The Corona Virus crisis has cast a shadow over the education sector, as schools, universities, and educational institutions pushed to close their doors, reducing the chances of its spread. This raised significant concern among those affiliated with this sector, especially students who are ready to take exams that they prepare for fate, such as Al-Tawjihi, Cambridge, and others, in light of a crisis that may be prolonged.
All of this pushed educational institutions to switch to E-Learning, as a long-discussed alternative and controversy about the necessity of integrating it into the educational process, especially after the educational process was directly affected by the automation of industry and the development of “artificial intelligence” technology and the Internet Internet of Things, as well as the information technology revolution that invaded most forms of human life and became an integral part of it.
Between the generation called “X”, which is characterized by its attachment to smartphones and the use of different applications, and between the industry’s need for technically skilled cadres, the integration of technology into the educational process has become a global trend. The provision of educational material through mobile devices for “Generation X” has become a catalyst for learning rather than merely studying traditional studies, as it develops appropriate knowledge and skills that qualify it to meet the needs of the labor market.
The use of the Internet in the educational process is not born today but dates back to before 2000. Most universities today use what is called “Learning Management Systems.” In light of the “Corona Crisis” that the world is experiencing, most educational institutions have directed towards e-learning as a more appropriate alternative to ensure the continuity of the educational process. The use of online video chatting applications such as Zoom, Google, Meeting, and WebXmate has increased significantly, among others.
According to Techcrunch, downloads of these programs reached 62 million times between March 14-21, 2020, i.e., with the start of traffic bans in many countries. The use of many educational applications and programs, such as Google Education Bag, Office 365, Apple applications, evaluation services sites, and interactive activities, has also doubled.
According to the same site, iOS and Google software downloads increased by 45% in a week, and many readers of these lines may experience these experiences themselves while they are “forcibly” staying in their homes.
Despite the positives of e-learning, many questions remain in the minds of its effectiveness as a complete alternative to traditional methods, and how prepared for that? What are the challenges facing e-learning?
Educational content: Many teachers resort to what is called “Instructional Design”, in order to prepare an educational material that achieves the goals with high efficiency. This design is generally based on studying the educational needs of students, setting goals and appropriate means to meet them, and tools to measure the extent of learning and feedback. Examples used in the instructional design are ADDIE, ASSURE, and others. E-learning is no exception.
But what’s the challenge here? There are several aspects that should be considered before using e-learning. We offer the most important of them:
– Teaching aids: Choosing educational methods constitutes a fundamental challenge in the traditional and electronic instructional design, but in the latter, it is higher, especially with the urgent need to employ interactive learning that increases the attention of students by involving them directly as contributors rather than as recipients, and this will increase the motivation factor and achieve better results. Here, the teacher must make a determined effort to determine the appropriate interactive means for each goal. The process of involving students in different places and maintaining their attention across devices is not easy, but it is certainly not impossible.
The same applies to the evaluation process, in particular for the calculation of marks (Summative Assessment). While written examinations are the most common method, especially in mid-term and final exams – despite the marked shift towards alternative evaluation methods – the electronic evaluation seems complicated, because the monitoring process cannot be difficult in order to avoid fraud using the same devices.
There are a lot of programs and applications available on the Internet to achieve student interaction in the educational process individually or in groups, including Quizzes, Socrative, Padlet, Kahoot and Mindmaps, not to mention the applications provided by Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others. All that the teacher needs is proper planning to choose the appropriate method for each educational goal, but it may not yet be sufficient for the final evaluation and monitoring of students’ scores.
– Covering different needs and learning styles: Considering the diversity of learning styles is part of planning elements for a fair and effective educational process. There are – according to (VARK) Fleming and Mills model – four basic modes of learning: auditory learners, visual learners, and dynamic (Kinesthetic Learners), and the Read and Write Learners learning style.
The responsibility of the teacher here is to diversify his means to cover different needs. Focusing on speaking from his side during the time of the educational session may be appropriate for the hearing, but it is tedious for the visual and the dynamic. Here, the teacher needs to choose the proper programs and applications to prepare a “combination” of educational materials in line with the different styles.
The readiness of the teacher: The term “Baby Boomers Gen” is called on the groups that were born between 1944 and 1964, and one of the biggest problems facing this category – with regard to the subject of this article – is the readiness to use modern technology in the learning process, This is not a derogation from them, but it is a reality imposed by the late discovery of many devices of technology and applications.
It was among those who felt the importance of joining her knees, so he learned and used them, and some of them thought that he was indispensable to them. However, the tyranny of technology, the passion of generations with it, and the environmental awareness of the need to reduce the use of leaves, to other factors; led to a gradual and massive shift towards technology, which constituted a shock for this group, which has now become under the reality of the necessity to use technology, and in more detail than downloading files And share them on electronic clouds even further.
And there is another category – not from this generation but from “generation X” and “generation of millennials” (millennials) – she lived in a state of denial and neglect of all these variables, she did not use technology appropriately in the past, and she now lives in the same dilemma, but she may be better than the previous generation, given its knowledge of the basics of technology.
Therefore, the Corona crisis resulted in the launching of courses for teachers in the field of e-learning and its various means. There is no doubt that they will face a “funny” challenge, which is the speed of their students in keeping pace with technology compared to them, and their choice here is to accept it with a sporty spirit and some fun!
There remains an essential question in the minds of many, which is: Will the momentum of e-learning continue after Corona, or will it fade and things return to their previous track? There are many opinions here among those who think – or may wish – that things will return to what they were, and those who believe that the long-awaited e-learning is irreversible. This may be the focus of another article.