Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, e-learning either by online or distance learning was not as popular, mainly because it could socially isolate their children. However, now that it has been proven that children are not immune to COVID-19, parents have decided that continuing their children’s education at home is the safest option.
American states in which governors forced schools to reopen by way of in-person classes, saw the numbers rise among children who tested positive and fatalities among young people below 18 years old. Lack or disregard of social distancing in school premises is seen as the main reason for the continuing spread of the disease.
Since social isolation is now the new norm, what parents need to decide on in going forward with their children’s education is the e-learning method adopted by the school. Choosing between online or distance learning depends not only on what a school adopts; but also, on a household’s general situation and ability to acquire Internet connectivity.
Main Difference Between Online and Distance Learning
Inasmuch as change in the method of delivering education is imperative, parents need to be clear about the main difference between online and distance learning. Both methods involve remote teaching and learning, whilst requiring use of a communication device and digital applications.
In online learning,, students and teachers come together in a virtual classroom; using video conferencing technology, while discussing and working on digital learning materials related to the subject. Additional forms of communication may be in use, such as discussion boards, messaging apps and email.
In a distance learning arrangement, teachers will give students learning modules and materials to work on, while on their own. Although students enjoy the freedom of choosing their learning schedule, teachers give deadlines for submission of assignments and projects by way of uploads to a dedicated portal. Teachers also check with the students and on their work digitally. Communication between students and teachers can be by way of phone calls, messenger app and/or email..
One important advantage of distance learning over online learning is that with distance learning, remotely provided education can continue, even if weather disturbances and other unexpected disruptions occur, including epidemic outbreaks.