Online learning in the Philippines is here to stay. There have been many challenges when the government announced that schools and higher education go digital. The transition happened in a matter of months. And everyone is just scrambling to get it done. Face-to-face learning has always been favored. But because of COVID-19, we have no choice but to embrace digital learning. And as we get accustomed to remote, here are the things we need to do to overcome the challenges.
Face to Face Learning: a thing of the past
Well, the most obvious reason is that students and teachers can interact face to face. Learning is more conducive because instructors and students take cues from speech and body language. You get instant answers and interaction. There is an opportunity for social interaction and support. Plus, you have access to on-campus student facilities. The disadvantage, on the other hand, is the travel and cost. And since this is group learning, teachers may not be able to accommodate all questions. Or shy students may have a hard time asking questions. Learners have a different learning curve. And you might a hard time absorbing the material at the same time.
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Then COVID-19 happen
The Philippines have 459, 789 Coronavirus cases as of December 21, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a severe impact on education. The authorities have primarily ruled out face-to-face classes for the rest of 2020 after President Duterte said students would have to stay home until a virus vaccine is available. There are some challenges as Filipinos shift to remote learning. But the biggest issue is the uneven socioeconomic status of students. More impoverished families are at a disadvantage because they do not have access to Wi-Fi, a PC desktop or laptop, and other gadgets needed for online learning. Families with more disposable income also face challenges. Although learning devices is not a problem, the country’s internet infrastructure is not ready for remote learning. Intermittent internet connectivity is expected in between classes making the students frustrated.
The Philippines has the lowest internet connectivity in Asia.
And the transfer of learning is often disrupted. Also, there is no face-to-face contact with fellow students or course staff. You need sufficient self-motivation to finish the modules.
How to Overcome the Disadvantages of Online Learning
The sudden shift to remote learning poses a considerable challenge amongst Filipino students. It would some time for all Filipinos to be vaccinated. For the time being, students will be learning digital. On the other hand, the advantage of remote learning is the cost, and you will learn at your own pace. But to overcome the challenges, you need to approach online learning differently.
First and foremost, accept that this is the new normal. Face to face learning may become a thing of the past. Even if the COVID-19 vaccine is available, learning institutions are now shifting to digital learning platform permanently. I am also an online learner (doing an MBA). The first thing I would recommend to everyone is to have a student calendar. List your course curriculum outline, or have a printout. Second, you need to do a pre-study before attending your online class. This is more self-motivated. And having a sheer amount of curiosity is one of the critical things to succeed in this platform. Also, you need to think of your teachers as facilitators. Do not expect them to teach you everything online without even reading your modules and understand the lessons. If you do not understand the readings, ask them via your chat forum or other messaging tools.
The Future of Online Learning
Online learning in the Philippines is here to stay. The good news is that learning institutions are getting more efficient to shift to the next school year’s digital platform. This school year has definitely some challenges, but it will be better in the coming years. Also, both will adopt numerous learning delivery options such as but not limited to face-to-face, blended learnings, distance learnings, and home-schooling, and other modes of delivery.
Len Peralta is the creator of LCM Digital Training. Her expertise focuses on soft skills namely Communication Skills, Leadership, Critical Thinking and Entrepreneurship. Follow her on Twitter @peralta_len