The pros and cons of e-learning

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Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, school has resorted to online learning. E-learning, or online learning, certainly provided a substitute platform for education, and it obviously has its own advantages and disadvantages when compared with traditional learning.

Firstly, e-learning is more convenient than traditional learning. No matter how the online learning takes form, from live lessons to prerecorded video clips, the convenience is undeniably better than traditional learning. We can tape the lesson and review it afterwards when we encounter problems while doing homework, or we can set up our own unique learning schedule as we can view the clips whenever we wish. Besides, e-learning also is more convenient to teachers. Teachers can detect plagiarism faster in e-learning as they can simply copy and paste the sentence in search engines rather than copying the exact sentence by hand. Also, teachers can view the students’ performance in a more clear and quick way as the student’ work are displayed clearly in the online platform, enabling the teachers to directly have access to the work firsthand, instead of relying subject leaders to collect homework, which can provide a time lapse for students to rush their homework in the last second.

E-learning can let students of different levels adjust their learning pace according to their ability. Students can schedule their time better than mashing up all the lessons in the eight-hour tradition learning on campus, which can give students a better pace and efficiency as they can enjoy a higher degree of autonomy. Students can focus more on their weaker subjects as e-learning does not limit the learning time. Moreover, students can directly search more additional information online simply by opening a new tab rather than writing the question down and wait until school has ended, which some students will undoubtedly forget their whimsical, sudden ideas.

However, e-learning has its own disadvantages. Some are derived from their advantages, while some are simply harmful to health.

First of all, e-learning is so convenient that assigned homework no longer serves as a basis to test students’ knowledge. Without e-learning, students have to do the good old traditional proofreading, which can be quite gruesome as sometimes they do not have an inkling of their mistakes, and so can provide a more truthful display of their ability to the teachers. However, with e-learning, students no longer need to proofread their essays or homework by themselves due to the advanced technology. They can simply use online proofreading sites or apps (such as Grammarly) to proofread their homework, and the teacher no longer knows the true ability of his/her students. Yes, e-learning does give students a higher score on their homework when they use additional apps, but learning is about making mistakes and correcting them. How can a student learn from his/her mistakes when apps have filtered those mistakes out? Most students would blindly correct the passage without wondering or making note of the mistake, and that is why they cannot learn.

Moreover, e-learning poses harm to students’ and teachers’ health. Primarily, the harmful blue light radiating from computers and gadgets harms the human eye. Textbook teaching has a way lower rate of computer exposure, and this method of education provides a recess schedule which can let students relax and move around, which not only helps the human eye relax, but also lower the mortality rate associated with excessive sitting while e-learning is completely freestyle and students may study intensively for longer hours without letting the body relax and regenerate. Mentally, social isolation may result in anxiety and depression. E-learning isolates students as they no longer study together in a classroom, and the isolation from peers and friends results in social anxiety as they are used to being alone. In addition, humans need tangible interaction to remain normal and healthy. According to the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (Vol. 370), social isolation leads to adverse health consequences including depression and impaired immunity. Therefore, e-learning poses health risks.

To conclude, e-learning has its own advantages and disadvantages. What I believe is e-learning cannot ultimately replace the traditional, tangible classroom education as I prefer socializing, but the most important factor is fundamentally, the Covid-19 virus.