COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront an unprecedented scenario where the infection prevails beyond borders. In this article, we will discuss how COVID-19 has affected the educational sector and some of the mechanisms being implemented by different countries for providing alternate modes of learning. It will be followed by a discussion on the best Pakistani online learning platforms to explore some useful resources.
The Emergence of COVID-19 and Online Learning Platforms
After COVID-19 emergence, Different countries restricted the gathering and movement of individuals to maintain social distancing protocols. As a result, most professional sectors encountered a financial crisis including the world of academia.
Impact of COVID on Academia
The impact of coronavirus is evident in the educational sector. As a classroom provides an environment for many students. They come from different families and communities to interact with one another and their teachers. Consequently, the chances of catching the infection from any of these individuals are higher.
Some of the statistics are being shared as reported by UNESCO to analyze the manner in which the virus has affected the academic sector on a global level.
- 990,324,537 students which stand as 56.6% of the total enrolled students are facing the devastating effects of the prevailing pandemic.
- The self-paced E-learning market is anticipated to expand by a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 2.13% after the advent of the pandemic.
- Mobile application usage witnesses a 25% annual increase in terms of usage by individuals 130 countries are maintaining complete closure of their institutes mainly in Canada, Latin America, Africa, and Central Asia.
Whereas, the institutes are being kept partially closed in America, Australia, Russia, and China.
The fundamental impact of this outbreak on students’ life is their discontinuity from the traditional learning environment. Many students studying abroad on scholarships had to return back to their country to continue their studies through a distance mode of learning. Many developing countries have not provided such students with any alternative to stay in touch with their teachers and learning resources.
This disconnection from international exposure has developed several questions within the minds of these young learners as they doubt the validity of their online learning platforms and its legal implication. It can be deduced that the pandemic has directly affected the perceptions of students regarding education from abroad.
Tips to Ensure Continuity of Learning
Firstly, some serious steps should change the perspectives of students in these devastating times. Secondly, the local governments alongside NGOs need to allocate funds. They should establish a Directorate of Online Learning Platforms within different institutions. So that they can start offering short certificates, diplomas, and associate degree programs through an online mode of learning.
As a result, many students facing a halt in their studies would utilize this time to enhance their skills through these short-term online courses. One important role to be performed by an instructor in such times is that of a facilitator for the online learners. Only then, the students would find their missing confidence and trust in online learning platforms. The endeavor should commence from the following initiatives.
Online Instructional Resources
There are various online learning platforms providing basic as well as massive open online courses abbreviated as BOOCs and MOOCs demanding a small fee to process a certificate of course completion. Some of the conspicuous platforms include Udemy, EdX, Skillshare, Coursera, and Youtube.
Many universities have taken a subscription to these resources after the outbreak so that the teachers, as well as students, can utilize their time by getting enrolled in different courses related to their field of interest as well as their area of specialization.
Moving onwards, faculty and researchers should create some asynchronous content in the form of video lectures that can guide the young learners with respect to the manner in which they can continue their studies in these difficult times. Courseware can be developed with the aid of IT Experts and Software Engineers to augment all the online courses within a single website so that the learners can easily find their course of interest.
Real-Time Lessons on Virtual Meeting Platforms
The asynchronous mode of learning will not stand on its own. Rather, students require the active presence of their mentor during their learning journey. Therefore, the online lectures should be accompanied by Live Virtual Meetings through different platforms. Google and Microsoft have brought into their forefront their online meeting features termed Google Meet and Microsoft Teams.
In addition, Zoom Cloud software has the capacity to arrange a group call with more than 100 students. This feature is able to meet the needs of a single classroom where a teacher has to interact with an estimated 30-50 students in a class. One smart feature affiliated with these applications is the option of recording and saving these interactions for other students who were unable to attend the session. Therefore, this feature keeps all students on board with the rest.
Learning Support Service for Students
Many countries have stepped ahead to support their young learners to bear the expenses of their degree programs and online courses. Australian Higher Education Relief Package, Canadian Emergency Student Benefit, Italian Distance Learning Support, Support Package by New Zealand, and Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund by the US Government are all examples that stand out to facilitate the students in such difficult times.
Self-paced Formalized Courses
Funds should be announced by different governments to develop online courses whose deadlines can be reset by students who were unable to continue the course due to some emergency situation. In other words, courses should be self-paced in these difficult scenarios.
Teacher’s Preparedness to Support Online Learning
Although many teachers from the public sector universities are habitual of imparting knowledge through face-to-face interaction with students and are strictly against the application of the online mode of learning. Nevertheless, everyone has realized online learning platforms as the need of the hour being the only solution in the prevailing times. Therefore, teachers have a pivotal role to play in handling these hard times and should mentally prepare themselves to support and guide their students through all online available networks.
