Online learning is proven to be equally effective as on-campus learning if provided with access to the internet and proper monitoring.
The online learning system provides unique benefits to the students. One of the most commonly recognized benefits is the flexibility gained through the online format. In online courses, students can more effectively manage their study hours by accessing course content at a time and place convenient to them. This is a sharp contrast to classical face-to-face teaching, which requires student presence at specific points in time for class attendance. Therefore, both geographic and time barriers can be overcome through virtual learning means.
According to one of the studies for those who have access to the right technology, it revealed that students retain 25% to 60% more material on average compared to only 8%-10% in a classroom. This is mostly due to the students learning faster online; e-learning requires 40 to 60% less time than in a traditional classroom setting. Students can learn at their own pace, going back and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating through concepts as they choose. The report from the University of Central Florida shows that a school with an extensive online catalog could serve 66,000 students due to that catalog instead of the 40,000 which its physical campus can accommodate.
However, virtual learning can only be successful within the children who have the right access to technology but poses a concern for the students from economically background classes. Parents with lower income find it difficult to get access to the internet.
Online learning gained popularity more with the sudden onset of the COVID-19 pandemic that pushed schools and colleges' shutdown.
On par with the report given by the United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF), spending more time on virtual platforms can leave children vulnerable to online sexual exploitation. A lack of face-to-face contact with friends and partners may lead to heightened risk-taking, such as sending sexualized images, while increased and unstructured time online may expose children to potentially harmful and violent content as well as a greater risk of cyberbullying.
By taking all these factors into account, we can say that virtual learning is not proven to be terrible, but it comes with various challenges that can be monitored and sorted out to benefit students.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.