Why the Future of Learning is Virtual and How to Prepare for Online Education Models

The Future of Learning is Online and it is Time we started preparing for the same

The Pandemic has forced all of us inside our homes and making us work from home as well as ensuring that students attend classes online and take tests and exams virtually.

With no clarity on when physical classes and offline lessons would resume, anxious parents and stressed students alike have been wondering whether this model of online learning would continue to persist in the next few years.

Indeed, going by the present trends, it is clear that the authorities are in no hurry to resume the academic year in a physical mode and for all practical purposes, it looks like virtual pedagogy would continue for the next year or so.

So, how can all stakeholders prepare for a virtual learning mode and what are the implications for students, colleges, corporates, and governments?

Do governments have to start accrediting online educational portals and recognize the certifications and the degrees awarded by the latter?

Does this mean that corporates have to shed their indifference to online certifications and instead, give jobseekers with online degrees the same treatment in hiring that they accord to graduates from top schools?

How to Mainstream Online Learning and Bridge the Digital Divide for Equitable Results

What is clear is that there needs to be a systemic undertaking by all the stakeholders to “mainstream” online learning.

What this means is that we no longer can afford to sideline and relegate the importance of online education, especially when one considers that it has become the lifeline for students and colleges.

Moreover, even colleges and universities have to adjust and orient themselves to a world where online learning is the norm rather than the exception and where online pedagogy is not restricted to distance learning courses, but very much normal in the larger scheme of things.

In addition, there is the question of infrastructure that we as a nation have to provide to the students, the colleges, and the institutes conducting classes online.

This means that uninterrupted power supply, fast and reliable broadband internet, and a model where even the poor students can afford to log in online and learn.

The last point is especially important as the Digital Divide is now more pronounced since the well off are the ones who have the luxury of the infrastructure aspects discussed now, whereas the underprivileged students do not even have access to a Smartphone, let alone fibre broadband internet.

Why Portals like the ManagementStudyGuide.com are Part of the Paradigm Shift

So, it is clear that what we need to do to mainstream online learning and hence, it is suggested that the government in consultation with the other stakeholders take steps to operationalize these aspects.

To start with, it is better to accredit the online educational portals such as www.ManagementStudyGuide.com (on which you are reading this article) and ensure that they are treated on par with the learning institutes.

This would help them gain the necessary recognition and reach that would enable them to enrol more learners as well as give them the necessary acknowledgment that the courses they provide find acceptance among employers.

Indeed, this is where corporates too have to pitch in and not look askance at those jobseekers whose degrees and certifications have been acquired online.

In addition, parents and students alike need to be counselled to orient their thinking to accept online learning as the Future of Education and the New Normal as far as pedagogy is concerned.

Colleges too have to ramp up their online learning modules and ensure that top faculty do not skip their commitments and responsibilities to such students who have enrolled for online classes. So, what is needed is a Paradigm Shift.

Some Downsides and Need for Regulation and Oversight of Online Portals

Having said that, there are some downsides to online learning and the most important among those is that we still haven’t gotten around to the idea of education in an online mode.

This gap in our thinking can be exploited by glib operators who can promise the moon, but deliver dust as can be seen by the numerous news items in recent times about educational portals exploiting parents and students.

So, what is also needed is a regulatory system that has oversight of the educational portals and a model where such portals are subject to constant supervision.

At the moment, the proliferation of online portals has made it impossible to distinguish the genuine ones from the fake ones.

Of course, there is also the aspect of how educational portals such as this have to make the effort to standardize and streamline their content and pedagogy models so that they are on par with the offline learning systems.

Moreover, students also need to have some physical interactions with their peers as most learning happens through chance discoveries and shared tasks that they perform with their classmates.

So, what we are suggesting is a hybrid model of learning that can deliver results.

Conclusion

Last, these are early days for online learning as a mainstream paradigm and hence, this is the best time to put in place the structures, the processes, the mechanisms, and the systems to mainstream it.

The NEP or the New Education Policy is a step in the right direction in this regard as it seeks to embrace online learning and embed virtual pedagogy as a model to follow.

Therefore, we need to build on this now so that the students who are the future professionals stand to benefit from the vision actualized. To conclude, online learning is here to stay.


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Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)

The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.


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