Post Covid-19: The Emergence of Hybrid Learning Model
COVID-19 has taught all sectors of life a lesson that they need to evolve their working mechanisms with the changing needs. As we are gradually approaching the 4th Industrial Revolution, we all should be ready to accept working from home, holding meetings through video conference, and teaching our students through a flipped classroom model where the resources are already accessible for students on courseware and students can learn at their own pace. Here, the teacher plays the role of a facilitator. The teacher intervenes only to achieve the course learning outcomes and objectives.
There was a time when online learning, distance education, hybrid learning models, and studying from home or workplace were considered novel approaches to supplement traditional teaching and learning models. However, online learning is no longer a new concept that seems far-fetched and insignificant. Conversely, many individuals prefer to continue their education in continuation with their office routine to support their family on one hand and get qualified for higher positions in the workplace. In addition, online certifications are not as expensive as studying in different international institutes through the traditional classroom environment.
Furthermore, every individual wishes to learn new skills and abilities to stand competitive in the marketplace. Therefore, an increasing number of youngsters and professionals are equally interested to enhance their abilities by getting certified from different international universities by joining their online courses and modules. In this article, we are going to critically analyze the advantages as well as disadvantages of online learning to help you make a rightful decision while embarking on this journey of distance education.
Best Pakistani Online Learning Platforms
Now that you are all set to embark on a memorable journey of online learning platforms, these ten resources can help find the course that suits you best
MDi Pakistan Online Training
If you are planning to become a successful entrepreneur or an IT expert, then sign up for MDi Pakistan Online Training. This forum equips young professionals with a set of skills through which they can battle the economic crisis. You can get a shot training, diplomas, and courses through this online resource.
Pakistan Institute of Computer Sciences
If you intend to bring an influx of foreign currency to Pakistan then PICS will become your favorite online courseware. The forum has multiple online courses to make you a perfect freelancer dedicated to offering the best services 24/7. Join now and see the magic.
You were habitual of taking tuition after your regular classes but now it has become next to impossible due to COVID-19. Join Instutor.com where you can become part of free as well as paid classes and diplomas. The best part of this site is the preparation for university admission tests such as MCAT, ECAT and SAT. So no need to wait any further.
Those of you who wish to revise your syllabus for the board examination alongside the preparation of university entry tests, join a virtual academy. You can find learning resources for all types of admission tests.
The online courseware was launched by the ministry of information technology to provide free courses to online learners who aspire to become freelancers. You can find multiple resources related to Digital Marketing, Freelancing, Ecommerce Management, and other technical courses to begin a successful freelancing career.
Extreme Commerce Boot Camp
This learning resource is similar to Digi Skills but quite rich in terms of the courses available on the courseware. You can find a set of skills related to e-commerce management, becoming a virtual assistant, affiliate marketing, earning by selling books on amazon and so much more.
Although the awareness of blockchain technology and the use of cryptocurrency is at a very primitive stage in Pakistan. However, there are individuals like Waqar Zaka who have stepped ahead to offer basic education of learning about blockchain technology and to invest in this emerging domain of investment. You can find courses to understand the basics.
COMSATS University stands among the leading universities of Pakistan in the domain of information technology. Keeping in view the emerging need of providing distance education and online learning resources, the university has launched its online courseware offering lectures of different disciplines. Log in to CCW and enjoy the lectures.
Virtual University of Pakistan
Many of us are so busy in our daily routine that it becomes hard to connect with the synchronous mode of education. The Virtual University of Pakistan offers online degree programs where students can move at their own pace. Watch the online lectures, submit the quizzes and assignments within the given time frame and just appear in the final examination. You can find various degree programs varying from MS to Ph.D.
The best teachers are available in the palm of your hand. That is right. Download the noon app from the play store and select the subject. You can attend live classes of your favorite teachers through this app. So no need to wait any further. Start on noon.com
Top Four Benefits of Online Learning
If you have the experience of taking an online course offered by any institute you will be familiar with its strengths. However, for individuals who are planning to turn their work from home routine into a virtual classroom to attend an online course, keep in mind these top four benefits while going through different lessons as these factors would stand as your source of motivation.
Access to a Wider Audience
Online Learning goes beyond borders. The learners are independent of the restrictions of space and time. In other words, you can find yourself among peers enrolled in a common course coming from different countries, ethnicities, and cultures. Therefore, Spatio-temporal independence within online education provides access to a wider audience giving rise to a multi-cultural, multi-linguistic, and multi-ethnic audience. Resultantly, you develop your perspectives by looking at the world from the lenses of your fellows coming from different backgrounds.
