‘Wonders never cease and time stops for none’, thus to keep parallel with the accelerating time and the ever-changing fashions of life, one needs to pace up in accordance with the contemporary world it inhabits. Since the early 16th century, humankind has been into adopting and cultivating within themselves, vital skills and knowledge, through the Traditional form of education. Deeming the universal truth which states that time has its ways of altering, and we being its puppets have to necessarily adhere to it, we as a whole, are gradually paving our paths towards the reformed form of education, namely the Digital education. Without wasting another minute, we will dive into a brief description of both the forms of education, their juxtapositions, as well as why the online kind of learning is here to stay.
Traditional education, also known by the names ‘back -to- basics’ education, ‘customary’ education, or the ‘conventional’ education, is the type of education traditionally being used in schools, colleges or be it an educational institution for an evidently long trail of years now.
It refers to the ‘typical face to face learning interaction that occurs in a physical location’, a college, or a school campus.
Traditional education is a teacher-centered form of education wherein the teachers playing the role of an active person imparts instructions to the fellow students, who then in turn act as the passive receiver of those teachings. In this form of education, the primary attention is laid on the ‘teacher-recitation and student-memorization’ technique, giving little importance to the basic needs and understanding of students, which actually should have been the foremost point of focus. Teachers thus act as an intermediary between the course curriculum and the students, transmitting the same from traditional resources like texts of voluminous books, journals, and sometimes even audio and videotapes.
In the words of educational progressivism ‘john dewey’, traditional education is when in individuals are induced “skills and standards of moral and social conduct that adults consider necessary for the next generation’s material and social success, imposed from above and outside”.
This type of education is considered to be beneficial as it involves real-time class participation by students, efficient interaction, communication, and doubt –clearing sessions between teachers and students, scheduled learning infusing discipline, and also have socializing benefits as it includes the conduction of various extracurricular activities and sports. Simultaneously, some features of the traditional learning approach, which hold it back are, the insignificant heed paid to student understanding but to futile book cramming which leads to less expansion of student’s mental horizon, thus making this system of education considerably less effective and results in the ill-suited usage of time and resources. Traditional learning might also be accompanied by ‘corporal punishments’ for discipline and racist discrimination among the students or by teachers themselves. Keeping a note of all these drawbacks, and with the coming of the digital age, we are now progressing towards what is known as Digital education.
Digital education is the form of education wherein ‘learning is accompanied by technology’. This technology could be of any type of encompassing mobiles, laptops, computers, Ipads, tablets, e-textbooks, and OERs (open educational resources) as well. Some examples of the digital resources include RSS or social readers, Google communities, YouTube channels, I-tunes U, Cloud-based word processors (Google drive), Dropbox, and other apps as well (according to Wikipedia).
Digital education comprises the genres namely blended learning (has features of both traditional and virtual education i.e. a hybrid), flipped learning (a type of blended learning where teachers record the lesson and students take those at home), personalized learning (according to the students’ own speed) and gamification (techniques like point-scoring and level-upgradation are used in learning and fitness arenas).
The aim of digital education isn’t to completely eliminate the traditional approach of learning, but to enhance the current teaching strategies into something far better, structured and convenient, so as to evolve with the evolving world. Studies say that the traditional form of learning can never be completely substituted by digital learning, resulting in both these forms coexisting together.
Digital education is where it prevails a personalized kind of learning experience that works according to the student’s own speed of imbibing the teachings and comprehending them without any external pressure of lagging behind or catching up quickly with the teacher’s pace. Thus this type of education leads to an increase in individual development and productivity and infuses in them the ability of reasoning and varied skills. Many of the online courses are even available for free, which makes this approach more affordable (especially for the rural sector) and also inculcates within learning students, a sense of confidence and competence. Students with their respective parents and teachers can even track the learning students’ progress rates, thus providing proper transparency to both the parties.
