repeat recorded lectures to understand concepts

Teaching and learning in a virtual classroom is a unique experience both for teachers and students. Online classes are more effective as compared to the offline ones as these save students’ time and money. In a virtual set-up, students only need to go through a video to understand the topic instead of spending hours at school as in a classroom set-up. The best part about online learning is that the students can watch recorded lectures as many time as they want to understand a concept better, which is not possible in regular classrooms. Ishmanpreet Kaur, via email

No substitute to classroom learning

There is no substitute to classroom learning. Though teachers are doing their best to help children in all ways, but it is not possible to handle so many students on a virtually platform. Online learning is helpful to complete written work only. It is not effective in getting an individual’s doubts cleared. Besides, its biggest drawback is that it makes students more prone to using gadgets, which thus affects their health. Simranjeet Kaur, Dugri

Effective in times of crisis

Online learning is an effective mode in times of crisis. However, it is not as impactful as classroom learning in general. Studying requires coordination between a teacher and students, which is possible when the two are in a face-to-face set-up. In classrooms, students can learn about concepts better and get their doubts cleared easily. Shagun Mahajan, via email

Classrooms teach real essence of learning

Due to the closure of schools and academic institutions, teachers have switched to taking classes on virtual platform. Online video interactions, concept videos and PDF files have enabled educators to continue with the teaching and learning process amid the lockdown. However, this new mode cannot take over the traditional mode of learning as it is the classrooms that teach the real essence of learning to students. Mohit Raghav, via email

Virtual classrooms are boring

Online studies not only affect students’ health but also impact their learning as they find virtual classrooms boring. Students learn the best in a group or a collective environment with their friends. Moreover, classroom lessons help children form many cheerful and carefree memories. To get education via online mode, students also need smart phones, laptops and computers, which are not affordable for all. Presently, teachers are going for online mode as there is no other option available to them in these tough circumstances. Gurvir Kaur, via email

Communication is better in classrooms

Some students feel that classroom lessons are more effective as compared to virtual learning. In classrooms, students can interact with their teachers and ask them questions. However, during online classes, communication is hindered as students and teachers are sitting remotely at their homes. The biggest disadvantages of learning through e-platform is that it requires technology and gadgets that not every student can afford. Tanya Bajaj, New Janta Nagar

Virtual learning is a bliss

Virtual learning is a bliss if students and teachers have easy access to technology and internet. The platform enable students to attend lectures while being in the comforts of their home. Students can also ask questions and clear their doubts instantly. The only hindrance to online learning is poor internet and lack of technological awareness among students. Apart from this, online mode of education is highly beneficial. Manmohan Kaur, via email

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