“Education cannot be effective unless it helps a child open up himself to life.”
What Maria Montessori remarked is even more pertinent in the twenty-first century, because scholastic superiority is no longer sufficient to ensure success and pleasure in life and work. Holistic development via education, beginning at a young age, is more vital today than it was a century ago.
Holistic learning is a relatively recent method of education in which the educator tries to meet the learner’s physiological, interpersonal, artistic, intellectual, ethical, cognitive, and religious requirements as well as his or her intellectual demands. It is founded on the belief that learners may find their identity and purpose in life through making connections with their local community and the natural environment, as well as instilling universal human values like empathy, inclusion, integrity, and respect. A school environment is designed based on these beliefs and the sudden wave of pandemic & online learning has impacted the core of the normal learning ecosystem in some ways.
The wave of online education
With the emergence of COVID-19 and the ensuing quarantine, online education has now become mainstream to continue with the education during any such event. Students from different classes, religions, castes, races, and ethnicities engage, communicate, and participate in an online class, boosting awareness and a feeling of connection for students from diverse backgrounds. Online learning serves the diverse requirements of individual learners even without the physical connection with the availability of customizable content, unlimited learning resources available online, and the freedom to discuss & sort any query one-on-one with the mentor. Texts, graphics, videos, lessons, and multimedia content all play an important part here in making the online learning environment engaging & interesting for learners. The advanced features of online tests, assessment, report generation and quick access to lessons & resources make it highly useful for the teachers & saves on time. It also provides a chance to establish the link between parents and teachers by incorporating parents or guardians more thoroughly in online lessons since they take place at home. Not only schools, colleges & universities are running online classes but people are finding it extremely beneficial in opting for upskilling courses, certifications & online tutions from the safety of their home. Besides safety being an undeniable aspect of opting for online learning, the accessibility to quality learning & education is also a major factor.
Impediments in online education
Unfortunately, various issues impede online education, particularly in India. One of them is a lack of fair access to a computer or smartphone, as well as high-speed internet connectivity in many parts of the country. Not all learners may feel comfortable learning online being a comparatively new medium. Aside, many children find it difficult to focus on online classes because of the distraction available on devices and home. The absence of a structured routine designed for the holistic development of a child which includes a mix of academics, sports, cognitive, communication, and personality development also affects children. Somehow, the online classes also get mundane if not crafted carefully. Not being in the company of their classmates & attending the sessions online, children also miss out on the collaboration skills they get to learn while being inside the classrooms. Now, with the classes starting back physically, schools & parents both are willing to start school afresh.
While the challenges do not directly impede the spread of holistic knowledge, they must be addressed in an attempt to implement online education economically and universally acceptable. The need is to incorporate a hybrid learning structure wherein it includes classroom learning with online learning for a safe yet holistic development of children. Classroom learning helps develop social skills, collaborative learning, interactions, etc to make a great difference in the development and online would help in reinforcing the learning effectively.
We will be able to incorporate comprehensive components of learning, only when the challenges are addressed and a hybrid approach is adopted.
Students’ experiences with online education
Before entering the real world, online learning has assisted pupils in becoming autonomous learners. During the session, students had the opportunity to explore new learning tools and platforms, diverse content with video references, practical tools & experiments, activities & wider access of online learning material which assisted them in developing new skills and capacities and increasing their growth trajectory. Students have been reacting positively to the dynamic learning environment that teachers have built online, while others require a nudge in fits and starts.
The future appears to be bright
Education technology systems are transforming the education industry in India today by democratizing excellent education through the provision of low-cost online classes and courses. Indeed, such projects have demonstrated that, from an academic standpoint, online learning is just as beneficial as traditional learning. Fortunately, as online learning continues to fine-tune itself to suit the ever-changing demands of students worldwide, the addition of holistic components will eventually follow.
Digital learning has made it possible to organize and preserve data and folders without causing any physical damage. Students may access their notebooks and assignments with a single click, eliminating the risk of losing or spoiling them. Technology-enabled learning is advantageous and has been shown to be more engaging since it helps to make things that are typically deemed boring by students more dynamic and interesting. From an early age, online education is clearly helping towards the holistic development of learners. As a result, the education technology industry is expanding, with a bright future ahead of it.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.