Digital learning drawbacks during COVID-19

Digital learning platforms can be the efficacious tools for dissemination of knowledge and formal education during Covid-19 pandemic, if used properly.

Digital learning drawbacks during COVID-19

We are quite acquainted that digital learning platforms can be the efficacious tools for dissemination of knowledge and formal education. It would be resounding to know that developed countries have opted the option of blended learning for provision of formal education during this pandemic. 

Unfortunately, the medium of online education can’t be implemented in Pakistan owing to slew of technical and administrative loopholes.  The number one concern is connectivity issue which comes under the umbrella of various cellular companies.

Regrettably, students of metropolitan areas have more accessibility to faster connection and bandwidth as compared to remote areas where there is no any name of internet. The fret students of remote areas claim that they have to travel other far reaching areas to complete their lectures which will certainly dampen their physical and financial stability.

Secondly, the other most critical concern is lack of adequate training of teachers. Majority of teachers do not know about the handling of technical glitches while delivering their lectures on virtual platforms like Zoom, Google Classroom, Moodle and Adobe Connect.

I am very apprehensive that many of teachers in our tumbled public sector universities are not aware about these platforms too which should be a real eye opener for Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. It is very sad to utter that HEC has never focused on the training and capacity building of teachers completing their responsibilities in Higher Education Institutions. Owing to which we can’t only chastise our teachers too.

Furthermore, the next critical factor is paucity of resources. We know that our universities have always downplayed digital learning forums owing to which they have never spent any single penny on transforming the physical mode of learning.

We know that their complacent priorities are more inclined towards short term gains rather than long term. So, this pandemic can be the godsend to think for long term in order to avert such circumstances in future.  Besides this, we know about government’s lackadaisical attitude towards education sector owing to which higher education institutions are always overstretched.

In order to ward off these issues, there are certain recommended solutions of digital learning in my opinion.

The number one curative solution can be directing the students to go for self-learning on available e-learning platforms like Coursera, Future learn, edx and Alison learning platform.

The good thing about these platforms is that their content is exceptional and the tutors are from much reputed universities like MIT, Oxford University and Cambridge University etc. One can find any course related to his professional background.

The student who gets more certifications from these platform should be awarded greater portion of marks in his professional exam and should be promoted to the level where he can guide other students through virtual platforms.

The other substitute can be to tweak the learning management system of universities while giving break to students by suspending online classes for specific time.

Higher Education Commission should see the window and liaise with various stakeholders like educationists, politicians, students and telecommunication companies. It should ramp up the dialogue with other countries like United States, Malaysia and South Korea which are more successful in disseminating professional knowledge through online education.

Higher Education Commission has to think that it should not compromise the quality of education amidst severe global recession and uncharted pandemic. It is high time to modulate our decision-making approach to handle pressure point.

By Junaid Ahmed Sohoo

The writer is environmental management student/ researcher and dynamic author.