Lina Ashar, Founder, KKEL

Lina Ashar did her primary schooling in England and completed her Bachelor’s degree in Education from Melbourne’s Victoria College. She started KKEL in 1993 after being appalled by the lackluster system of education in India. The journey from one Kangaroo Kids Preschool to a network of Kangaroo Kids Preschools and Billabong High International Schools across 40+ different cities in India as well as in Dubai, Maldives and Qatar has been an awesome journey supported by parents, education partners as well as a lot of dedicated, passionate and determined individuals at the school and central team level. KKEL encourages its children to be driven by aspiration, creating a passionate, exciting, fulfilling, and engaging life over the current rat-race for the highest paid job that is always subject to change. Lina believes that passion and purpose lead to success and with success follows financial freedom.

Social isolation is one of the major changes that has been born from the aftermath of this global pandemic. However, even though it functioned as an effort to open avenues for survival and healthy living, it consequently led to the closing of various segments from the economic and education sectors. Schools had been shut down, abruptly interrupting the learning of millions of students. For a while, many had lost hope. But this unexpected change suddenly bore fruit for one education segment in particular – remote learning.

Remote learning platforms helped bridge the distance between students and their education. Using modern technology, it helped bring classrooms into a student’s home, connecting educators and learners. The emergence of these platforms suddenly became widespread and their potential grew prominent. 

Today, the criteria that previously limited the number of universities that were eligible to offer online degree courses in India is under change. The new criteria by the University Grants Commission (UGC) will almost double the number of eligible universities. 

Indeed, remote learning platforms do offer a broader scope of opportunities for students to continue their education, or even to avail one. However, there are several drawbacks to consider as the nation and the world delve deeper into the prospects of remote learning. To aid a better understanding, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the emergence of remote learning platforms.  

Pros:
The emergence of remote learning platforms will shift the norms of traditional setups. Through increased flexibility, less time-waste lowered costs and greater dependence on technology it can quickly garner the favourability of students and dictate the standards of future education.

  1. Remote learning provides students with the flexibility to learn what they want, when they want to and at their own pace. Even with live classes, it creates an opportunity for students to review class instructions by re-watching recorded sessions. They invalidate the importance of taking notes at a moment’s notice and also saving more time for additional coursework. 
  2. These platforms negate the loss of time that takes place to reach schools and prevents the stress of hectic commutes and being late for class. Furthermore, time lost due to absences, whether on a student or teacher’s part, becomes less important when classes are recorded beforehand. 
  3. Remote learning is cheaper in comparison with most schools and overseas programs; the cost of living in a different city is an important point of consideration. Even in the case of online courses, certain programs turn out to be cheaper than in-school education. Although the cost of courses can sometimes be a reflection of the quality of the course, remote learning still offers a more viable opportunity for better education to a large portion of the nation. 
  4. Remote learning, through its technological use, makes students more familiar with the use of electronic devices for non-recreational purposes. They become aware of the latest advancements and further their understanding of the digital sphere. In learning how to use new programs and software, students become more competent at using technology, which is especially useful in this increasingly digitally dependent world.

Cons:
The emergence of remote learning platforms disrupts the traditional approaches that have been striving to achieve perfection over the years. It entails a new start that will call for a lot of improvements.

  1. Remote learning makes education available to many, but it fails to create the personalization required for an effective learning experience. Due to its detached nature, it offers the same teaching style to everyone, which fails to stimulate many learners. Remote learning fails to recreate the personalized approach of teachers, present in a classroom with students. 
  2. A major benefit of classrooms is the personal interaction that it creates amongst students. This interaction is lost in a remote learning experience. Students are separated by screens, which prevents the formation of interpersonal relationships, as they would have happened in a classroom. Students lose out on creating new friendships in a remote learning setup. 
  3. Most of the time, pre-recorded classes and even live sessions fail to motivate students to learn topics that aren’t completely in their interest. Whether these perceptions are created due to learning difficulties or past failures, they overtake a student disposition to learn a particular topic, and often, remote learning lacks the drive that is required to help students find the motivation, especially when they lack self-discipline. 
  4. Remote learning fails to influence the development of certain social skills that occur in a traditional setup. Since students interact less with each other in a remote classroom, the opportunities for oral communication, and the development of emotional intelligence are reduced.
  5. With a wide range of online courses available to students, they are spoiled for choice, but this abundance in options makes it difficult to choose the best program. Often, it leads to a lower quality of education and a lack of credibility.
  6. An indirect disadvantage faced by learners using remote learning platforms is the occurrence of technical difficulties. Sometimes a network issue or a software glitch can come in the way of an effective educational experience.   

The onset of remote learning courses, even as programs from schools, is still a relatively new experience. While its advent has taken off to a flying start, there is a lot of room for improvement. However, given the potential for advancements in technology and the favourability of online access, remote learning, whether in coexistence with a traditional setup through blended learning or on its own, will play a major role in future educational experiences. 

Even though many students and parents may still have a fixed preference for a traditional learning experience, the current pandemic mandates that we try different approaches to creating a viable environment for education. Remote learning offers a safe opportunity to receive an education, even in times of social distancing. It provides the prospect of creating accessible quality education to everyone by improving the overall standard of education provided across platforms. So, will you give it a chance?

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