Due to the international influence of the pandemic and the required crisis response, educational institutions have to find new solutions for teaching students. Each student has a different personality, background, and habits, affecting their perceptions of distance learning. Some perceive distance education as a temporary solution, while others like the benefits and want to continue digital learning in the future; thus, students’ experience of online education can be split into two categories: positive and negative.
To start with, some students like the flexibility of distance learning. The primary characteristic is the lack of transportation to the campus. Students can listen to the lectures from their bedrooms while wearing pajamas. The availability of lectures at an extended period of time improves learning potential (Dhawan, 2020). Students can watch classes from various comfortable locations and at a suitable time. Some can revisit the lectures while others can decrease the lates and the number of absences. The flexibility assists students with combining their work, home, and educational responsibilities.
Undoubtedly, distanсe education changes the traditional learning techniques, which can bring new experiences to students. It involves the usage of new digital applications to improve the involvement during online learning. Students can find new educational tools supportive during stressful conditions. Also, universities increase the number of groups engaged in online learning, establishing inclusive groups of different ages, gender, social groups, and special needs (Milevica, 2020). Students expand their knowledge and learn new information not only from their instructors but also from a diverse student population. A related reason to the expanded groups includes the guest lectures delivered by famous speakers.
On the other hand, distance education does not have the qualities of face-to-face interaction. For example, the changes in the teaching manner affect the lecture performance. Some instructors are active and have popular campus lessons due to the availability of visual examples, gestures, discussion, and walking in the classroom. Distant education limits such possibilities, and students with experience of energetic campus lessons are discontent with such a difference. Likewise, online learning influences the socialization with peers and the feedback from the teacher (Adnan & Anwar, 2020). The delay in the replies is not comparable to the effectiveness of face-to-face communication.
It is essential to note that not everyone has experience working with technology or has reliable access to such devices. While some students live alone, others share a flat with their families or friends. As a result, they may not have an unoccupied and calm space to listen to the lecture without interruption. Class members may adapt to digital tools longer than others and feel pressure from continuous usage and discomfort. With time, it may create digital communication fatigue (Mctaggart & McLaughlin, 2020). Such conditions create varying opportunities for students, not always recognizable by the teachers.
To conclude, the online learning environment during COVID-19 can have advantages and disadvantages for students. The learners may enjoy the benefits of flexibility to organize a comfortable schedule and save time due to the ability to learn anywhere; they may also learn new digital tools, get acquainted with new lecturers and students who cannot attend the physical classes. However, distant learning can be tiresome and remote in terms of commutation and socialization. It also depends on individual conditions and backgrounds, as well as digital skills.
Adnan, M., & Anwar, K. (2020). Online learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic: Students’ perspectives . Journal of Pedagogical Sociology and Psychology, 2(1), 45–51. http://www.doi.org/10.33902/JPSP.2020261309
Dhawan, S. (2020). Online learning: A panacea in the time of COVID-19 crisis. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 49(1), 5–22. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047239520934018
McTaggart, V., & McLaughlin, C. (2020). Remote working the new reality. Organisational Change and Development in a Globalised Economy, 1-15.
Milevica, I. (2020). Rhetorics and challenges of distant education. Challenges of Science, 131–136. https://doi.org/10.31643/2020.018