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Compulsory Physical Teaching: Is the Online Learning Boom Coming to an End?

man on laptop

In March 2020, when university and college campuses were forced to close in response to the coronavirus outbreak, all forms of teaching transitioned to an online setting. Like most other matters, the education sector had to quickly find ways to adapt to seemingly endless new rules, regulations, and guidelines. The boost online learning platforms witnessed resultantly seems to have become a permanent trend.

For some students, this was positive since they now had the opportunity to progress with their courses at their own pace and from the comfort of their homes. Meanwhile, others found the process challenging, given the adaption to entirely strange technologies. In addition, the staff were forced to confront new challenges and alter their way of teaching to accommodate the drastic changes, often at the cost of their work/life balance. 

As the nation slowly returns to ‘normal’ and physical learning makes a comeback, let’s analyse the impact on the future of online courses.

Online learning is here to stay

Firstly, let’s establish a key point: online learning will not disappear. Although some people may have been first introduced to a virtual classroom following the pandemic, the concept has been around since 1984, when the University of Toronto offered the first (completely) online course.

The idea of online courses didn’t come to fruition because coronavirus struck, so we don’t need to worry about the concept ceasing to exist now that the education sector is returning to its original, physical ways. In its entirety, online learning is here to stay, and it’ll more than likely continue to expand and progress.

Why people might still opt for online learning over traditional

Online learning was a fantastic alternative to formal classroom learning when the latter was simply impossible. Despite university campuses coming to life again, some people might still take a course, such as a digital leadership course, online for various reasons.

Not only can they be convenient, but also less expensive in comparison to traditional courses. In addition, learners might find that the online way offers more variety in terms of the topics and modules available and therefore choose this over physical learning. These reasons were valid long before the pandemic and will continue to be helpful beyond it.

Will those who opt for online learning be at a disadvantage?

Professors, teachers, and lecturers may be required to teach in classrooms, but that doesn’t necessarily mean students need to physically attend the lessons to receive knowledge, care, and attention. Online students will not be at a disadvantage in comparison to their fellow students who choose to participate in person.

If someone enrols in an online course that features elements of physical teaching, video platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams allow students to watch – as if they’re right there in the classroom – from the comfort of their home. This means physical teaching and online learning can work in unison, and one doesn’t have to replace the other.

The future of online learning

As technology rapidly progresses, we can also expect the advancement of online learning to progress. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have become huge parts of the gaming world, which will only extend to other areas such as the education sector.

VR creates an exciting and immersive virtual environment, while AR generates real-world scenes with generated perceptual information laid on top. Both pieces of technology will enhance online learning by delivering immersive experiences that will help students absorb knowledge and expand their skills in a way that’s never been available before.

The choice is yours

If you’re someone who prefers to learn from the comfort of your own home, that’s precisely the path you should take. We’re lucky to live in a world where online learning is an option –not just because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Introducing compulsory physical teaching will not take any opportunities away from you. It may even present more options, so you could be getting ahead of the curve by opting to learn online instead of in person. Technology is the future, after all. 

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