Steep online learning curve

Steep online learning curve

The government's remote learning project has provided a valuable lesson -- all those involved still face a steep learning curve when it comes to this particular subject.

It's clear from the many technical glitches and complaints about the quality of the curriculum, as well as teaching styles and formats that the Education Ministry was ill-prepared for this project.

Online learning is not for everyone. The ministry should have known that students in remote areas or those from underprivileged backgrounds would not be able to participate easily.

To lessen their burden, the ministry should have given them the necessary assistance.

The Education Ministry kicked off the distance learning television (DLTV) and online classrooms on Monday.

Under the project, kindergarten, elementary and junior high school students are encouraged to tune in to the DLTV while high school seniors can attend online classrooms.

The remote classrooms got off to a poor start.

Some students found the online classrooms unavailable, others could not tune in to the broadcasts or were led to advertisements instead of school programmes.

Families with children studying in different grades could not have them study at the same time. Some do not even have a TV, computer or internet to access the learning channels or platforms.

The quality of the curriculum, teaching formats and teachers' abilities have been subject to intense debates as well.

Many parents with small children reported they could not concentrate after about 30 minutes. Young students found the classroom on TV boring and lacking interaction.

What is most worrying is the overall quality of the curriculum as seen from the online activities.

A few English-language exercises were found to be completely wrong, with a photo of an early riser matched with the answer: "Good evening" for example. Another quiz question asked: "What day is the first week of the month?"

These mistakes should not be allowed to occur.

Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan apparently did not realise the shortcomings as he said the launch had been trouble-free.

In their attempt to play down the problems, education officials also insisted the remote learning project was intended to be a stop-gap measure helping students catch up before schools reopen on July 1.

Instead of making excuses, the officials should tackle the problems and work diligently to improve the scheme.

The coronavirus outbreak has taught us that disruptions have become a reality we have to deal with.

Like businesses that were forced to jump into e-commerce, online classrooms are one of the "new normals" that education authorities, parents, teachers and students will have to familiarise themselves with.

It is therefore best to ensure that it works to their benefit.

Probably the most important lesson that can be drawn from the remote learning project is that classrooms in the current format are not intellectually stimulating or engaging enough.

These days a trove of educational materials is freely available online. The ministry must work harder to ensure its curriculum is up-to-date, relevant and appropriate to children's development, or the project will be a complete waste.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

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