In 2020, the whole world was hit by the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) which initiated the lockdown measure, where citizens were ordered to stay at home for some months. In Africa, and Ghana to be precise, this measure affected a lot of economic activities, especially in the educational sector; hence Ghana was left with no choice but to transition from the traditional face-to-face method of teaching and learning in classrooms to virtual online to save the sector.
WHAT IS ONLINE LEARNING?
Online learning is a method of education whereby students learn in a virtual environment via computer or laptop or smartphone with the aid of applications such as Zoom or Google meet. It is also termed e-learning. Online learning according to Paul Levinson, can be a lifeline to those who have obstacles such as geographical distances or physical.
REACTION TO THE ONLINE LEARNING METHOD
Online learning, which had been underutilized in Ghana until 2020 was introduced as a teaching method medium. Many students found it boring and awkward because you would be listening to or watching your tutor on a computer device with a bad network system, and you would not have the chance to ask questions or understand a specific topic effectively because it was time-bound per the data usage compared to the traditional learning, where you have colleagues to interact with, share ideas, and ask more questions which made lessons interesting.
Notwithstanding, there is a saying that, time heals and as the clock ticked faster each day. Students grew to accept this new dimension in the educational sector. The student now understands that it saves time, and allows you to concentrate on other important activities in life. Also, it saves money since we do not travel a distance to go to school. Moreover, when it comes to graduation for tertiary students, most universities organize their graduation online.
BENEFITS OF ONLINE LEARNING
ADDED FLEXIBILITY AND SELF-PACED LEARNING
Through online learning, you have the rare opportunity of planning your schedule to achieve a balance in your professional and academic life. In summary, you study at your own pace and convenience.
OPPORTUNITY TO REVISIT PAST MATERIAL AND PAUSE LESSONS.
When learning online, you can revisit past material or pause the lessons to perform additional research or organize your notes. You can work through the lesson plan at your own pace to ensure you grasp the topic before moving on to the next section. This allows online learners to move through the coursework at their speed and get the most out of the degree program.
BETTER TIME MANAGEMENT
One of the things employers seek from their employees is the ability to manage time effectively. Online classes keep you on a regular schedule of making and meeting deadlines, allowing you to practice managing your time and staying productive week-to-week. Employers often appreciate the time management skills needed to complete an online degree program and view these skills as a valuable asset to potential employees.
NEW TECHNICAL SKILLS
Online learning also inculcates strong technical skills, which is a positive plus for any job seeker. In your learning process, you will likely need to utilize digital learning materials, get familiar with new tools and software, such as Google meet, Zoom, Skype, etc. which will be beneficial when you find yourself remote working with virtual team members.
Online learning may have some impediments when it comes to internet access in some areas in Ghana or the cost of data but as Philip Regier, VP and Dean of ASU online will say there may be challenges associated with online learning, however, online education has come to stay and will certainly thrive.