Due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) released by the government on 18th March 2020 that has been extended due to the circumstances, education institutions must close-down and stop school for the period until MCO has been lifted. However, when the government allowed education institutions to be opened, some parents are still hesistant to send their children back to school.
Because of this, the educators are left with no choice other than to continue the teaching and learning session virtually through online learning. More and more initiatives have been taken by educators from day to day including edutainment channels, online classes (real-time), WebTV, recorded lecture and so on.
Are we on the right track? Since this is such a sudden situation, there was no planning that has been made and the students are left with no other choice other than to continue with online learning as they are instructed to. Are all the methods taken successful and students are benefitting from the methodology? Let’s see!
As have been mentioned earlier, the changes in our education system are unpredictable however it is a must for everyone’s safety. Online learning could be successful if we have the chance to plan it a few years before executing the plan.
One of the major setbacks for online learning is the availability of facilities both for the children and teachers as well. We all know that some families do not own a laptop or desktop for each of the family members. If the parents do have a laptop, sometimes they need to use it as they are working from home. The same goes to teachers, not all of them have a laptop or access to a laptop to conduct online learning. Another issue is the internet connection.
A high-speed internet connection is needed to ensure that the online learning goes smoothly if any one of the teachers or students has an issue with this facility, it will disrupt the learning process and become a major obstacle to achieve successful online learning. If there are students that are unable to access these two main facilities, they will be left out in the learning compared to their friends who have the luxury to have the facilities needed.
Online learning has decreased the opportunities for hands-on learning for students, especially for preschoolers. There are a lot of subjects that required hands-on learning such as Science, Mathematics (if you have Euler Maths!), art and crafts and many more. There are reasons why these subjects required hands-on learning, some of them are to make the students visualize and experience the learning by themselves. As for online learning, there are not many hands-on activities that students can do with the teachers unless the parents are sitting beside the children the whole session. Teachers are more to provide worksheets and homework during this period. Even though the teachers want to do hands-on activities for a subject, it would be difficult to distribute all the materials needed to the parents during this MCO.
Worksheet, worksheet, and more worksheet. This is all the teachers can settle for the time being. Even though there are some hands-on activities that the students can do with their parents on their own, there is no guarantee that all the parents will participate.
As for the time allocation, most of the online classes for preschools take place for 30 minutes and below even though normal classes are conducted for one hour. This is understandable because the teachers have no control over the students and could not attract their attention merely with words and on-screen.
Younger students will tend to have a shorter attention span and if the teachers have no interesting materials for the students, they will lose their interest. The understanding of the students is not guaranteed as well and teachers. It is very difficult to determine through the screen if the students understand the whole lesson.
30 minutes is for one subject. Imagine, if there are 3 subjects for preschools that have set the time for online learning on that day, the students will be very tired and easily distracted with other things and teachers have no solution to make the students keep paying attention to them. This will make online learning become a failure as the learning objectives are not achieved.
Dependent on Parents
This might not be an issue for older students from higher institutions, but it is for preschoolers and primary students. All the activities are distributed to parents with instruction and guidance on how to do the activities assigned to the students as to how ALFA and Friends do for [email protected].
If the parents participate actively to help the students understand the tasks, then it will be done. However, if the parents do not play their parts in this, then the students will be not doing the assigned tasks.
There are some reasons that make the parents are not participating in communication between parents and teachers. All these need to be observed by the teachers and assist the parents as best that you can. Even though online learning is effective but some students, but it is not the case for the younger children.
Essential or Fail to Deliver?
Now, let’s discuss the final question. Is online learning essential for the students? Yes, of course, it is essential especially during this time where the students cannot go to school to ensure the learning process of the students is not completely halted as this restriction is not a school holiday for them.
It is also essential because it is the baby steps taken heading to the 21st century teaching and learning process here in Malaysia. Online learning is the future of education because it is flexible, customized learning experiences and cost-effective, too!
So, are we on the right track? Yes, we definitely are but there are a lot more to be improved and considered for this online learning to fully take place in our education system.
Despite the importance of online learning for our education system, do we manage to deliver the lessons to the students successfully? If yes, what are the shreds of evidence?
These are the concerns however the effectiveness in our country is still unknown. Do you have answers to the questions above? Share your thoughts with us! Feel free to comment down below.