Taking a Look at Online Learning Platforms

Have you started learning online?

A few years ago, it would be impossible to think that even learning would move online. Gone are the days where a teacher stands in front of a classroom and teaches. Would you have thought that you would prefer to meet your teacher virtually to learn Mathematics? We have started to include digital resources and resources available freely on the internet in our daily lessons.

If we look at how much we have shifted away from traditional classrooms, we note that all teachers note down some form of digital resources in their lesson plans.

In fact, many schools encourage teachers to use as many online resources as possible during their lessons. Many private schools in South Africa attract the attention of parents and children by endorsing themselves as tech-savvy schools. Parents are more willing to pay high fee prices for schools that promise to incorporate technological devices and online resources into learning. So what does the inclusion of technology into learning mean for students?

Well, the use of technology for learning personalises the entire learning process. When teachers and tutors are taught how to teach students, they are advised to structure lessons based on every child's preferred learning style. So a tutor or teacher will have to include movement to cater to the kinesthetic learner's needs and visual elements to cater to the visual learner's needs. Online resources have been crafted in such a way that it takes almost all of the learning needs of learners into consideration.

Many private tutors in today's day and age do tend to use technology more. Tutors have even have started to use online video conferencing programs like Zoom or Cisco Webex to teach your lessons. As accustomed as tutors have become to using online channels to promote willingness to learn, we consider how technology has become effectively integrated into all tutorials. As a student, it would be in your best interest to reap the full benefit of all that technology offers you, and we provide you with the pros and cons of becoming reliant on the online platform for learning.

What e-learning entails
There are a few things you need to know when learning online. Source: Unsplash

When looking for help in all your subjects, you can effectively use online learning to assist you. Look at some of the advantages of online learning.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Learning

Advantage-Storage platforms

If you are considering how online tutorials have become advantageous, it is because it makes possible file-sharing options. We could say that file-sharing is a great advantage in terms of private online lessons. As a student, you would benefit from having a cloud storage platform that contains all the notes that you may need to excel in an exam.

You may find that your tutors share DropBox links with you. Your tutors could also share online free textbooks or materials using Google Drive. The amount of storage allowed on these cloud storage platforms is such that you can even get video lessons from your tutors shared with you too.

Both Google Drive and Dropbox are conveniently easy to use and are free, for the most part. Dropbox allows a certain amount of free space and once that storage capacity limit has been reached, you could upgrade your storage.  Your tutor may give you the option of editing files which means that you can brainstorm ideas for a particular section with your tutor. You could even complete worksheets that your tutor could check in this way.

Tutors of English and Afrikaans have tons of resources like study guides for each set work novel to share with their students and therefore these cloud storage platforms are the most cost-effective because you can save some money that you would otherwise pay for printing. Having online notes as opposed to printed notes is more eco-friendly too.

Advantage-Virtual Learning Platforms

Of late many tutors and schools have set up virtual learning environments which are web portals that allow for various services being offered to students. This virtual learning environment is created to open the lines of communication between students and the tutor or between the student and the teacher.

Online learning platforms allow for news to be communicated, chat services that allow tutors to assist students, and offer remote support. The virtual learning platforms can have chat forums that enable students to discuss work with each other and also encourages peer support.

Teachers and tutors also use these virtual learning platforms to share tests with students that thereafter get graded often by the program used to create these tests and exams so the feedback is instant.  In this way, the tutor and teacher can informally assess each student and thereafter offer the student feedback to improve their grades.

Virtual environments are also good tools that your tutors can use to assist you and check on your progress. You can benefit from certain online learning environments.

Disadvantages-Overwhelming Influx of Information

While online learning may have made your life a breeze, there are some negatives of the online method of learning. Sometimes you may find that your Google Drive is filled with resources and you might not even know where to start using them. Also, you might feel with the influx of information it becomes hard to sift through all the information and find the information that is appropriate for you. It is important for you to note that sometimes it best to get constant tutor guidance when sifting through online content.

Try to stick to only the appropriate content needed before you learn too much information that could be ultimately detrimental to your performance.

Do Students Prefer Online Learning?

While there are advantages and disadvantages of online learning, most students do actually see the benefit of online learning. The truth is that online learning can be as interactive and as student-focussed as traditional classroom learning. Sometimes the idea of being behind the screen gives students more confidence to interact with the tutor and the students feel freer to ask questions.

Students love interactive links and videos that learning online offers to them. Podcasts have also become a popular way to learn content. Many tutors record lessons so students can access these podcasts and learn at any time and anywhere. Podcasts remain forever and can also be a way of revisiting content learnt at a later stage.

Students like online learning as they know they can learn just about anything online.

Learn how to become a painter online
Students can learn how to paint online. Source: Unsplash

Although there are many advantages to online learning, please note that there are also some disadvantages of learning online too.

Tutoring Websites That Work for Tuition

Multiple-Choice Quizzes

One of the aspects of the Cambridge curriculum that works as an effective strategy for even CAPS learners is the multiple-choice evaluation tools that are often used to test students after they have learnt a concept. These multiple choice quizzes are ways to ascertain whether a student grasped the concept or not.

Of all the tools available, the following are of particular interest:

These multiple choice quizzes work to effectively consolidate the concepts learnt and also to see how well topics were grasped. If your tutor doesn't include an element of multiple-choice questions in his or her lessons, you can try these sites out yourself. On Quizzes, there are ready-built quizzes on all topics for most subjects.

Digital Textbooks

Digital textbooks are becoming ever so popular and serve much the same purpose as the hard copy alternative. Students tend to find it much easier to use these digital textbooks. Discovery Education offers excellent online textbooks for students to use for History and Geography.

Digital textbooks make it possible for students to have access to the textbooks used during the online class as these textbooks can be shared easily with students.

No need for hard copies anymore
Online textbooks have replaced the need for digital textbooks. Source: Unsplash

Tutoring Websites that Advocate Learning through Play

"Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But, for children, play is serious learning,"      Mr. Rogers

If you research the link between play and learning, you will realise that through play children actually learn how to learn. You will see that mostly foundation phase and intermediate phase learners seem interested in play but in actuality, we force high school children to grow up when we take away their ability to play. You would be surprised at how beneficial it will be to include play into your lessons so that you can learn more. High school learners will also benefit from educational software and online games specifically created by keeping the idea of learning in mind.

In fact, certain games that teach concepts like Mathletics were developed considering high school children too. So why does incorporating games for all ages assist the learning process:

  • Games encourage full and active participation from students, students are no longer passive participants in the learning process
  • Instant feedback is provided to learners as to whether they are succeeding or failing
  • Playing games allows for healthy competition and team-building
  • Weaker students can have the option of retrying incorrect answers without being demotivated by the software for failed attempts at achieving success
  • Games can focus on teaching one specific concept or can incorporate many concepts at once which will prove to be more challenging for the student.

More interactive websites that are not all about learning and have an element of fun are

  • Genially
  • Thinklink

By using either Genially or Thinklink, tutors can create interactive images that children can view in order to learn something new.

Tutors who use online gaming platforms like, "Teach Your Monster How To Read," as an add-on to their tutorial lessons get far more students excited about their lessons.

You can get engrossed in online learning
There are many perks to becoming fully engrossed in online learning. Source: Unsplash

Tutors everywhere can make use of games as a form of enrichment for lessons. As a student, you will reap many benefits if you are stimulated to learn and enjoy learning as well. You must make use of the right resources provided by your tutor to get you fully engrossed in the learning process and to allow yourself to take full advantage of online learning mediums and tools.

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.

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