Online learning may seem revolutionary. But, as soon as you look beneath the rug, you will easily see that a lot of young students are already used to digital learning with online platforms. Many students already use Google for getting answers to their everyday questions. Wikipedia is a common contributor to their assignments. But the real challenge is to put all of this together into a structured format, like the curriculum in a school.
You can learn a lot, without even touching the textbooks:
As a parent or student, you would be amazed by the kind of learning opportunities these courses offer. Here are some critical lessons you or your child will get to learn, using online learning platforms:
1. Visualization Skills: Many of these courses are designed after putting a ton of research and resources into graphics. Imagine, getting to learn Pythagoras’ Theorem using real-world examples instead of diagrams. Most successful students already have strong visualization skills. But traditional learning methods don’t aid such skills in students who are disengaged with classroom learning. Online platforms spark and support the imagination necessary for learning.
2. Problem-Solving: Schools are a great place to learn a given curriculum, as set by the educational bodies. But most schools end up compiling everything for the children – the curriculum, textbooks, tests, answer-keys and practical lectures. This is great in many ways; but it also hinders inculcating problem solving skills. Online learning forces children to figure out things on their own – what subject should they start with, where are holes in their knowledge, how to frame their doubts and where to find answers.
3. Thematic Learning and Retention: Instead of organizing their curriculums in chapters, most online learning platforms have structured lessons in forms of themes. This allows children to learn a concept in its entirety and develop intuitive understanding around the concepts, instead of focusing on rote learning of principles and rules. At the same time, a ton of online learning platforms pay special attention to skills like mental calculations and learning tricks. They use acronyms, analogies and stories to ensure that children actually remember what they have just learnt.
Now that you might be able to see the value online learning can bring to your or your child’s learning, here’s a small tour of the leading platforms – Khan Academy, Google Classroom, Byju’s and Vedantu.
Taking care of these areas will help you ensure that you are getting the most out of your online learning experience:
1. Understand Why You Are Using the Platform: If you want strong visualization, go for Byju’s. If you want to just brush up some concepts, Khan Academy is great. If you want the familiarity of your school teacher, Google Classroom is made for you. Make sure your expectations are clear before you take up any platform’s subscription.
2. Platforms Help You Learn; You Still Have to Do the Labour: The platforms will not magically transform your work ethics. They will definitely make your learning more accessible and even enjoyable. As far as the consistency and discipline are concerned, you will have to do the labour.
3. Make the Physical Environment Suitable for Learning: It is very easy to get distracted when you are using a laptop or sitting beside the TV. Bedrooms make some people feel sleepy. Hence, make sure that the physical environment aids the learning. Try to use the same spot every day. Also, ensure you have working internet connection and your device is updated, before you begin your lectures.
4. Have Some Study-Buddies: Yes, you still have to maintain the social distancing norms. But it will tremendously help you, if you have someone else in your social circle taking the same experience. You can share notes, solve doubts and even talk about the common issues you are facing, without even being in the same building.
5. Have an Adult in the Process: Read all the agreements before you sign up for a subscription. Pay special attention to the device and the information your child is putting to use. Zoom, the video communication app, has recently faced a ton of data leaks and privacy issues. The platforms here are standardized, but make sure you keep checking on your child every now and then.
Schools have given the children in India a great opportunity to acquire knowledge. That said, in these very uncertain times, we have to come together and ensure that learning does not stop, while still maintaining the need for the hour – social distancing. If you are ready to take up some initiative, online learning can be of tremendous help to learning while still maintaining social distancing.