Calls to resume blended learning

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Academics, students prefer the flexible mode

COVID-19 has forced students of all age groups to embrace what is now often referred to as “the future of education,” also known as e-learning.

For higher education students, this concept may not be entirely new, as most universities and colleges practice a blended learning model. However, students have had to learn and adapt to the concept over the past two years.

And with the latest Omicron Covid-19 strain causing some 62 infections in the country as of December 25, 2021, academics believe the blended learning model should continue.

The head teacher of the Universiti Utara Malaysia College of Arts and Sciences School of Education, Dr Muhammad Noor Abdul Aziz, said flipped classes should be reconsidered as a method of learning in schools.

Pupils are currently entering schools on a rotational model, with those assigned to Home Teaching and Learning (PdPR) receiving homework from their teachers.

Muhammad Noor said that instead of doing this, teachers could give students tasks and projects to do and when it was their turn to go back to school the following week, they could give a presentation on their projects.

“This flipped classroom approach helps teachers with their assessments because it will only be a small group at a time.

“Universities and schools can embrace this as many students still face internet connectivity issues.

“By using this approach, those who are assigned to e-learning do not necessarily have to depend entirely on the Internet, as project-based learning can be innovated in several ways, including allowing students to use their textbooks, academic articles or even physical journals, ”he said. While hybrid learning methods such as flipped classes may be a safer option in light of the latest variant of Covid-19, Muhammad Noor said we need to learn to live with the virus.

Muhammad Noor: Flipped classes should be reconsidered as a method of learning in schools.Muhammad Noor: Flipped classes should be reconsidered as a method of learning in schools.

“It’s about how to fill the gaps in our learning and adapt to the new while innovating with the old ways.

“We cannot completely rely on online or face-to-face learning. This is where it is important to have a plan, like adopting hybrid methods. “

Her feelings are echoed in a nationwide online survey conducted by the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) Tun Tan Cheng Lock Center for Social and Policy Studies (TCLC) which showed that out of 520 respondents aged 16 to 30 years, 69.7% said online teaching and learning was effective (see infographic).

In addition, at least 97.5% of them are able to adapt to some aspect of the new normal brought on by the pandemic.

The survey, which spanned two weeks last September, showed that while 67.9% said online teaching and learning or working from home is the biggest disruptor in their life, 71.7% of them said they would strictly adhere to these new standards.

Focusing on how young people in this age group were coping with life after the virus outbreak, the survey consisted of 88.1% of respondents who are still studying and 11.9% who have completed their studies.

TCLC President Dr Chin Yee Mun said that after two years of adapting and using the e-learning model, students have adjusted to the new standard of spending more time studying. via a screen than to be physically in class.

Chin: After two years of adapting and using the e-learning model, students have adjusted to the new standard of spending more time studying through a screen than being physically in the classroom.Chin: After two years of adapting and using the e-learning model, students have adjusted to the new standard of spending more time studying through a screen than being physically in the classroom.

“Young people are now more accepting of online learning, but they are also aware that some aspects of these new standards, such as physical meetings to discuss their studies or work, can sometimes be more effective in person,” a- he declared.

Online learning should therefore be continued but he explained that a more efficient method would be to mix physical and virtual aspects in order to adopt a more hybrid approach.

TCLC researcher Kenneth Lee Tze Wui, who is a senior lecturer at UTAR’s Faculty of Creative Industries, Department of Mass Communication, told StarEdu that when speaking to interviewees, he found that the Most of them were happy with online learning despite their grumbling over their Internet connection.

“Overall, we found that respondents are comfortable with these new standards.

“Because respondents in this age group have a higher digital awareness due to their Internet exposure from a young age, they can better cope with changes in their standards, such as online learning.

“But we can’t deny the fact that at the end of the day some students still prefer face-to-face lessons after two years of staring at their laptop screens.

“There are also cohorts of college students who have yet to experience campus life as the pandemic struck just as they were starting their pre-college programs,” he explained.


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Norma A. Roth