Collaborative learning on a small as well as large scale can also take place in digital learning, where students from different parts of the world can come together, have enriching discussions, and do creative assignments, which will instill in them, the qualities of teamwork and decent communication skills. All these characteristics of digital learning also make it immensely notable in the corporate world, where the working class can educate themselves whilst pursuing their career or polish their soft and hard skills, through webinars by distinct mentors. At the same time, what manages to pull back this form of education is the less face to face interaction involved in It ( acting as a barrier in student-teacher doubt clearing and relationship building), lack of schedule leading to less discipline in students, too much dependence on, and addiction of gadgets and technology (extended screen time can cause health issues like insomnia, migraine, eyestrain, hearing loss, etc ), and lack of motivation amongst students and teachers. The poor internet connection can act as a major hindrance to digital learning.
But, be what may the drawbacks, digital learning covers no spoon-feeding of the curriculum by teachers but pushes the students to contemplate, a trait quite noteworthy. This reminds me of a quote by ‘Rene Descartes’ – “I think therefore I am”.
A considerable amount of people are under a prevalent misconception which states that digital and online learning are the same concepts, but they actually aren’t. Instead, online learning is a kind of digital learning. Online learning is any type of learning that takes place over the internet, it’s just one of the various virtual-learning techniques.
COMPARISON BETWEEN TRADITIONAL AND DIGITAL EDUCATION
There are some concurrently existing, major, and basic differentiation between traditional and digital learning. Some of them are as follows-
- Where traditional education revolves all around the oral recitation and memorization technique, digital education considers memorization baseless and prioritizes student understanding.
- Students in the traditional form of learning are grouped according to their age and taught the same material at the same pace, keeping above the teacher’s interest over students’, whereas, in digital form of learning, students are grouped according to their interests and abilities, and not their age.
- Traditional education might lead to maltreatment of students by other students or even by teachers on the basis of their caste, religion, color, and language, whereas this cannot be the case in virtual education as there is no direct face to face interaction. However, security and cyber-bullying issues might be a concern herein.
- Traditional learning focuses on grades and independent learning ( not depending on technology), whereas digital learning lays a major focus on an individual’s knowledge, skills, self-awareness, and personal development.
- The student-teacher relationship under traditional education involves direct contact, is too formal and the teachers being addressed by their last names and titles like Ms. Or Mrs. whereas digital education involves indirect interaction between the teachers and students, and the relationship is not as formal as the former case.
- Traditional learning is considered to be a costlier and more disciplined alternative as compared to digital learning, which is rather a more cost-effective option but a less disciplined one.
- In the case of the traditional approach of education, the knowledge of students is limited to that of their teacher, whereas in the case of the digital approach of education, students can themselves research and create content.
- Traditional education is deemed a rigid type of learning as it takes place within a demarcated place and scheduled time, whereas the digital education is a more flexible type, as learning herein can take place anywhere and anytime.
WHY ONLINE EDUCATION IS HERE TO STAY-
Keeping in mind the point of differences above, any kind of education based on technologies or running over the internet might prove to be a more systematic and suitable type, for the coming future.
Today are living in a tech-driven world where people are doubtlessly more drawn towards time and cost-effective ways of acquiring education. Also, for the past some years, traditional degrees were belittled and not considered as valuable, unlike today’s era, wherewith the progressing time, people (employers and employees) are also progressing towards advanced forms of learning, and are willingly accepting online degrees as well.
Online education is also managing to suppress its primary limitation of indirect interaction through some web learning portals and websites, which are majorly concentrating on the imparter- receiver suited communication as a fundamental part of the online learning experience. And not to forget how this unconventional form of learning is a modest, reachable, and fitting educational system for all, irrespective of one’s economical background.
“The open university in Britain has found that online courses equate to an average of 90 percent less energy and 85 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions per student than in traditional in-person courses”. (Source – Dexway team) This vividly shows how the online means of education is also a greener and more environmental option to go with.
There’s a famous quote from the much-loved movie ‘The fault in our stars’, which goes like, “the world is not a wish-granting factory”, and that ineffably stands true in all life spheres. How we wished for 2020 to be an amazing year or at least one with relatively fewer hurdles, and how it turned out to be akin a frightening nightmare that will remain imprinted in our memories forever. And in pandemic times like these, is when virtualization of education acts as a knight in shining armor, for one and all.
“The show must go on”, and so will the imparting of knowledge and education whatever comes the world’s way, until and unless we have breakthrough means of online learning, facilitating us satisfactorily.