“Learning conducted via electronic media, typically on the internet” – Oxford Dictionary
In Pakistan, the practice of e-learning existed before Covid-19. However, it was not until covid forced schools to shut down that this learning methodology bloomed and almost every educational institution shifted towards e-learning.
The advancement level was dependent on the budget of every institution. Some educational institutions shifted towards online teaching via using applications like Zoom, Whatsapp and Google classroom while others started recording lectures of assigned syllabus for a targeted audience. Others established proper setups including studios and crews of cameramen, editors, animators and e-learning managers. Video lectures were recorded and made available for students. Some lectures were available for free while some institutions provided lectures after payment of subscription fee.
Covid-19 encouraged creativity and fresh ideas brought with it various ideas of teaching online using digital tools to create animations and electronic notes. Some institutions even made use of games like unscrambling of words and matching columns to make subjects and the process of learning engaging and interesting for junior level classes. Lectures prepared for students with the inclusion of animations and images were much more interesting and colorful as compared to day to day classroom lectures.
According to a research by Georgia State University, images help in improving memory and retaining a concept for a longer time in comparison to simple theoretical text that might be boring for a lot of students. Images make a concept easier to understand and save a lot of time as the attention span of people is decreasing day by day. An average adult has a maximum attention span of 20 minutes. Children are more interested in learning through images and colors rather than listening to a teacher for a long period. Another significant impact of e-learning is that a lecture could be heard anywhere in the world. All you need to have is internet and a smart mobile or a computer system. It is not even necessary to be a student of some school, college or university; you can learn as per your availability. Some websites are paid but not all of them so a detailed research can make you a good learner.
E-learning brought massive change in lives of parents as well. Educational institutions got shut down during Covid and children were staying at home. So the only source of keeping their children engaged was to make them learn through e-learning. Parents who were unable to send their children to schools or colleges due to unavailability of tuition fees or any other reason could easily teach their students through online teaching platforms, as Covid destabilised the economic conditions of a lot of countries including Pakistan.
However, we should not forget that every story has two sides and similarly, e-learning had its disadvantages too. Sports and group activities are a substantial part of education and e-learning hardly offers you group activities. E-learning was an alternative that started growing due to Covid in Pakistan but otherwise, it proved to be very difficult for a lot of students to sit at one place and keep looking towards the screen without distractions.
Internet accessibility is another issue. Far flung areas of Pakistan do not have quality or widespread internet access which means e-learning for students of those areas is nearly impossible. Even in urban areas, internet is available at times and sometimes, disruptions occur which means learning concepts is disturbed causing gaps.
In a class, students can put forward their queries but e-learning does not provide you with this option quite often. This brings us to the tricky side of e-learning. A lot of videos were seen on internet where students tried to cheat their teachers and where online classes went wrong.
The world is advancing at a fast pace and we as a nation and as a country need to catch up with that pace as we are already far behind. Pakistani youth has a lot of potential and can show its talent once given a platform. The coming era is undoubtedly of AI and E-learning so we better start laying a ground for it now. Like any idea, e-learning has got its pros and cons and we have to move forward while looking for the solutions of the problems that we will face on our way to improving our education sector via e-learning.