COVID-19 pandemic has forced global experimentation in many facets of lives. Education can be one of the several arenas that this crisis is going to change. Learning online can be a lot more complicated than simply being acquainted with setting up a Zoom account or Google Classroom. Initially, I had two major instinctive apprehensions for remote teaching that could hold me back during the unprecedented transition from offline to online mode. First, being gripped by the mechanics instead of focusing on the purpose of learning. Second, the greater emphasis on the content alone. This pandemic has added an extra layer of complexity to the anxiety associated with online learning. Learning is more than just a transaction between an expert and a novice. So, as an educator, the major challenge was to overcome the temptation of embracing a narrow view of cognitive learning. Because socio-emotional learning is also crucial especially in situations of crisis when one’s anxiety is likely to be much stronger.
Socio-emotional distress like loneliness or anxiety can wear away our cognitive capability also. Therefore, for effective online learning, a balance of knowledge with a focus on people and emotions is required. A shared and holistic learning process in online mode was subject to other challenges like the digital divide, attention span (multi-tasking that we often do in online mode), low motivation, and novelty of online platforms. Virtual office hours provide that another window of conversation and connection that would have been missed in remote teaching. The crisis has caused some disruptions in the learning process but with some readjustments in online learning, we were able to address students’ disorientation as well as getting on with the curriculum. Online learning might be a short-term response to COVID-19 but it has paved way for a lasting digital transformation of education.
Dr. Preeti Narwal
Assistant Professor (Marketing)