Traditional learning vs Online Learning”- that’s truly a topic which needs some pondering upon, Isn’t it?
India, a developing country is witnessing an exponential growth in the teaching cultures of various schools and varsities. It is the “Online” style of learning that is currently in vogue, though it may be presented at a nascent stage and is probably trying to outdo the traditional method of learning, which is not at all possible. The traditional method acts as the base for the education system and therefore the online method at some point in time needs to conform to the needs of the traditional form.
The confidence in the words of Jim Henson’s makes one believe in face-to-face learning-
“Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are”.
This man without any doubt brings out the essence of classroom teaching. His quotes highlight the vitality of a teacher in a classroom. It is indeed true that until and unless a learner doesn’t eye-witness the behavior, the gestures, the body language of an instructor the knowledge imparted to him would be partially assimilated. It is important for a learner to interpret the tone of the teacher, while it is the responsibility of a teacher to render a clear and brief explanation for her subject matter. A classroom setting not only demonstrates a teacher’s personality rather gives one a chance to learn from others way of comprehending things which are not possible for an individual sitting in front a computer in a virtual classroom. Virtual classrooms would certainly involve students performing the same tasks individually without anyone’s intervention.
Further, online learning is widening its web by getting into the lifestyle of all, but is it so easy for it to replace the conventional form? Let’s discern this through the prism of Jasmine’s eye, a thirteen-year vivacious girl:
Jasmine’s school, like other schools in town, had recently installed computers, projectors, cameras, and whiteboards in order to switch to a digital form of learning. This kind of disturbed the little teen-girl; and made her mull over questions like-
Was all this a burden for the whole class?
How would the class cope with these”unwanted additions” and
Was this a better option for learning?
All of these questions were “just” and “obvious” to arise in the mind of a new learner like Jasmine. The school had never asked the students about their choice( Reality-Check to what really happens) and had bombarded all this on them whether they liked it or not. The reality is that; it isn’t as simple as ABC; either for the teachers or for the students to habituate to such new approaches. A good classroom learning environment relied on an effective instructor who created a comfortable and exhilarating environment for all. Employment of clear-cut goals and powerful tactics should take care of better results. Therefore, it is significant for school authorities to train teachers for more desirable results. Apart from this, suggestions from both teachers and students should be taken before implementation of newfangled technology.
Coming back to Jasmine ( the box of questions) rushes to her favorite teacher( remember everyone has that one teacher in school. who was yours? Think Think) for all her problems.
This is how the conversation went:
Mrs. Gupta: What is the matter my child, why do seem so distracted?
Jasmine: Are these projectors, cameras, computers going to be a burden on us? They seem to be so unwanted 🙁
Mrs. Gupta: *laughs* not at all my dear, they will indeed help you widen your scope of learning.
Jasmine: How is this possible ma’am. Will this machine teach us now?
Mrs. Gupta: *Chuckles* Let me explain to you how will all this take place.
All the new machines being incorporated in your classroom are your second teachers now. They will help you learn through audios, videos, interactive games, quizzes, and fun learning activities. You can even take this teacher home along with you, and keep playing around with her with your unsolved problems.
Jasmine: Wow ma’am, but will this change everything in the classroom?
Mrs. Gupta: No, not at all dear, nothing will be changed, it will just be “Modified”. This is known as collaborative learning, wherein features of the traditional and virtual classroom will be mixed up. It would more innovative, more entertaining and more knowledgeable. Apart from all this, I will always be there to guide you.
Jasmine: Yes ma’am no one can take your place.
As Albert Einstein says, “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken the joy in creative expression and knowledge” is absolutely correct. Though these machines may provide the whole classroom a gateway for learning at home, your lessons, your every gesture will make us learn and make us more confident.
Mrs. Gupta: It seems you remember my lesson on Einstein very well. It’s good to hear that you will be able to adapt to these machines and maintain an equilibrium between both modes of learning. Hope now you don’t fear these “unwanted” machines?
Jasmine: No ma’am. All thanks to you.
It is evident through this simple; though prudent conversation of a teacher-student who bring out the nuances of both forms of learning and make it evident how the scenario of “Learning” is changing for the good of all. One can’t forget the classroom ways of teaching, but there is always a scope of improvisations, by keeping the old elements intact.
It is true that a teacher may be available in a virtual classroom too, but what is it that makes a difference?
Hence, it is the intensity of delivering a lecture that can one considers a pointer to denote the difference between the two of them. Experts say that online learning consumes more time due to protracted modules which often deviate from main topics. For example, in a conventional classroom, a 14-hour chapter takes about 2 days, similarly, one teaches the same topic in a virtual classroom in about 3 hours and is completed in a span of five days. Therefore it is up to the user’s convenience to choose the best method for themselves.
Apart from an important teacher figure, the role of the student is also a matter of concern in both cases. As the saying goes ” All five fingers are not the same”, therefore in similitude to that proverb,” All students are not the same”. Each one requires their own space and time to gel in with their preferred choices. It is often seen that students are shy enough to confront a teacher in a class. Such introverts prefer the option of online learning, whereas a jolly and inquisitive person like Jasmine would prefer a teacher to be in front of her eyes.
So the crux of the argument is that Learning is subjective, rather than being objective.
It altogether comes down to the individual’s preference. It’s like it’s your choice whether you want to go with a Nokia 1100 or an iPhone. 😀
So to keep jokes apart, no emerging technology can replace the classroom form of learning. As it is rightly said that Old will always remain gold. Yes, one could always participate in a collaborative form of learning as “Blacks and Whites do not work is this Gray world”. It is better to use the BLENDED version.