E-learning: Friend or Foe

published on 19 April 2022
A group of children watching a mobile phone screen. Source: Canva.com
A group of children watching a mobile phone screen. Source: Canva.com

We live in a digital World. You probably hear this every day, or every week, but it is our reality. Everything has gone digital including education. 

The pandemic brought about a lot of changes in our everyday lives, online education is one of them, but is this better than traditional learning? Especially for the younger kids, does it benefit them? Or do they just have to adapt to it? 

Online education is a learning experience that takes place virtually. It involves the use of the internet to deliver learning materials in the form of text, audio, videos, animations through electronical devices. Reason why it is also called Electronic learning (E-learning), learning through electronic media.

 Online education is not an entirely new concept to a lot of people, but since the pandemic it has become more rampant as some schools have fully adopted this medium. However, online education has caused a stir in society, with questions about the capability of Nigeria adopting such an advancement, with the limited access to technology, especially for students living in remote areas. Hence, traditional learning is still greatly practiced in Nigeria.  

WHY E-LEARNING?

Here we will understand why this is a suitable learning medium for kids.

1.     Saves cost 

With the present state of the economy in Nigeria, one can only imagine how high school fees are. Online education saves cost and this is one major reason why people prefer E-learning to traditional learning. The good thing about E-learning is that one has to pay only for the tuition and probably data to access the resources and participate in lessons. Whereas, in traditional learning, one has to pay for tuition, accommodation, transportation to and from the school, amongst many other fees. This is why people get even degrees online. 

2.     Exposure 

The possibilities with E-learning are endless, a child is exposed to so much relevant information, extra learning resources that sometimes the traditional learning cannot offer. Beyond books with pictures, they are able to watch videos, giving detailed information about the subject.

One can even be attending traditional school and also be taking courses via e-learning platforms to further understand subjects discussed in the classroom. 

3.     Technical skills and computer literacy 

This also helps children with their technical skills. It is one thing to teach a child “computer science” as a subject in theory and it is another when they have to practice and interact with this computer on a daily basis, they get to understand Microsoft suite, search engines, social media, webpages, webinars, etc., all at a young age 

4.     Relevant skill acquisition 

A lot of times, you hear a lot of teenagers ask the reason they had to learn so many subjects when they get to use only few practically in life. The educational system has a curriculum that offers a lot of subjects which are useful to the student, however, certain vital topics are sometimes excluded, and online education gives access to courses that are relevant to real life experiences and challenges. 

5.     Flexibility 

This gives the student the luxury of attending classes at any time and at any place, basically, they can learn at their own place. It is a known fact that some kids require extra attention to understand certain subjects, with E-learning, they can keep going back to the material to understand properly.

E-LEARNING, A FOE?

E-learning is wonderful, but it does have its effects which cannot be overlooked. 

1.     Physical connections/relations 

While E-learning has a lot of benefits, it also comes with its disadvantages, a top one being that the children do not get to have physical relations with other children. You can agree that your primary school had a great impact on your life, so much so that adults often describe their primary school days as times when nothing else mattered. This is because it was the time when you got to play silly with friends till you went home with torn and dirty clothes. These are the thrills of childhood which e-learning cannot offer, while relationships may still be formed online, physical relationships are still very much important, especially for kids

2.     Excessive screen time 

It is already a concern to many parents he amount of time their kids spend online even at such young ages. One can imagine when they must compulsorily use their devices to learn. 

3.     Distractions 

This is especially common with pre-recorded classes where the teacher cannot see what the students are up to during the class. The student can get carried away with games on their devices, activities in the household etc. it requires proper self-motivation and good time management skills.

4.     Internet connectivity 

This can be a major barrier, you can easily relate online calls/meetings to “Can you hear me now?” .It breaks the flow of communication a lot of times, especially for live classes, like 5 minutes of a class can be missed in trying to reconnect back to a class 

5.     Cheating and misinformation

It is not possible for the teacher to guide each student in their assessments or tests, this leaves room for cheating during tests and exams. Also, a lot of websites help with education fraud such as providing answers to tests/exams, and essay-writing services. 

YOU DECIDE 

There are tons of advantages and disadvantages of e-learning. Is E-learning your friend or foe? That is for you to decide. However, a simple solution to this is balance, yes, balance. We fondly say too much of everything is bad but if it is not enough, it is just as bad. This is where guardians and parents come in, constant monitoring is required, constantly check up on the kids and their learning progress. Also, on the path of the E-learning platform, they can provide live sessions with teachers to ensure there is interaction with the kids. Also, chat boxes which students can communicate with students privately.

Runs on Unicorn Platform
English 🇺🇸🇬🇧