Learning has been rebooted during the lockdown, with more Indians turning any place into a virtual classroom.
Distance learning, or e-Learning, has scaled up so fast and become so important that UNESCO came out with a curated list of educational apps that students can use to continue learning during the lockdown. In India, where 37 million students are currently enrolled in higher education, e-learning is set to play a major role in the coming days as we grapple to find innovative solutions to deal with this new normal. Similarly, what better time could there be for working professionals to upskill and update their rĂ©sumĂ©s.
So, if you still havenâ€™t discovered this new side of learning, for education as well as your professional development, we have you covered with all the information you need.
First things first, what do you need for a quality online learning experience?
With the lockdown being extended, it seems that learning and studying online is a system thatâ€™s here to stay for a while. Itâ€™s important, then, to be aware of how to ensure that you or your child gets the best possible experience out of it.
To get the most out of your lockdown learning, it is most important to ensure you have a high-quality network connection.
A good data network with fast download speed is perhaps the most important of them all, and it seems like Airtel is your best option. According to Opensignal Awards â€“ India: Mobile Network Experience Report April 2020, Airtel offers the best Video Experience as well as the best Download Speed Experience compared to all other network providers in India. So, before you start upskilling with that online course, make sure you have the best network connection because laggy video can mean you miss out on what the instructor is saying and get left behind. Similarly, the video quality of the call is important too as the instructor might want to show something and share their screen.
Secondly, what are some of the best courses/platforms you can refer to?
For school level education
BYJUâ€™s: It is a great app for school students to study online with ease. It covers study material from primary to high school, with subjects such as Maths and Science. The platform hosts videos for kids to understand concepts in a fun and entertaining manner. It also has revision modules, and quizzes to facilitate retention and all from the comfort of your home.
Khan Academy: It is a wonderful e-learning platform that covers many subjects such as Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Economics, History and many more. The platform provides methodical learning for children that they can put to test through quizzes and interactive exercises.
Extramarks: It is an e-learning platform that covers study material for both CBSE and ICSE exams. With the help of Alex, an AI bot, students can easily navigate their course and personalise their learning journey to learn at their own pace. The app covers all subjects across classes.
To develop skills/further develop on your hobbies
Udemy: Udemy is one of the most well-known platforms for online courses with over 5000 courses for you to choose from. And it has an impressive repertoire of skill-based courses. Whether you aspire to become a better writer, guitarist, photographer or simply improve your handwriting â€“ there is a course waiting for you. So, get your children as well as yourself engaged and pick up a skill while spending time at home.
Skillshare: As the name suggests, on this platform, you can explore a wide range of creative courses and get working on your hobby. It offers videos from many well-known experts and has tremendous width in types of courses available. From learning piano to calligraphy, think of a subject and find it on Skillshare.
To upskill and further your professional development
edX: Founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012, edX is one of the largest MOOC providers and a leading e-learning provider. It hosts courses from the worldâ€™s leading institutions to benefit users across the world. The site boasts of more than 90 world-wide partners and covers a plethora of topics ranging from architecture, art and culture, biology and life sciences, to business and management, and math, medicine, music.
Coursera: One of the leading names in online learning, each course is curated with experts from that field of study complete with online resources, videos, notes and a thriving online community to interact and share notes with while studying for a course. It also offers certificates on successful completion of courses.
Udacity: The leading platform to pick up up-to-date, relevant and in-demand technology skills. What started as a free AI course has given way to a thriving ecosystem covering courses from autonomous systems to data sciences. The program is developed in a manner that even the busiest professionals can learn and advance with ease.
MIT OpenCourseWare: MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) hosts MIT course content virtually. These are free courses that are available to everyone across the world. OCW, as mentioned on their site, is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.
Thirdly, and most importantly, how to get the most out of your course
The boom in e-learning can only become a true silver lining if you are able to derive the most out of your courses; otherwise, it is a dead investment â€“ both of your money and time. Here are some steps you can follow as you decide to kickstart your e-learning journey.
Discipline yourself: Treat this course like any other offline course you might have taken in your life. Make and follow a schedule. Even better if you can give yourself a dedicated space and dedicated time when you do nothing else but focus on your lesson. This will increase your chances of coming back to the course every day and not quitting mid-way.
Schedule breaks: When you start the course, you might think that youâ€™ll be able to complete it in one or two sittings. Do not underestimate the rigour and set unachievable targets for yourself. This will only burn you out, not help learn or retain information properly and dissuade you from completing or participating in new courses.
Take notes: Like in an offline course maintain notes. These help you focus during the course and make revision easier which will help retain the information and make it useful as you progress through your learning.
Participate in online forums: Discussing a concept or a problem with other people only makes it clearer for you. Always participate in online discussions, share notes, and learn from other people and not only the instructor.
Make a plan that works for you: Finally, build a plan that will help you extract the most out of yourself. What this mean is that in case you are a morning person, schedule your session first thing in the morning. In case you only really start living post 8 pm, thatâ€™s the right time for you. Enjoy the flexibility of e-learning and set yourself up for success. Also, every time you finish a lesson mark it on your calendar or give yourself a treat. A little positive reinforcement goes a long way.
Because of the lockdown, the number of e-learners by 2021 is going to be even higher, which means the only thing thatâ€™s going to stand between a student of any age and a quality education is their network connection. After all, seamless online education requires fast internet speeds so you can stream course videos and attend online classes without your video freezing - yeah, we are living in the times when buffering and frozen video calls can be a hindrance to your studies. If you can ensure you have fantastic streaming quality and download speeds, you can learn and upskill impressively.
So, what are you waiting for? Get learning today.
This article was produced by TNM Brand Studio in association with Airtel.