Disruptive technology has altered people’s perceptions of how the world is working now. While technology is ubiquitous in every aspect of life, education is no exception. In order to offer better equitable access to an exceptional teaching and learning ecosystem irrespective of one’s location, educational institutions have been increasingly turning to the digital channels.
Technology-based education with the right tinge of creativity is what the digital natives are yearning to enhance their learning experience. According to a survey by DataLabs By Inc42, in India, an investment of approximately $1.8 Bn has been done for the edtech startups from 2014 to 2019. Not to mention, things are accelerating at a faster pace than they were predicted.
The need for digital classrooms has changed dramatically for the following reasons- to bridge the skill gaps, to cut cost, to make learning more convenient. Ironically, the so-called gatekeepers associated with these digital transition decisions are also encouraging virtual classrooms at large.
Virtual classrooms have become a global phenomenon soon after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the recognition of this platform has been predicted by the experts way back. According to a report, the student strength is likely to become 2.7 billion by 2035. This colossal increase is detrimental owing to a lack of proper infrastructure. To ensure seamless education in the absence of physical classrooms, digital is the beacon of hope.
That being said, here comes a list of all the good reasons stating why virtual classrooms are a perfect complement to the physical ones.
Virtual classrooms are a surefire way to continue education even when life is stranded- literally and metaphorically. Classrooms of these sorts ensure continuity and uninterrupted learning through multiple digital learning techniques. Starting from web conferencing to distance learning to business continuity, people are enjoying all the academic operations without any impediments. This is one of the primary benefits that swiftly complements the traditional classroom-based model.
Information in abundance
The internet is the ultimate treasure trove of information. One simple search can deliver tens of thousands of information within a fraction of a second. The best part is that most of the pieces of information available are free. In order to leverage this facility rendered by the world wide web, digital learning models are the best bet.
More often than not, resources are of limited availability when it comes to physical classrooms. This, in turn, restricts the learning curve of the students at every level. However, the introduction of digitized learning effortlessly curbs the availability of resources and information. Furthermore, the mentors have the flexibility to update content online as and when needed.
One of the main advantages of a virtual classroom is that it allows the educators and mentors to opt for a customized education catering to the needs of individual students. One-to-one teaching in a physical classroom is a far-fetched dream. Additionally, tutoring a single student limits the chance of mentoring the mass at once.
To negate these uncomplimentary aspects, virtual classrooms are a boon. Such models provide all the necessary features to make way for tailor-made learning for each student. In fact, the mentors can curate the curriculum in accordance with the students’ capabilities. Apart from imparting a holistic format, it’s a proven fact that customised education helps students to get better. Personalized learning advances learners towards critical thinking considering their strengths and weaknesses.
A wise man once said, if the information happens to be the oil of the 21st century, then analytics is surely the combustion engine. Well, that’s the power of data analytics in short. The traditional classroom gives little provisions to assess and analyse a student’s performance curve. Precisely, the physical mode of learning renders the WHATs of performance but not the HOWs.
With real-time data analytics, students get a better understanding of their capabilities and weaknesses in digital learning. Every assessment report is auto-generated and hence is free from errors. By analyzing the data, students are able to rectify the issues and become a better version of the self.
Global peers connection
The student exchange programme has got a whole new meaning after the proliferation of virtual classrooms.
The interactive nature of the virtual classrooms gives students the opportunity to foster relationships with peers around the world. Seeking multiple perspectives welcomes the best of the idea. Moreover, a diverse environment undoubtedly makes the students smarter and empowered. Barring all the group norms and internal politics, virtual environments act as the consolidated platforms for the brainstorming sessions, co-planning, teamwork, and much more.
P.S.- This peer to peer collaboration is very much applicable for educators too.
Documentation of lectures
Gone are the days when missing important lectures would have been a sin. Digitized education allows learners to record the classes. They can replay the live sessions as many times as required to gain in- depth understanding.
Live classes both physical and virtual may pose difficulty for students to interpret everything in the first instance. Giving the option of recording lectures mitigates the issue seamlessly by allowing students to go through the sessions in accordance with their own pace and time.
Time is never a barrier
Time seems to be the wisest counselor, especially in the case of virtual education. A virtual classroom allows students to learn based on their availability. Moreover, there is no need to commute to reach the destination at a predefined time. Apart from live classes, both the mentors and students have the flexibility to do their respective tasks according to the convenience.
So is space
Tying up with the prior point, this is obvious. Virtual classrooms obey no boundary. These take education beyond the confines of a physical classroom defying all the geographical barriers. All it requires to get started is a proper online infrastructure. The digitized learning facilitates the educators and students to get access to the classrooms from their laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Furthermore, each session can accommodate a large number of students without any shortage of physical space.
There are more supportive features that users of virtual classrooms will experience. Read on to unlock ‘em:
Some more features to explore
- Virtual classrooms encourage ease-of-sharing. With the availability of cloud-based learning tools, working on group assignments and storing resources has become easier than ever before.
- The gamification of quizzes makes the learning process fun and interesting.
- Both students and teachers can interact post classes to solve doubts and questions.
- Through such interactions, virtual learning encourages engagement at a greater scale.
- It allows the uploading of content directly from a website.
- Virtual classrooms also provide private and open discussion forums
There is a downside to the virtual classroom, i.e. digital divide. It is a social issue referring to the uneven distribution of educational resources in terms of accessibility and availability. Many of the people staying in the rural parts of the country lack proper access to the Information and Communication Technologies. However, the government is putting all the endeavours to fight this existing digital split and make virtual classrooms available even to the marginalized communities.
Present & Future of digital classrooms
The e-tech industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Taking account of the global pandemic COVID-19, online courses and virtual classrooms have become the norm of every learner’s and mentor’s daily routine. A gamut of schools, colleges, universities, and even businesses have shifted to the virtual education platforms to simplify learning. If sources are to be believed, the entire industry of virtual classrooms will surpass $244 bn by 2022. The best thing is that the virtual classrooms are testing the water to bring in innovations to make mentors and learners the masters of technology rather than its subjects.
With evidence-based approaches and a plethora of new tools, virtual classrooms are giving the ubiquitous access to cost-effective and personalized learning to everyone irrespective of demographics and time. The blended learning ecosystem is helping to enhance interpersonal skills apart from conventional education.
In today’s world of web 2.0, everything is just a click away. Thanks to the advent of virtual classrooms for making education more accessible and impactful.
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