Is online education slowly going to replace conventional live class-room teaching in future? This is the biggest question being asked nowadays after the increasing use of online teaching during the covid-19 pandemic. It is difficult to precisely predict the future. However by keenly observing current trends on can analyse the shape of things to come. There is no question that online education has come here to stay. But to assume it will replace class room teaching altogether is definitely far-fetched. Teachers and students are now optimizing online resources in an effective manner. People who were hesitant to switch over to digital platforms suddenly discovered the huge advantages which always existed online but was not utilized. There is little doubt that online teaching will not go away after the pandemic when normal life is restored. The reasons are obvious.
First, an increase in the utilization of digital resources and digital modes of teaching online or offline is in the offing. One can expect greater use of interactive digital boards and other digital devices in the class and a switch over to technology aided learning.
Second, during school disruptions due to bandhs or strikes (which are common in India) schools might shift to online teaching on that day instead of considering the day as a de facto holiday.
Third, a shift to online evaluation – more and more schools are likely to switch over to online mode for class tests. As online evaluation is much easier and quicker this may become the popular trend.
The change is more likely to be observed in colleges. Students would be more inclined towards multiple short term online courses besides the under graduate degree course they are studying in college.
Recently the UGC has allowed students to pursue two parallel undergraduate degree courses together (one in online mode) which was not permitted before. Therefore the trend of a student taking up an allied degree or diploma course along with the main college degree course is quite likely. Pursuing dual courses is only possible when one of them is in online mode.
However, real class room education is not going to go away. There are two main reasons why:-
First is the old truth that man is a social animal. He needs to constantly be in touch with his fellow beings, be they parents, siblings, relatives, teachers or friends. Online companionship based on interactions through the internet is not real. After a certain stage, people need the real life presence of teachers and friends, of people whom they can feel, touch and talk too. In education, this factor is quite significant.
Second, we must remember that education is not only about garnering facts, learning skills and passing examinations. The process is far more diverse and complex. The class room sessions, the college events, the relationship with teachers and fellow students, the daily commuting to and from college all constitute the larger process through which a student attains maturity and acquaintance with the real world.
Indeed there are significant non-verbal elements in the education process. They can never be replaced unless human beings desire to become robots.