The education medium has always consistently existed and functioned in the offline space. With the pandemic at hand, the world was plunged into interacting solely through the online medium which has caused quite a ruckus. What was originally an experimental endeavour, soon had become the norm and necessary. Overnight things had turned crazy and all there was left to do was adapt to it. So here is a comprehensive healthy comparative analysis of the two mediums and what can probably be the best way to go about it.

The culture brought about by both the mediums
With the increased focus and importance given to more research-based studies and classes with case discussions, the offline medium blends really well with this vision. A case study and discussion are structured and get modelled by the contributions and inputs of the students, and the professor’s calibre to mould the dialogue into areas of interest and foster learning. This entire process makes learning seem not so forced but instead induced naturally and seems rather effortless for the listeners.
With the erratic shift to the online tools, a conducive discussion becomes rather a task given the number of controls, a teacher has to manoeuvre and keep track of. In addition, the uncertainty and irregularity of the intervals of speech amongst the students create a rather tensed environment. This takes away the focus from actual material and points and instead, directs it towards the technical aspects. It can probably just act as an extra hindrance to just state your stance forget having a discourse given the unfamiliarity of the platform.
While the results from teaching at online platforms have been fairly decent, the emergence of accessible platforms and material has surged and been proven as a great benefit. What the online platform lacks in ‘discussions’, it makes up for in being flexible and having multiple doubt sessions. It reduces the effort that is invested in the class outside of its duration, in context to commute. While the offline environment might be more conducive, the online atmosphere is flexible and can focus on what’s really important without derailing the conversation. But is it really the best option in a world where we are turning more and more socially isolated on a daily basis? Is this added physical solitude going to work well in the age of video calls substituting an actual hangout?

Is online really the sole way ahead?
While the online platforms come with their own share of advantages, it is important to view the larger picture. There is immense accessibility and while it eliminates the restrictions imposed by geography, it creates a distinct barrier for basic human interaction. On one hand, learning is no longer subject to the constraints of not finding the resources close to you, this remote mechanism creates a healthy, level playing field but it hardly creates space for personal conversations amongst the class. Remote learning is as easier than ever and people across continents and connect and contribute but are we actually connecting beyond our professional needs, is the question of the hour. While this is economical, the emphasis and the USP of the offline space is having interactions beyond work and other issues, it is knowing the person behind the screen who is much more than a portrait and a limerick for a bio. The new age thinks of the online mediums as the sole answer to the educational sphere but the limitations posed in terms of warmth and learning outcomes cannot be overlooked.

The balance between these two platforms
To perfect the outcomes and effectively foster an environment of learning, discussing and experimenting, the blend of both the online and offline mediums is a must. The online platforms provide access to the remote areas and can take care of the technical learning of certain aspects but for projects that require hands-on learning as well as weaving a great culture and proximity with the students mandates certain offline time requirements. It creates a space for conversations that don’t have a specific agenda, that flow and are casual, creating camaraderie and a great atmosphere making a ‘class’ feel like a unit.

All of the factors that are considered and which work in favour of the offline platform don’t necessarily imply that they are impossible to foster within the online space, it just means it’s easier and more natural to facilitate it offline.
Online classrooms and mediums can only act as an aid, another tool in the world of education, it cannot possibly entirely substitute the offline space.


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