Owing to class suspension, a new form of learning has emerged so that we will not fall behind. We have online teaching videos instead of normal lessons. We have meetings to resemble sessions in which we interact with our teachers. We use various platforms to distribute learning resources and submit assignments. Although e-learning provides a lot of flexibility in our learning, I do not agree that it is better than face-to-face learning.
Solitary e-learning greatly reduces the interaction between students. Although acquiring knowledge is one of the most important aims of learning, building soft skills is still not to be missed. Face-to-face learning provides a lot of opportunities for us to interact with our classmates. It helps us to build our soft skills. However, during class suspension, we are learning alone. We can neither interact nor having discussion with others. Although some may argue that live lessons via zoom can give us opportunities to interact with each other, these opportunities are still very limited. The time that we interact with our friends in face-to-face learning at school cannot be fully resembled by live lessons.
Besides, teachers cannot understand the needs of students so well through e-learning. In face-to-face learning, teachers can read our facial expression to guess if we understand their teaching well. They can change their way of teaching if they feel that students are doubtful. In addition, students cannot raise questions immediately, and teachers are not present to provide instant feedback. I often need to wait for a few hours or even days to receive an ambiguous answer that does not clear up anything. It makes our learning less effective.
Although e-learning has many disadvantages, its advantages are still not to be neglected.
E-learning provide high flexibility. As learning materials are all uploaded onto a digital platform, we can learn anywhere and at any time. This provides high freedom in managing our learning. Therefore, students can study at their own pace. This ensures that one will not get overwhelmed by the fear that his or her pace is slower than the others.
Moreover, resources can be easily distributed and submitted through various platforms, which makes teaching more efficient. For example, in face-to-face learning, teachers need to teach the same topic several times in different classes. However, teachers need never repeat themselves, as the online teaching video of the topic can be distributed to all students. Distributing resources through online platforms such as Google Classroom makes teaching faster, more efficient and transparent.
In conclusion, I do not think that e-learning is better than face-to-face learning. Successful education has the following elements: exposure to open and high-quality resources, opportunities for students to acquire knowledge from open discussions and opportunities for students to build soft skills through interaction. E-learning can provide high-quality resources. However, sessions for discussion and interaction provided are very limited, although people argue that live lessons can resemble face-to-face learning. Is e-learning the best way of learning? Is there any room for improvement in face-to-face learning? These are important questions that can reflect upon our learning.