Learning @ Home – Current Market Scenario

The education industry is slowly moving towards online education due to the lockdown; the study tracks the challenges faced by educators and students while using E-learning platforms during the lockdown.

Why was the research conducted?

To gauge the challenges faced by Kids while they adapt to the new -normal by using E-Learning platforms.

How was the research conducted?

Thinking Hats conducted Depth Interviews with Parents of children and Professionals engaged in 4.0 classes across various schools.

What are the key findings of the research?

The outbreak of Covid-19 has raged a battle on mobility leading to a global lockdown. With virtual living becoming the need of the hour, every sector of the economic and social category is attempting to recreate itself in the virtual world.
The most crucial sector that shapes up the future generations is seeing an evolution and we are seeing a new face of Education – Education 4.0

The department has booked two slots each for two hours per day on Doordarshan as well as on MHRD’s Swayam Prabha channel to telecast lectures for students. At the same time, audio lectures are to be broadcasted through radio. This initiative not only provides access to education to students with no or poor internet and in remote areas but also to visually- impaired students

  • FLEXIBILITY OF TIME: It allows the kids as well as the parents to catch up on their sleep and ensures the child is well-rested. An added bonus is the time they are conserving by avoiding travel, traffic and pollution. It also provides the kids with the convenience to complete the assignments at their own comfort and engage in several other activities of their choice.
  • PHYSICAL EASE: Weighty bags which puts a load on their spine, hampering their posture leading to slump and fatigue. It also addresses the challenge of proximity of school, as it can be accessed by remote locations as well.
  • HYGIENE & SAFETY: The contagion has made sanitation a top priority, and with kids at home, parents are reassured that the kids will have access to healthy food and clean amenities. “My child can get proper sleep as he does not have to get up early to reach school by 7 am. He can use clean washrooms at home against compromised cleanliness of school washrooms due to the high number of students. …also, we can avoid traffic and invest the travel time in other activities”- Shami Pednekar, Parent
  • MINIMUM DISRUPTION: Online lectures and assignments have made it possible for parents and guardians to work peacefully at home. With children engaged on a visual platform with an adult professional, parents are more relaxed as they don’t have to be at two places once.
  • INNOVATIVE PEDAGOGY: Teachers become more trained and learned, they would take the different learning paces of students into account thus making sure every child understands rather than rote learns. The use of digital tools would further enable the teachers to provide interactive and imaginative output. “With this new approach in place, the teachers will try out new and different ways to teach…this could be a big step in the Indian education system”- Aneak Dongre, Parent

However, online education suffers from challenges arising out of unpreparedness. Going forward, here is where our education system needs to step up
Little accessibility to strong network:
The connectivity issues in a country like India with a lack of infrastructure to provide for the speed results in loss of learning due to the absence of the necessary bandwidth.
An added issue arises with the connectivity as the use of online platforms requires an internet speed of approximately 1 to 1.5 Mbps.
In the metropolitans itself, kids themselves do not possess personal laptops or phones. These mediums of virtual connection are a shared commodity as a means of parental control.
“Not every parent can accommodate online education in their house as they may not have access to the spare devices required. Also, all parents are not well educated to make them understand about online classes”- Prabha Joshi, Teacher

Global environment of learning:
Education is not just about academics. It also develops individuals’ extracurricular and interpersonal skills. Under the current system, the sole purpose remains centered around textbook knowledge, which reduces the engagement and learning potential of the child.
The E-learning hinders the kids’ personality growth as well as it restricts the interaction kids have with their peers during recess and other times in the school campus or outside where they exchange ideas or talk about current trends or events. This curbs their ability to think creatively and critically as well as constrains their communication skills.
“There is a lack of interaction with classmates and friends as well as teachers. Also, difficulty in using the systems might impact their concentration and they could get disconnected from the class”- Ganesh M., Parent

Added burden of screen time:
Though the kids are learning, what troubles the parents about this system is the amount of time kids spend on the screen. The majority of day kids are propped in front of a television or a mobile phone as they cannot venture out to play amid the lockdown. An added duration of screen time puts a red flag in the parent’s mind about direct impact such as the strain to the eyes or indirect impact such as reduced attention span.
“A disadvantage is the increased screen exposure which we are so relentlessly trying to avoid.”- Aarti Chitale, Parent

Challenges faced by educators:
Teachers and students alike are lost when it comes to using an online platform. With limitation of technical knowledge and training, both students and teachers find it challenging to operate the systems and troubleshoot problems if any arise leading to a waste in learning hours.
Also, the lack of physical presence toughens the jobs of teachers when it comes to maintaining decorum and discipline on the platform as kids engage in chatting and using the internet for entertainment.
“You can’t expect everyone to be comfortable doing something they’ve never done. Most of the time teachers are just handing out worksheets for the children to complete by themselves.”- Surbhi Shah, Parent

Lack of motivation to learn:
With no exams, kids feel a lack of pressure. A lack of pressure is a disadvantage in the sense that it causes children to abandon their studies more easily. Constant nudging by teachers may be undesirable for many, but it’s an effective method for improving student retention.
Cyber security and other threats:
Kids may often try to explore more and use the online platform at their disposal for project and study work. Unable to control and monitor child’s activity in the cyber world could make them fall prey to a plethora of viruses, phishing attacks, malware etc.
Platform used by the school, also poses a exposing the child to huge risk.
Considering the current scenario, the new face if education is here to stay. parents, children and professionals alike would benefit to get into the bandwagon and ensure the resolving these challenges by using antivirus and other cybersecurity measures or a protocol and guidelines in place for training and approach.

Thinking Hats is tracking new trends in the market to address these challenges effectively.

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