Offline education means the traditional way of teaching and studying. There is a class, a teacher, and students, all physically present at a place. Our parents have studied in this way and to date, it is in practice at many places. But now students also have a lot of options at their disposal other than the offline education. The education scenario is changing rapidly and new techniques are being introduced every other day. Now we have made a lot of technological progress and it gave us computers, the internet and a lot of other multimedia devices which are increasingly becoming a part and parcel of the modern education system.
There is also a huge shift witnessed in the ‘typical student’ – now there are part-time, non-traditional, short-term etc. There are also a plethora of Open education resources which are mostly online. For example, if we talk about Indira Gandhi National Open University(IGNOU), the centers of which are spread all over India, though they give hard copy notes in most cases, the exams and results are all online. Online study is referred to as technology-driven learning especially through the internet. Presently, online teaching in India focuses equally on school, college and professional courses. The e-learning market in India is estimated at around $3 billion and the growth is estimated to be around $40 billion. In fact, 25.4% of Indian students have registered for more than one online course. It shows the enthusiasm of Indian students towards online education.
Offline classes are slowly losing their sheen among the students. According to the Global Information Inc., the Global Market in e-learning is set to reach $169 billion by 2018. But given that India being a country very orthodox about its roots, most of the parents still prefer the offline mode of education for their children. Also, the lack of proper infrastructural facilities limits the access of high-speed internet to the students. Also, online courses are not that effective if measured in terms of the completion rate. Even if 20% of the enrolled students complete the course, it is considered as a success and lower than 10% completion rate is considered standard. Online courses are still more of a hobby than an alternative to offline education.
One of the main disadvantages of online education is that it lacks face-to-face interactions. When you are hooked to your online class, you miss the actual look and feel of interactions and the social fabric. These are so much present in offline education. You also lag behind in making friends who are a big support every now and then in life. While in offline education, when you talk to your teacher or classmate it motivates you and clears a lot of your doubts on the spot. You also get a better understanding of the educational materials. Also, when you go to an offline class, it enhances your social experience. It enables you to make friends and form strong social connections. These social interactions can help you both personally and professionally. Also when we go to a college or university to pursue higher education, it helps in building great networks which are really important in today’s world.
One major drawback is also that you are too much in control. With the flexibility that online classes provide, you tend to get lazy and start procrastinating and often end up not finishing the course on time. Most of the college degrees are still not available online. So, you need to enroll yourself in an offline class if you are eyeing those degrees. On another note, it is highly debatable as to what will happen to big colleges and universities if all the students start opting for the online educational systems. These educational institutions took decades to establish a name for themselves and to see them wither off in anonymity will be really sad. The quality of education which they are providing can never be replaced.
But according to statistics, more than a quarter of the students have enrolled themselves in online courses over the past couple of years. Considering the benefits that online education offers, more and more students are now opting for it. But the difference between online and offline education is not as great as we thought. Both the methods are equally efficient. In fact, now traditional offline classrooms are trying to incorporate the advantages of online education in every way possible. There are smart classes running in almost every school now. The teachers allow the students to refer to the internet in order to complete their assignments. Most of the time the curriculum is also the same for both the offline and online classes.
Offline education is a consistent form of learning with a more fluid and consistent approach. In a survey when administrators were asked to compare offline with online education, 51.1% claimed that there was no difference. Also, there is a lack of quality control in online education and also a dearth of high-quality teachers. Also, it demands the presence of the required equipment with a reliable internet connection and electricity supply which many of the students in far-flung areas cannot afford. Also, we are often used to the direct supervision and direction of the teachers and this is absolutely missing in an online course. There is also no continuous tracking of performance according to a particular yardstick.
So, the need of the hour is ‘Blended Learning’ which combines the best of both worlds. It includes a well-thought mix of different types of learning modules which makes the whole learning experience richer and fulfilling. It is on a rise and is used more than either online or offline education. In schools and colleges in India too, we come across this form of learning. The biggest benefit is that it allows the students to personally interact with their students while at the same time being able to access the online resources for their benefits.