Blended Online Learning- Bridging the Digital Divide

We have come one full circle, learning in 'smartphone class rooms' and appearing for 'WhatsApp exams', virtual campus tours to Zoom placement drives, ultimately leading to massive increase in 'screen time'. The last academic session will go down in history as beginning of the `new normal' prompted by coronavirus-induced lockdown.

Packing of bags for first day at school is history now. Cancelled sports day or farewells, no shared lunches and massively increased screen time, marked the 2020-21 academic session. If you think about it, the new academic session was just about to begin a week after the COVID-19 lockdown blew us down.

Smartphones and laptops, which were kind of taboo in schools and meant for restricted usage at home as well, became the lifeline of education throughout the year. COVID-19 pandemic prompted a 360 degree shift from classroom teaching to the online space, including YouTube lectures, Zoom classes, WhatsApp exams and online quizzes.

While students miss going to schools or colleges, experts say the “new normal” has opened doors for blended learning which is going to stay in the future and is not just a “stop gap arrangement”

Traditionally, the advantages of Blended Learning strategy were reduced time and being more cost-effective than traditional classroom training. Blended online learning removes location restrictions and eliminates travel costs. We have learnt new lessons and we believe that these lessons should be taken forward post the pandemic rather than treating them as stop gap arrangement for now.