Amidst everything that was going on the most affected domain was that of education. Schools and colleges were shut down, and we had no idea when things were going to normalize so that students could resume their studies. Not just students, the business sector too was clobbered as the market was shut down, a huge population of the world lost employment. The only floating gray area we came across was to shift to online learning, which was an initial challenge but subsequently, we learned to manage and are still trying to normalize ourselves with the new normal.
A subtle shift to new normal
As we veered from the physical world to the virtual realm, we learned some things, we lost touch with a lot of things. It was new, uncertain, exciting, and at the same time challenging. We learned systematic operations of the online platforms and shifted to them professionally and educationally. However, the virtual dilemmas dissolved the peace of mind, and when it vaporized, nobody gotta know. It looked tidy on the forefront but the internal mess was brewing a different storm.
Challenges of e-learning during COVID-19
- The rise of school closures left students especially in rural areas with little hope to resume their studies and in urban areas also, a huge number of students had no clue to a systematic approach to a sudden shift. It took time for teachers as well as the school administration to shift completely online. A lot of time was wasted in due course.
- E-learning demanded the internet. Not all the areas in the country have a good internet connection. Areas affected by natural calamities like floods, thunderstorms, cyclones, were more disorganized and disconnected compared to the lesser affected areas.
- Since physical communication was missing, many people were not able to share their thoughts with their friends and families. Those who were staying away from home, the students who were stuck in their paying guests, hostels, and rented rooms started to feel depressed. They had no one to talk to, the loneliness, the fear of not being with their loved ones had occupied their minds. People were not in a correct state of mind; a little technical glitch left them frustrated and so the hesitancy to shift online in the initial days.
- Many students had no means to connect to the people via virtual means. They didn’t have laptops, smartphones, or computers to switch to the online mode. Without them, there’s no way to the virtual realm. Since none of the devices are available for cheaper prices, they couldn’t buy them at once as well. It created a demented, muddled sort of mindset. Due to huge power cuts in rural areas, the basic demands of the people were not easily met, people became unemployed with the shift of an hour, and so schooling was the least discussed subject and that too a shift to online was a billion dollars thought.
- The online shift gave a boost to social media platforms which again emerged out to be a great distraction because students left classes and were active on social media, which again can be explained in a way that social media allowed them to connect more to the world. But missing classes or leaving them after attendance, not listening to the teachers, not understanding the concepts better, not paying attention because the cameras were off so nobody was watching them. Student sincerity declined in due course of time. Also, with online education came online exams and nobody was studying enough because there were no invigilators. Hence the dedication, commitment, and sincerity waned in students.
- E-learning posed a huge problem for eyesight. Itching and redness and inflation in the eyes and also reported issues of headache, less focused mind, deterring memory retention is an issue that needs to be addressed. Mental health also became an emerging matter which was widely discussed all around the globe. People gained weight, and their physical health was also deteriorating in the meantime because they could not go to gyms, parks, or anywhere else to exercise.
What can be done?
- Government should ensure internet supplies in even the remotest regions of the country.
- Power cuts must be reduced to provide full-time electricity and natural calamities affected areas must be confronted at the earliest to prevent youth from leaving studies and switching to labor jobs.
- Online learning platforms should teach the users how to use them properly, technical glitches are frustrating and demotivating.
- Electronic gadgets should be provided to the ones who don’t have them, only then e-learning is possible and can be made available to all.
- Everyone must meditate to keep their minds calm, cool, and composed. Meditation helps in improving focus and allows a learning depth. It also keeps anxiety and depression away.
- For eyesight and headache issues, people must not spend a lot of time on their screens at a stretch. They can dim the brightness of their screens, can blink more, and should take proper sleep. Do not spend much time scrolling social media, because that is a waste of time, energy and causes impactful damage to eyes and skin.
- We should start to develop a reading culture. We should read more books, be it storybooks, nonfiction, or anything of our choice. Because reading broadens our perspective to look at problems and makes us more solution-oriented, creative, and imaginative.
A shift to the new normal was challenging, but as we move ahead in time, we can also counter them with the above-discussed strategies.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. I lost my job in the pandemic and I am not able to get one. I have also started to feel depressed. What should I do?
Ans: There are a lot of online freelancing jobs available, you can apply to them. Meditate for at least 15 minutes to keep depression away. Read books, it will boost your knowledge, and provide a wider perspective to look at things that you are going through.
2. I am not able to focus on my classes online, I am very much drawn to using social media. How can I counter this habit of mine?
Ans: The best way to counter social media syndrome is to uninstall the application. And try to connect with people, with nature, and try to reflect on your thoughts. Meditate. The best way to regain focus is to meditate.
3. My internet connection is good but I do not like to attend classes online. How can I solve this problem?
Ans: The new shift is not welcomed immediately, but you also have to realize the importance of education. You are lucky to have your classes resumed. Many students had to drop out of their schools, think of them. Value what you have. Try practicing gratitude and you’ll understand the worth of the things in your possession.