Navigating the impacts of online education on students

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The unique and unprecedented crisis of Covid-19 has immensely affected the lives of millions across the globe. The worse affected among these are the students. All around the globe, as the places of worship, restaurants and malls were compelled to shut down, the educational institutions also terminated their regular activity to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. However, the unknown duration of the pandemic necessitated the resumption of educational activities through online mode. Unfortunately, this online mode of learning not only affected the educational performance of students but also their mental and social capabilities.
Students had to continue their regular educational activity under the new and changed scenario of Covid-19. From the practical consequences of this new scenario, it can be aptly inferred that the disadvantages of online learning surpass its advantages. The first and foremost drawback is the lack of proper communication which makes it difficult for the students to effectively grasp the concepts being taught by the tutor. During online mode, various non-verbal cues i.e. tone and pitch of tutor’s voice, facial expression, eye contact, and body language which the brain processes to interpret the received information are missing. The absence of these non-verbal cues makes it difficult for students to effectively interpret the information being presented and thus negatively affects their learning.
Secondly, online learning grants students more freedom than they could handle. Online schooling requires students to be active learners and take responsibility for their learning. As no instructor is supervising them to stay on task, it becomes easier for them to give in to many distractions. Major among these distractions are the social media apps installed in the same gadgets through which they take online classes. The distractions which are just one click away are harder to resist.
Another major issue students have to face is deteriorating mental health due to social isolation. Many of the students tend to develop numerous psychological conditions in this period. Lack of interaction with fellow learners during online schooling imparts feelings of social isolation which ultimately leads to stress and anxiety. Moreover, minimal outdoor activities during the lockdown period worsen the mental condition of the students who are habitual of the buzz of on-campus life. Furthermore, the feeling of isolation also causes a feeling of inadequacy, insecurity, and lack of self-confidence among students.
The experiences of my friends and other people I have interacted with reveal much more harmful ways in which the lives of students have been affected in the corona period. Continuous vacation mode resulted in the excessive use of social media and irregular sleeping patterns among students. The excessive use of social media led to the subconscious consumption of abundant and unfiltered information which adversely affected the brain of the youngsters. Irregular sleeping patterns also worsened the daytime activity of students. Additionally, the disruption of daily physical routine in the lockdown period harmed the well-being of young people.
On one hand, Covid-19 has negatively affected the lives of the human population across the world but, on the other hand, it has also given them a chance to reinvent their lives and adopt new and different lifestyle choices. Surprisingly, these trends and lifestyles seem to continue in the post corona world as well, since humanity has adapted to the new ways of living.
Digitalization seems to be the new and major defining feature of the post-corona world. The benefits of digitalization that humanity has reaped during the pandemic period may make it difficult for the world to go back to the same normalcy of the pre-corona world. The accelerated pace of the digital revolution and virtual connectivity is the new normal which may never go out of trend. The ease provided by online retail, digital ordering and cash to digital payments is bound to become a permanent feature of post corona commercial world. Digital interdependence, online schooling, virtual workstations are time and fuel-saving and are also useful experiences of humanity. The innovation of telemedicine in healthcare through which general practitioners provide treatment to patients at distant locations is also new ease. The surge of digital information; the flow of ideas in domains like healthcare, officials businesses, and webinars are among other many newly adapted features that are bound to be part of post corona world.

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