We have neither experienced nor imagined a situation like COVID-19 pandemic, earlier. The whole world has come to a standstill, with economies of the countries shattered in an unprecedented way. Every single industry is severely affected worldwide, only with a few exceptions such as health & wellness industry, pharma, groceries and vegetables. Educational institutions were indefinitely closed during lockdowns. In some countries, there were demands to make 2020-21 a zero academic year. However, students were declared passed and were promoted in bulk to the next standard without having the need to take the annual exams.
As societies worldwide scurrying along into various phases of recovery from COVID-19, students and learners all over remained in a confused state of their educational status. Intermittently, there were news about re-opening of the educational institutes and training centres with the hope of resumption of conventional classroom teaching. But, as the volatile situation persisted, it further affected the learners’ mental health with stress, loneliness, and lack of proper guidance. It was estimated that around 80% of students were affected by the dismal scenario and their mental health suffered a severe setback to a certain degree.
Amid all the turmoil that is prevalent in the educational, training and learning sectors, there has been one ray of hope, which is online learning! Despite the continuous disturbance that happened for conventional classroom learning, online learning has turned to be a real boon for every learner. All educational institutions such as schools and colleges that could afford online classes with coping readiness, executed the eLearning mode and continued to get the benefits of online classes. For millions of learners, the eLearning mode was a sigh of relief, which otherwise would have been a gloomy vacuum in the learning sphere.
In this context, let us have an overview of the impact of eLearning solutions on learners’ mental health and well-being during COVID-19.
eLearning dispelled the worries about learners’ educational growth and learning curve.
As online learning turned out to be the best alternative coming to their rescue, students and learners from all walks of life best utilized the opportunity. By actively getting engaged in the learning activities, they could save their time. As a result, all their apprehensions about their learning are shattered and their mental health is restored comparatively in a better way. As eLearning modules have all the features to be an alternate for classroom teaching, learners and students enjoyed the learning moments by staying at home. Many of the worries they earlier had about their educational growth and learning curve were dispelled. The sheer reassurance for their educational growth resulted positively for their mental growth and well-being. With online learning happening uninterrupted every day, learners have found their home haven for learning and they have ended up to be more productive.
Perhaps more than anything, students suffered from social isolation. Amid the confusion that prevailed outside due to the rampant COVID-19, the need to confine to home without any personal interaction with co-students aggravated their stress, depression and triggered mood swings. They felt lonely, unmotivated and suffered deeply. However, the timely advent of online classes in the eLearning form could alleviate their distress to a great extent and they could become normal. They could see their co-students, mentors online, chat with them and discussed about the concepts and learning thoughts.
Online learning offered less stressful environment compared to classroom teaching
Undisputedly, classroom teaching would be more stressful and rigid, with more rules and regulations creeping in, and the actual learning and retention might eventually become less significant. The practical and logical approach of eLearning evoked a healthy environment around, especially between the mentor and the learner. In fact, for all genuine learners, eLearning proved to be time saving, more practical and authentic medium for learning. All unimportant paraphernalia is reduced and only true learning and retention is highlighted as more time of the mentor is spent on clarifying the doubts of the learners. For some students, online learning has become a boon because they could avoid bullying and peer pressure successfully.
Elearning mode provided the required mentors’ help for learners in need.
In fact, the year 2020 has dispelled some age-old myths of eLearning forever. The staunch supporters of conventional teaching used to argue that online training could never be an alternative for the mode of classroom teaching. People who had this notion earlier, have now realized the advantages of eLearning. Even those students who dare not get up and ask doubts in the open classroom, have now found the opportunity to send their queries in the chat box and received detailed explanations along with other useful reference links.
Even the mentors could find enough time to handle individual students by focusing on them and responding to their queries separately at their convenient time. With the Internet being handy and the mentor being available for queries, learners felt that the mode of eLearning is no lesser significant than classroom teaching. It is more like laying a strong foundation for the upcoming surge of eLearning usage around the world.
However, we should note that the one major distress for students and learners, which online Learning could not, of course, dispel is the fact of learners missing the physical presence of co-students and mentors. As human beings love to socialize, lack of personal interaction in terms of friendly touch and cordial hugs cannot be compensated. Even the face to face interactions can in fact help depression and anxiety. However, eLearning could successfully handle various apprehensions and uncertainties about different aspects of learning by improving the learners’ mental health and well-being in the given situation of limitations.
The launching of new eLearning organizations and the emergence of new eLearning apps, in a way, prove that learners enjoy and prefer the invaluable benefits of online learning trend. As learners are getting gradually habituated to online training, they have overcome their mental health problems and sustained their well-being during the COVID-19 crisis.