The pros and cons of e-learning

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         Recently, Hong Kong is under the extreme circumstances under the demanding depression of the coronavirus, in the overwhelming days, the study couldn’t be stopped, and it gives rise to a new stage of learning—e-learning. For the first time, a significant number of schools adapted the device of google classroom, zoom,  it could indeed urge ourselves and students like us to continue our studies during the ever-lasting school suspension, but whether it could bring us more convenience to our learning, even ameliorating our studies, or is it just causing more troubles with lots of external factors affecting us, or deteriorating the learning effectiveness or gaining in our studies, resulting in a wide gap of miscommunications between us and our textbook? Today, we will weigh our studies and examine whether e-learning is desirable and acts as a proper mean, that should be kept and adapted even after the school suspension.

           To commence with, e-learning could let us keep a flexible and changeable learning schedule, allowing more flexible planning and make the studies somehow more effective. With just videos uploaded by the school and the teachers, it breaks our usual practice of studying together at the same time. This allows us to plan our studies suitably and efficiently for the best performance of learning the most thing. For example, we do not have to wake up as early as 8 in the morning to have our lessons, and we could schedule our lessons later. By scheduling the lesson later, it could allow us to attend the lessons at the optimum attention level, so that we won’t be distracted or fallen asleep because of early lessons like what we attended at normal day-schools. This may be proficient for the acquisition of knowledge as the best attendance to our lessons are applied. Also, besides just attending lessons in the daytime, online lessons could give us time for doing something meaningful in our studies. Listening to the teacher is not just the absolute way to enhance and boost ourselves to learn the most, sometimes other online methods of learning could act as a bridge of mastering our gain of knowledge. For example, we could further watch some related educational YouTubes on an online platform, or some related documentary programmes to get ourselves a more coherent understanding on our learning, which would not be done in normal lessons because of the limited lesson and limited time. In online lessons, our time of study is not just limited in the abbreviated 8 hours of learning, but the expanded times from dawn to dusk, we could have full-rounding learning with more researches of resources through online platforms, mitigating our desire of a comprehensive understanding on the whole. So online learning is indeed providing a more malleable and elastic time of lessons, which could facilitate the learning and give advancement in further studies.

            Moreover, e-learning could provide a fast-pasting education. You all know the fact that new topics and concepts could be ended within one or two lessons in e-learning, which would never be possible in face-to-face teaching since it is more about single-directional teaching, there are limited interactions between videos and the students watching the videos, it could then provide a decent time for the teachers to have more exhaustive and encyclopaedic planning and delivering of teaching. For instance, the teacher would not have to deal with any misbehaviour of students or sudden incident in the school, and generally fewer questions and enquiries of students are engaged in the lesson, it could provide the teacher a time to deliver the message in an all-inclusive way rather than breaking the lessons into a lot of sessions. This could give the students a full picture of learning and give students a more understandable lesson for a better understanding, hence enhance the efficiency of delivering education without any annoyance.

            Certainly, there are a lot of advantages of e-learning, but there are still downsides and disadvantages that will lower the education quality.

            The first downside of e-learning is that it lacks interaction between teacher and students, costing miscommunication and vague concepts of students, sometimes even misconception of students which will result in huge gaps between learning of different topics. There are almost no communications of studies between online teaching nowadays, it will be so inconvenient to contact the teachers for asking questions. To be sure, questions are faced frequently during the way of study and online learning do not give a platform to raise it. As a result, students will interpret knowledge themselves, causing conceptual errors. One of the most crucial subjects to communicate is Mathematics. Everything in mathematics is built layer by layer, just some vague in a small topic may lead to more potential errors and misunderstanding in other topics. The teacher will usually just raise simple and straightforward concepts and examples of math question through online learning, often understood. But when it comes to harder levels questions, teachers usually assumed students can have an appropriate application of simple concepts and formulae, which could not be possible without teaching any skills or interaction. The teacher could only explain how a specific question work in a video clip, but not how questions that are not understood by students work. Interaction between teacher and students are crucial and online learning just would not take account of this problematic issue.

           Furthermore, e-learning could not urge every student to work and take up their responsibilities. E-learning all depends on self-discipline, we must be conscientious to urge ourselves for a strict plan of attempting all lessons on time. Unlike schools, we are not watched or monitored to attend any compulsory lessons. It will give reasons and excuse for those students not to attend any lessons, resulting in a big knowledge difference. It is seen seemingly when some students do not hand in their homework for any time but have time to post “Instagram stories” about gaming. The school could not provide any means to help these pessimistic lazy students and will just let them fall apart in studies. E-learning system does not give monitor to students who need to be monitored, and online lessons just give them excuses for being “out of any work from school”.

            In general, e-learning could give us a flexible plan, allowing students to create a feasible plan for better studies, yet giving ineffective learning and providing excuses for escaping lessons. Both online learning and face-to-face learning have their upsides and downsides, but the downsides of e-learning outweigh the advantages of it, students are given incomplete and narrow ways of education and they will not learn under no communication, maybe this is the reason why schools are set up but never outdated.