The unprecedented pandemic has brought life to a standstill. Globally all the countries world over have faced huge setbacks and education is one of the sectors which is undergoing a sea change in terms of adapting to digital learning as the new normal.
This paradigm shift in the field of education has been received with mixed response from its primary stakeholders, the students. As a lecturer of Economics, currently based in Bhutan, my first-hand experience and feedback from students has shed light on the implications of e-learning, both positive and negative. Let me briefly, first, talk about from the teacher’s perspective, which highlights that there has been numerous challenges in adapting to the pace of online teaching and developing online lessons, video tutorials and reading materials which will successfully help in achieving the learning objectives and learning outcomes. It has definitely increased the mental agony and stress levels. Moreover, without any face to face classroom teaching, psychologically speaking, it has created a void in a teacher’s life as it has become too mechanical.
Furthermore, from the students’ perspective, there have been a myriad of challenges such as the problem of feeling isolated and lonely because of no classroom teaching. No opportunity to socialize and work together with peers. Increasing mental health issues causing a lot of stress because of engaging and completing all the academic activities, assignment submissions all by themselves. Another major problem that has come to the forefront is the increasing anxiety among students. The current academic scenario of uncertainty and unfamiliarity has led to students feeling overwhelmed as they are unable to cope up with the rapid pace of technology. Also, there has been a decline in the level of motivation, increased procrastination, rise in fatigue, ineffective time management due to lack of dialogue among peers and classmates.
Nevertheless, online education has paved way for adapting to the new teaching style which has certain advantages as well. First and foremost, the flexible timing and learning from their comfort zones (homes) has brought a lot of joy to students. Another advantage is brought by the self-paced learning style which leads to less stress and anxiety among students. A sense of security prevails in the minds of students since they are getting an opportunity to learn from their comfortable space, home unlike staying in hostels. Taking breaks in between and the freedom to take time off as and when required has improved their problem of time management.
Unfortunately, the current year, 2020 has caused a lot of disruptions in all the areas of our lives and I believe it is for good. This time period has given us an opportunity to pause, reflect, grow beyond our traditional teaching styles and methodology and improvise ourselves. With a positive frame of mind if the academic fraternity works in tandem and integrates technology in the education landscape, the impact on the future generations will be immense. The current pandemic is laying the foundation for an education revolution 2.0!
About the Author.
Ms Vagavi Prakash, is a lecturer at Gedu College of Business Studies, Royal University of Bhutan, Bhutan. She completed her graduation in Economics with distinction from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai,India, and Post Graduation in Economics with distinction from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.She also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Spanish.She has successfully completed her M.Phil. Coursework in International Economics. Also taught at National Defense Academy, Khadakwasla Pune. Member of Masters International Research and Development Centre (MIRDEC).