Online Learning is quite cost-effective. It saves your traveling to and from your institute. Conversely, all you require is a quiet study zone where you can simply attend the online lectures and discussion boards. You need not worry about buying food from your cafeteria. Furthermore, the traditional education system involves purchasing several course books and submitting security and maintenance fees on a regular basis. However, the online experience of learning excludes all these expenditures.
Ease of Connectivity
Another benefit affiliated with online learning is the ease of connectivity. In a traditional classroom environment, the slots are already specified for a learner to interact with an instructor. Furthermore, an individual has to take special permission for meeting their teachers in person during off-class timings. However, the situation is quite opposite in distance education as it provides synchronous as well as asynchronous modes of connecting with your teachers as well as other fellows. In addition, your teachers are always available online to guide and assist you in understanding some difficult concepts. You can always share your queries through email, MS Teams, ZOOM, Google Meet, or any other application. The basic point to consider is the ease of reaching out to your teachers in order to resolve the discrepancies.
Tailored to Business Needs
Another benefit that comes with the online mode of education is Human Resource Training and Development. Online courses can be designed in a manner that these are able to develop the essential skills of your employees. Finding the right online courses for your workforce would help you build a strong company culture. Hence, this would be beneficial for the overall development of your organization.
Basics of Transformation in Online Education
Learning Management System plays a critical part in making a connection between the students and their educator and its effectiveness decides the nature of the web-based instruction and learning. Changing from the conventional method of advancing inside a homeroom or an assembly hall is difficult in specific conditions which is the reason it is urgent to examine hints for smooth progress to LMS-based instruction and learning.
There is nothing out of sorts in consolidating a brief and fast video giving an outline of the LMS close by the usefulness of its various areas. This virtual directed visit would help a few likely purchasers in understanding the essential strides enlisted. In the event of an authority setting, a unique Hands-On Practice and Exercise Session should come into action at customary spans. These studios will give a commonsense encounter of the relative multitude of hypothetical ideas they have gained from the recordings.
The progress to LMS would turn into an easier thing if the greater part of the systems is mechanized. As such, the clients are not expected to finish their enlistments. In the wake of going through a progression of steps of getting enrolled. Besides, robotized messages and visits can work with your representatives in doing their correspondence all the more proficiently. Moreover, predictable tokens of forthcoming assignments would work with the web-based students. Also, it will help the representatives of an organization in gathering up with the dispensed cutoff times. Hence, mechanization is crucial for adjusting the LMS-based method of instructing and learning.
Ensure that the substance transferred on the LMS is language amicable. In this way, the language utilized ought to be basic, and straightforward. The main element is the accessibility of perusing the text in various dialects. Remember that in an internet-based method of educating and learning, your understudies come from various sociolinguistic foundations. Along these lines, they expect to observe the subject of interest deciphered inside their neighborhood dialects. Multilinguistic LMS content would make the progress more advantageous for the youthful students. A similar rule applies to preparing the workers of an organization by deciphering the substance in neighborhood dialects.
Remote Entry to The Assets
In the setting of preparing the workers of an organization, ensure that the assets accessible on LMS ought to be effectively available. This would work with the representatives in improving their efficiency. Moreover, you would have the option to draw a global crowd to join your human asset. This will be possible after effectively finishing the internet preparation. What’s more, ensure that the LMS likewise gives the choice of signing in through a student’s cell phone. These days, advanced buyers like to help the entrance of various substances through their cell phones.
The accessibility of Mobile amicable LMS would work with the change cycle for the youthful students and representatives. Remember to keep the substance on the LMS assorted and intelligent. So, the clients can track down every one of the significant courses and prepare projects for their advantage and needs. One savvy move from your side is doing an itemized review at your association. This is to distinguish the issues by your representatives at the workplace. You can expand your exploration among different associations connected with your own firm. This information will go about as a guide for you to decide on the courses to incorporate inside your LMS. At the point when the students will recognize their favored courses, the variation with the LMS would become unconstrained.
24 Hours IT Support
Even though your undertakings of making the LMS adaptable and simple to utilize are on point. Still, your representatives as well as the youthful students might discover a few escape clauses. They really like to feature these questions and inconsistencies. The goal is that the students may look at these issues. You really want to have a proficient IT Help Center accessible 24 hours all through the week. As the students might sign in as per their own time regions. It is OK to have the visit bots helping you in dealing with these questions. By the way, your own presence would make the meeting a more intuitive structure of trust.
Towards the end, prior to sending off your LMS formally, you can generally go for running the beta adaptation. So, this will assist you with distinguishing the shortcomings of online learning platforms. The exclusion of these provisions would help you make the progress far more straightforward than your own assumption.