Over the past few decades, education has rapidly and radically evolved. Having to be physically present in a classroom isn’t the only way to learn anymore. Not only are courses online, more and more universities are offering online or distance-learning options and the use of more online tools. Whether you’re a young student or an adult learner, online teaching is a sensible choice. In our increasingly busy world, this can be a useful learning method for sharpening your skills in a difficult subject or learning a new skill.
Although the pandemic has perhaps accelerated this revolution, it started a lot earlier, with the evolution of the teacher. Thanks to the Internet, everything you could learn at school, students now have at their fingertips. Therefore, teachers have evolved from the role of providing knowledge to facilitating the effective uptake of knowledge. At the end of the day, you have all this information available to you, but you don’t know what you don’t know, which is why we still need teachers, albeit in an evolved role.
The concept of a teacher standing in front of a room full of students who listen and respond to direction is increasingly a thing of the past. In a world where technology is a must, rather than a factor, education also needs to ensure students are equipped with the skills to cope in a world dependent on technology. It shouldn’t be viewed as a shortcut or “the lazy way”, but as a means of opening endless possibilities to nurture education.
Is technology good enough for online teaching?
In Singapore, The Ministry of Education offers three options to support online teaching:
- interactive real-time education using Zoom, a videoconferencing program;
- pre-recorded lectures, including lessons broadcast on television channels; and
- providing student assignments as an alternative to online classes.
But perhaps the most important factor is minimising disruptions. Even within our tiny island nation, inequality and disparities in e-learning preparedness, such as the quality of technology devices, internet connectivity or other gadgets, must be controlled for or we risk online education causing wider educational inequalities.
Research supporting online teaching
Several research studies have covered effective pedagogical strategies for online teaching. A Delphi study by Partlow and Gibbs found that online courses should be relevant, interactive, project-based, and collaborative, while making students accountable stakeholders in their learning.
Additionally, Keeton investigated effective online teaching practices based on a framework of traditional teaching practices in higher education institutions. In this study, faculty in postsecondary institutions rated the effectiveness of online teaching strategies. Higher ratings were given to online teaching strategies that encouraged and supported inquiry. These strategies were viewed to broaden the student experience of the subject and foster active and critical reflection.
In another study of pedagogical practices, Bonk found that only 40% of online teachers found online activities related to “critical and creative thinking, hands-on performances, interactive labs, data analysis, and scientific simulations” critically important in online teaching.
Technology continues to play an important role in the development and expansion of online teaching. Several studies have reported on the use of blogs and podcasts to promote student collaboration and reflection.
Not convinced? Here is a quick list of reasons why online teaching is truly the future of education.
1. It’s flexible.
Online education allows the teacher and the student to manage their learning pace, and there’s the added flexibility of setting a schedule that fits everyone’s agenda. As a result, using an online educational platform allows for a better balance of work and studies, because you get the education when you need it and how you need it, so there’s no need to give anything up. Studying online also teaches students vital time management and self-management skills.
2. It offers a wide selection of programs.
Thanks to the internet, there are infinite skills and subjects to teach and learn. Many schools like the Agape School of Education (ASOE) are offering online versions of their courses for various levels and disciplines. From learning a new language to graphic design, there are options for all students. Studying your program online is also a great option for getting an official certificate, diploma, or degree without physically setting foot on a university campus.
3. It’s accessible.
Online education enables you to study or teach from anywhere in the world. This means there’s no need to commute from one place to another or follow a rigid schedule. On top of that, not only do you save time, but you also save money, which can be spent on other priorities. The virtual classroom is also available anywhere there’s an internet connection. For example, you can be learning a new language while on the train every day!
4. It allows for a customized learning experience.
We’ve mentioned before how flexibility can help you to set your own study pace. But online education is also flexible for each student’s individual requirements and level of ability.
With the ASOE courses, our students get access to very diverse material such as videos, photos, and eBooks online and tutors can also integrate other formats like forums or discussions to improve their lessons. And this extra content is available at any moment from anywhere, which will offer you a more dynamic and tailor-made education.
Online distance education is a viable, cost-effective and rapidly improving way of empowering students regardless of their location, age, gender or social status. School students’ experience of learning online during the coronavirus pandemic will help prepare them for a digital future, and we should embrace this unexpected opportunity.
These strategies can help you enhance and maximise your learning capacity. However, as with learning anything, be it a skill or a language, repetition and familiarity are always the most important key factors to success. At ASOE, we offer courses in over 13 different languages. We cover curriculum for business purposes, preparation courses for all levels of language certification, academic courses for students (especially for those who follow the Ministry of Education Language Centre: MOELC syllabus) and even courses for travellers. That said, our courses are modifiable based on our students’ needs. We also now offer ‘Blended Approach’, which involves a mix of online and in-person classes, or ‘100% Online’ courses!
Come down to ASOE today to find out how we can help you succeed in learning a foreign language! Or register for a course online now!