What’s the appeal to online learning?

2020 will go down in history as the year we all realized how quickly we can adapt as the human species. Following the online learning system forced on everyone by Covid-19, many people have started contemplating whether it would be a better option for them compared to traditional schooling. As such, there has been an increased amount of people crossing over into online learning. Two-second crash course: Online learning is an educational approach where students and teachers follow a structured curriculum using advanced information technology-mediated via the internet. That’s neat talk for ‘online learning is learning over the internet’. Alright, we’re all caught up and ready to move forward. If you would like to know the allure to online learning, read on. If not, still read on because, you know, knowledge is power. Also because it’s Genius, and we never disappoint!

A massive factor in favour of online learning, as you might have guessed, is convenience. Online school is extremely convenient. Honestly, you can jump out of bed into class without so much as smelling water. You probably shouldn’t, but the thing is you can. Online learning saves time spent on the road to school and back; time to be used attending to other things. It also means you can be anywhere and still be able to attend lessons and learn. Picture a hypothetical beach, in a hypothetical coastal city (let us name it Durban), with hypothetical waves crashing in the background as you attend an English lesson on your phone. Okay, I got carried away there but you get the point. This is particularly attractive in today’s busy and progressive society. Many youngsters are doing more than just school; be it sports, extracurriculars, art shows and performances. These things are important and end up being the ones affording students opportunities to learn and compete abroad; and online learning allows time for the students’ passions whilst helping them keep up with their academics. Also, on the point of time convenience, students can set their own schedules based on when they are most effective. Night owls can owl and early birds can bird without external pressure. Lastly, online learning also tends to be cheaper. A lot of what constitutes traditional school fees includes maintenance of the building, expenses to keep the lights on, admin and printing, stocking the cafeteria etc; online learning requires none of that. Say it with me, CONVENIENCE. Time and money are some of the things that matter most in our current society, thus being able to optimize these resources forms a huge part of the appeal of online learning.

Another benefit to online learning is that it is more likely to create independent learners. Because of the creative teaching, the one-on-one attention, more involvement of the student in the learning process; students tend to flourish more in their academics. Students seem to become more responsible for their own learning, are proactive about struggles they have in the lessons, have more opportunities to review lessons after the fact. Without the pressure of having all eyes on you if you ask a question in class, students also tend to speak up more, express themselves and therefore are able to identify and address gaps in knowledge and understanding. Even in group lessons, the pressure is much less intense compared to being in a physical class. Additionally, because of the significant decrease in the chances of being bullied, students’ confidence and self-worth also tends to markedly increase in online learning.

The fact that online learning makes use of technology is probably the most exciting factor to the students. The traditional education system has worked to incorporate technology more in schools, although slower than the rate of development and interest in the students. Online learning, solely because it is based on the use of technology, seems to do better in this sense. Students get to use gadgets they already spend excessive amounts of time on for educational purposes, affording them the chance to even learn new and exciting features. It combines their love for technology with learning, increasing the chances of interest and excitement than being in a physical class.

At the end of the day, we want the best for our children and students; whatever that means. Some parents who saw their children excel in online learning during lockdown have taken it and ran with it. If there was a way to educate your child, help them become independent, see them reach their potential, and cut down on time and costs whilst you are at it; wouldn’t you take it?