With the current online learning culture being imposed on everyone, there is only little one can do to avoid it. So instead, there should be a focus on how to make the best out of this situation, as in how to make a learning environment that is more accommodating, stress relieving and comfortable for both the teachers as well as the students. In its essence, how do we make this entire virtual learning process more “human”.
As a human, our biggest asset is our compassion. And tough times like these ask for us to show it even when push comes to shove. It is, thus, imperative to make learning more compassionate, for students and the teachers. Let's dive into the possible ways of making it happen, right away.
1. Personalize Learning For Everyone
Every student has a different pace of learning. Some grasp concepts faster than the others, while some fall behind. Now in virtual classrooms it is difficult to pinpoint those lagging behind because of the loss of physical interactions amongst the teachers and students. So the only way to do it is through monitoring every student’s performance, that is, what they understand, what they don’t understand and the like. Institutions can use tracking facilities for the same, to create an accommodating atmosphere and to tailor the e-learning experience for every student.
2. Community Experience
We know that the teachers as well as the students miss the in-classroom feel. Of students discussing the topics being taught amongst each other on the spot, and teachers being able to listen to those discussions, unfiltered. But with mute buttons and off screen texting, this sense of community of a classroom is lost. It actually occurs as an isolating experience for everybody, because teaching screens and learning from them was never a preference, especially in the Indian culture. Thus it is essential to cultivate an environment of interdependence and mutual consciousness to get the physical classroom touch.
3. Teaching-Learning Must Go Both Ways
While teachers are fumbling with technology, students are pretty much avid users of the same. Teachers can hence take help from the students to perfect the skill of conducting classes online through constant feedback and guidance. Through keyboard shortcuts and working with unfamiliar software's, if teaching and learning becomes mutual, there are chances that both the parties understand each other better, thus making the learning process more human.
4. The Sensitizing Factor
The pandemic hasn’t exactly been easy on everyone. People suffered through personal losses and grief regardless of their age and socio-economic statuses. In times like this, it is essential to understand and empathize with each other. Whether it is through flexible deadlines, communication without intrusion, or just listening to the problems faced by a person, understandability goes both ways here. The students could let their peers and faculties know about their grievances and likewise the faculties could mention their hardships and hurdles. This builds sensitivity towards each other because of the understanding that everybody is on the same boat, which is something even formal education couldn’t achieve.
5. Candid Interactions
Since the whole system of education is running through electronic devices, with passive conversations via emails or impersonal forwarded messages, communication transparency is taking the backseat. Hence, it is important to have a channel that creates awareness about the persisting conditions in the campuses, in a manner that does not appear cold and distant. This therefore does not leave room for communication gaps and misinterpretations. Also, because interactions between peers aren't limited to the scope of the syllabus in physical classrooms, it is only fair that it happens in online learning spaces as well. So, every student must have access to uncluttered information to know the exact happenings and events in their institution. This helps revive the humane aspect of academic institutions.
E-learning is the need of the hour right now, and will possibly be a part of the education system for a long time ahead. We might have to go through multiple adjustments and alterations in the existing methods of E-learning to make it more mindful of everyone’s plight. Though technology cannot replace humans, in this scenario, it can play a major role in rewriting the existing rules of education. This system appears to be less institutionalized, less curated and less controlled than what came before, but we sure can use it to our advantage. With considerate attention and a willingness to create a nurturing learning space we surely can make virtual learning more humane.