By Cynthia Nkweti
Over the years, online learning has been directed mainly towards busy adults or students in remote areas. As time passes we are realizing just how important online learning is to especially secondary schools. Look at the ongoing Anglophone crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, both of which combined have led to a lock down and interruption of schools. You will therefore agree that if online learning had been introduced in schools before now, many of our children will not have missed out on school. In this light, let’s look at the benefits:
- Communication and collaboration skills
In working with different platforms, students at an early stage learn how to communicate with their counterparts and collaborate with each other especially on joint assignments. Early on, this teaches them how to navigate complex communication challenges as working online comes with its own technicalities. This brings us to the second point.
- Advanced critical thinking skills
With the challenges that the internet can present, introducing students to digitalization early on allows them to face challenges that they’ll not normally face in a normal classroom setting. This could include how to navigate new platforms or submit assignments in spite of internet challenges. They even learn discipline as they have to be focused enough to complete their assignments with little or no supervision.
- Media/digital literacy:
Buffering the above point, is the media literacy opportunity, that online learning present to students, even those at the secondary school level. Imagine the advantage of them understanding how the internet works and the complexities of the different platforms they will have to navigate. This is a plus for them in their future careers, especially given the fast pace at which the world is digitalizing. Equipping them with such media literacy and exposure now, is as good as preparing them conquer their fears and be able to match up to a highly challenging and vastly competitive study and work future.
- Suits a variety of learning styles:
Each person can be able to study and succeed the way they feel comfortable. They can pick up assignments or complete task at any time.
Because there are different ways of learning such as synchronous (real-tme) and asynchronous, every student has a chance to study at his/her pace. The student can choose to take live courses or watch already uploaded videos. Online learning provides a platform for these youngsters to learn to multitask at an early age and stage in their lives and future careers.
There are however worries when it comes to online learning. The internet can be a dangerous jungle for young people if they are not properly supervised.
- Online training is boring: it sometimes gets difficult to concentrate if you can’t stay focused for long. The solution may be to take short online courses or take asynchronous learning where you can come back and finish the class.
- Internet difficulties. Find a reliable internet service provider.
- Inappropriate contact with content and people: There are parental control settings for online platforms.
Online learning therefore allows for students to focus on learning while doing other activities that will be of great benefit to them.