E-Learning education is the new norm, accelerated into existence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Universities all over the world have adapted to the means of E-Learning and virtual means of educating students.
So what are some of the effects of E-learning?
Let us find out!
The Objective Of The Study
A study was conducted primarily to find out the hurdles faced by the students in the E-learning pedagogy. It was conducted by Digital Inclusion Research Forum (DIRF); which is an India-based research forum focused around multidisciplinary research on Digital Inclusion and its impact on society.
This study comprised of in-depth interviews, upon which a survey was drafted. This online survey was conducted for 15 days and received 185 responses from students of 16 states and UTs across the nation and of various genders.
This study was conducted to analyze the digital divide that students might be facing not only because of the geographical factors or lack of resource grounds but because digital exclusion was turning out to be a greater problem.
Digital exclusion also takes into consideration sociological, economical, gender-based physical as well as the mental aspect of human life as an important driver to ensure equal access to the digital ecosystem.
This study is important from the perspective of nationwide lockdown in India since both students and teachers had to undergo additional mental and physical stress.
Who Took The Survey?
The study records a 61% response from males, 38% response from females, and 1% response from the other gender. The study relates this pattern to the lower enrollment numbers of females in education and extremely low enrollment of people of the other gender in higher education.
Another view shows that the states with a higher number of COVID-19 patients showed lesser participation, while the states with a lower number of COVID-19 patients showed higher participation.
Platforms Preferred And Used
The process of development of platforms for E-learning, suspected to take place 5 years from now has hastened and reached a significant peak within just roughly 3 months. As a consequence, a lot of companies have seized opportunities and risen to provide such platforms.
Amidst the choices of so many companies, the majority of the students preferred using ‘Whatsapp’ and ‘Zoom’ over other platforms used for E-learning.
Despite the issued advisory from the Government Of India, about the risk of using the platform Zoom and other similar platforms, the survey showed that 36.22% of students preferred to use Zoom.
This can be taken to emphasize the lack of development of secure online platforms.
Availability Of Resources
The resources that are needed for E-learning education can be a wide variety, ranging from the minimally equipped smartphone to a high-tech laptop. It is still in question, what the optimal device for e-learning looks like.
Laptops are considered to be more efficient due to the screen size and processing power. In the study, it was found that about 60% of male students and 80% of female students possessed their laptops. The study also showed that male students preferred using hand-held devices like smartphones.
Read the Full Report Here
Credits – Sharique Manazir, STS Scholar working in their area of Digital Democracy and Exclusion Studies.
Another study has proven that internet access in India is done more through smartphones, as compared to laptops/computers. The efficiency of this for E-learning is still under debate.
About 40% of all the students do not have a personal study space at home. This is a major inconvenience when it comes to E-learning.
The availability of non-physical resources, like a medium that could reach even the minorities, was found to be missing in a large proportion. India is a Hindi speaking nation, and Hindi is the first language of nearly every student. Hence, Universities must look into a means of conveying education to vernacular and Hindi mediums too.
The Comfort Of Students As Well As Teachers
A vital part of learning is to have a comfortable learning environment and flow. Basic physical and mental cues affect the learning and teaching process.
Social taboo, online bullying, and general immoral behavior are responsible for the majority of female teachers and students keeping their videos turned off.
The study also revealed a rather unexpected result, saying that about 3/4th of the students agreed to be moderate to extremely comfortable. Perhaps this has to do with being in the comfort of their homes.
Studies have shown that peer-based learning is an important learning method. This goes for a toss when e-learning takes over education. Hence, this is also one of the valuable points that cannot be disregarded.
Discussions On Mental Well Being
There have been several reports about the increased depression, anxiety, and tension due to the lockdown and its socio-economic effects.
Yet, the study found that more than 30% of students reported a lack of communication between the students and their teachers about their mental well-being. While this is a minority, mental well-being, especially in such times is a key factor to consider for good quality education.
What Can We Take Away From This?
E-Learning involves equal participation from all the stakeholders, and University Administration should keep track of their teacher’s mental and physical health during the lockdown.
Teachers too should keep track of their student’s mental and physical well-being, and try to cater to all of their students, be it a vernacular minority, or females uncomfortable to be present on online platforms.
E-learning certainly has its benefits and is a great revolution that will help plenty of students in society. We just need to make sure we can work on the pressing issues and try to solve them with community power.
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