When a pandemic strikes, everything goes to a screeching halt. The governments struggle to put the measures in place to either mitigate the effects or to minimize the impact to different sectors of life. The socio-economic impacts are great and so are the effects on education. In this article I will use Covid 19 pandemic as a point of reference in explaining PNC Insurance Learning Online Learning During a Pandemic.
Covid 19 pandemic has had devastating effects across the entire globe. Apart from being a barrier to economic growth the pandemic has led to the closure of schools. Learning institutions across the entire world have been shut as a measure to curb the spread and since it appears like the pandemic is here to stay learners have resorted to online learning . Over 1 billion learners across the world can no longer attend classes in traditional classrooms. All is not lost however. With the millions of internet resources learners are now able to continue their classes online and research has suggested that online learning has improved the quality of education significantly. Online e-learning platforms have become increasingly popular since the start of the pandemic and robust tools have been put on the internet for learners to access educational materials and interact with their teachers. In this article I am going to share several online tools that are currently available worldwide and for the Kenyans.
Online e-learning platforms
From primary schools to Universities, lectures, teachers,tutors meet their learners on google.
This has become a very popular tool over the last few years. Teachers and students have equally appreciated the contribution of this tool to learning. On this tool, teachers are able to organize their classes and students utilizing its easy to use interface. Teachers post class assignments and learners are able to access it and submit the same remotely. This has made it possible for learning online during the pandemic as no physical contact is necessary.
University E-learning Platforms
As I have already mentioned above (in case you forgot) the covid19 pandemic has caused a huge disruption in the education sector and in Kenya, for example, Universities and Colleges have been asked to close down (for a second time) as the Ministry puts measures in place to prevent rampant spread. At this point Universities and colleges must therefore find methods of taking their classes online and prevent stagnation of students. These Platforms are available on different Universities’ portals and include tools such as direct lecturing using video conferencing software and digitizing educational materials for access. The universities have also taken their libraries online for their students to read books and research.
Perhaps the most popular video website. It does more than just share music and funny video clips( we all knew it for that) Youtube has allowed freelance tutors to create educational videos for all ages. Learners can now subscribe to those video tutorials and learn whatever, wherever, and whenever they want to.
Moodle(Modular Object-Oriented Dynamic Learning Environment)
This is an open source platform that allows administrators, educators instructors to use it to create more customized materials for their purpose. Moodle has been here for about 2 decades and it is community driven and globally supported.
What are the challenges to Online Learning During a Pandemic?
Online learning has great benefits especially during a pandemic. Learners and educators globally can interact virtually without having to meet physically. Online learning also takes advantage of a large pool of resources already available on the internet making it easy for learners to utilize the resources. However, it has a share of its challenges and these are:
- Technological dependency
Accessing online learning depends on various factors. The availability of internet and internet ready devices. These devices and services may not be readily available in some regions hence creating an imbalance among communities.
- Socio-Economic differences
Most students who rely on their institution’s free ICT facilities suffer a great loss after the shutdown therefore slowing down their learning.
- Skill dependence
Utilizing ICT tools for knowledge acquisition requires significant skills which may require a different course of study. This may not be easy for low income communities.
- Difficult to assess learner progress
Instructors find it difficult to assess their learners through the online platforms as proper supervision gets impractical. Learners may easily cheat through tests.
- Incompatibility in some cases
Some courses and classes which are practical in nature such as role playing in classes may not be enjoyable through online learning.
- Sudden Digital burden
The sudden need to move all materials online by instructors and institutions may overwhelm the capacity of the available resources in the short term hence rendering some institutions poor.
Learning online during a pandemic is one of the few ways that students and instructors can interact and share information for the sake of gaining knowledge. This has been evidenced by the current pandemic (Covid19) which has disrupted learning across the entire globe. If it will remain post-pandemic is just a matter of speculation .We admit that a lot needs to be done to ensure equitable distribution of ICT facilities especially in developing countries like Kenya to facilitate equal opportunity for all learners.