By - B.Sadananada Sharma
When it comes to learning there can be different ways, as far as learning process is concern there should be proper materials to study and most importantly an instructor and right system approach. A tutor or instructors are the guidance of any learner. An instruction-led learning process also defined as a process of learning where teachers give instructions to students and follows, all this process only happens in schools, colleges and similar institutes.
E-learning is an environment of learning in which both technology and physical works are involved. The origins of term E- learning is not certain, still most likely originated during 1980’s, as internet and electronic media has become our means of delivery of information in our day-to-day life, a widely proposed definition of E-learning is the delivery of instructional materials, using both prints and electronic media. The instructional delivery may include an instructor who is/was physically located in a remote place from the learner, as well as possibly providing the instruction at disparate times and situations, in all forms of E-learning, whether they are applications, programs, objects, websites etc., can eventually provide a learning medium to students.
In other words, E-learning platforms provide learning experience in the form of information or instruction through the medium of electronic media and technology.
Emergence of E-learning as an effective mode of providing education during lockdown not only improves access to educational opportunities for learners but also improves in connectivity, flexibility and ability to promote varied interactions.
Another main feature of E Learning environment are the design methodology of Courses, Programs and learning materials which are to be made available to the students, it can be either Self-paced or Self-directed or Instructor-led. Most of the E-learning namely distance learning are design in a traditional educational environment like Universities, which is a instructor –led describes as an instructor guides learners through certain instructions controls and pacing all learners to participate in the learning activities at specified time.
When it comes to Self-paced learning environment the learning environment enables the students or learner to study online in their own time and at their own pace, from any location, this mode of learning provides learner the more autonomy and to proceed in their own pace. Where the term Self-directed mode of learning comes, it is often defined as a mode of learning which is controlled; where the learner is more in charge of their own learning and they monitor and manage.
In Manipur also with the plan of Government to secure students educational carrier, during COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, orders have been issued to conduct classes through online or E-learning. Consequently, the State Government specially the Education Department and other related authorities have taken up steps to bring forward the environment of E learning system into the state in imparting education during lockdown, mentioned may be that the SCERT started providing E-textbooks and study materials online for respective classes, even comic based eBooks to encourage reading of books to the students under class 4-8 during this lockdown period.
Many schools, colleges and universities in the state have also started taking up classes through online system. Most of the environment adopted for online classes in different institutes and colleges are different from one another, some adopt a well systematic approach of teaching and some are below standard.
E-learning as we all know relates with the use of electronic gadgets and internet, speaking of Internet, it helps us bringing the world into one place. Internet knows no bound and no restrictions in access, and also it is flooded with distractions, false and disturbing information. Anyone can get lost if there is no control of mind over this. We should encourage and give awareness to our young generations with the proper use of internet for educations and other research purpose right from now, E- learning process must have ethics and idea of internet is not only for passing time but also we can learn from it, also stronger bond between teachers and students.
Sometimes it is scary to think what will be the influence to the young minds of this generation without proper guidance by the concern authority. E-learning may solve the crisis brought by lockdown but without proper planning and supervision by the teachers, parents and authority may brought a bigger issues of misusing the electronic media. Most importantly their performance is to be monitored to assess their achievement frequently. It can clearly be seen when a small child starts using social media and chats in most of the popular social applications like Facebook, WhatsApp instead of using the system as a means of getting useful online study materials or relevant information.
When implementing anything new to a society, we must first consider both the positive and negative impact that may happen, E-learning is a very useful tool for learning when implemented in a right approach but also can degrade if not properly monitored. Many schools as a step to continue classes started providing online learning but when taking a deeper look into the system, has led to concerns about the question of quality assurance and driven models on the structure. Also, E -learning concerns with both producing better learning experience for the student and learning how to teach better using technology.
According to Research by Patrick Suppes at Stanford, when seeing CAI (Computer Assisted Learning) or now also called E-learning or Online learning, he did a comprehensive research and concludes the following ;
· If the technology was not up to the tasks that we envisaged for it, there can be lapses when implementing E-learning.
· Online learning can track & follow each student, providing the potential for customised learning pathways.
· A well richer learning theory is needed to inform design and practice of E-learning.
· In the future, large numbers of students using Online Learning will be an important part of the mainstream university.
· Students learning styles needed to be considered when developing online classes.
· How would more complex questions and responses be developed and handled as students increasingly engaged with higher-level content?
Now, the pertinent question is that how much are we ready for conducting E-learning or E-classes? According to most research it is clearly seen that certain norms and rules are mandatory to conduct E-classes. Yes, of course during lockdown it is a hard time for everyone but the concerned authorities and government machinery should also focus on the effectiveness and productivity of the whole process of E-learning system by engaging on the ground realities, instead of imparting the right knowledge it can bring a negative impact to young minds. Nowadays, anyone can get any information or online classes from any source via youtube, google, and many other application platforms so if we are providing an online option of learning to our students, it better be not only the best one but the correct one too, to guide them in the right path for a collective good in future.
It is quite a good gesture and quick reaction of our Government that they have taken up such a step during lockdown to continue providing education even in this difficult time of a pandemic outbreak, also we should not only consider E-learning as a means of learning only for during this lockdown period, it is highly required to establish a better and strong foundation of this type of learning environment. As, this can also adopt for the section of students who cannot get proper education opportunities due to financial limitations or lack of educational infrastructures. Taking the opportunity of this we should make the best out of e-learning. It will also be a challenge but if we can adopt E-Learning after post lockdown also then it will be a great benefit for the entire student and teacher community as there will be multiple ideas, knowledge and information from different sources that any student can access anytime and teachers can also give special attention to students from anywhere.
Roles and responsibilities of the Government, teachers and parents in shaping the students has been never so crucial, they should not only encourage the students to actively take part in such learning system but also should be aware and vigilant of its dangers. E learning is not a substitute form of learning, it is taking the same old education through a different medium, therefore, we all should give the same attention and treat seriously just like the traditional learning, only schools or colleges or Government cannot bring a positive change in a student, parents do have a bigger role to play and should take the responsibilities and act much more than expected from them traditionally.