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Blended Learning- The New Normal

In January 2020, scientists discovered an infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc in schools and universities across the country since then. According to UNESCO, over 188 countries had enforced national school and university closures as of April 10, 2020, affecting over 91 percent of the global student population. All person-to-person classes were canceled during the school closures, forcing several schools, including our own university, to quickly move from face-to-face in-person learning to entirely online classes. Many teachers and students who prefer in-person teaching have found the sudden transition to completely online learning to be especially stressful.

Online learning is often portrayed as a less desirable choice that offers a lower-quality education than face-to-face instruction. A broad survey reported certain negative attitudes toward fully online learning. In other terms, 91 percent of professors do not want to teach in an entirely online world. Students’ perceptions of entirely online classes aren’t any better; according to a recent student survey of more than 40,000 students from 118 American universities, up to 70% of respondents prefer a person-to-person educational environment. Regardless of the fact that online education has been there for decades, many students and instructors still do not recognize the value of fully online learning. Many teachers have had to improvise fast online learning strategies due to the ongoing health crisis.


For example, some professors simply posted their PowerPoint slides or papers to a learning platform like Google Drive and asked children to read them by themselves and ask if there are any questions.  Many questions were posted on the Google forum simultaneously. Some professors taped their own lectures (which were normally at least an hour-long) and asked students to attend them simultaneously and then pose individual questions later. Others conversed for more than two hours through these video platforms, which were viewed by students at home. While these online approaches are effective at providing content, they are less effective at encouraging active learning and interest. “It’s pretty boring to sit in front of my computer for a two-hour live lecture with no active learning opportunities like group projects!” Evidently, a completely online course that lacks engaging learning opportunities like peer involvement would feel more like an interactive textbook than a school’s classroom.


Teachers should unlearn old habits and learn new skills of online learning interaction as a result of the sudden absence of the traditional classroom stage and the alienation of each learner in his or her own space. Because of the pandemic chaos, teachers have been forced to understand that they must reach out to each student individually to evaluate their teaching effectiveness, no matter how disorderly and inequitable the practices are around the nation. In order to fulfill their professional duties, teachers’ fear of the internet/ technology has enabled way to an evolving sense of duty to master technology and explore ways to incorporate it into their pedagogy, according to a study. This newly awoken urge would ideally lead to concerted attempts to revive the teaching profession. Students, on the other hand, must develop a character of interdependence, discipline, and obligation. In a similar way, existing learning-from-home activities should enable parents to be role models for their children’s character values rather than serving as additional academic tutors.


The school turmoil has forced all educators to agree that what matters is the understanding of students’ varied needs and the exploration of ways to address those needs using tools other than the teachers themselves. Teachers’ main job now is to encourage students to look for those opportunities. Schools such as boarding schools in India encourage their students for the best learning modules. This new normal should encourage educational authorities to create a long-term framework for a needs-based curriculum and a library of learning modules. This curriculum should provide a variety of literacy and modalities that are needed to thrive and contribute throughout the twenty-first century.


Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate are the five steps of the 5E system. 

1.Engage—The goal of the very first step is to get students involved in the learning process. Students can be engaged by using a real-world scenario or problem, asking them for activities that require them to come up with ideas or think logically, and assisting them in making connections to their prior knowledge.

2.Explore—During the exploration process, the instructor acts as a facilitator or coach, allowing students to explore the material and construct their own interpretation of the topic.

3.Explain– Students attempt to clarify particular aspects of the interaction and discovery experiences during this process. The instructor uses terms in a straightforward and explicit manner based on these examples to aid concept building.

4.Elaborate During this process, the teacher provided more comprehensive information about the subject content through mini-lectures and/or whole-class discussions. Students may also put what they’ve learned into practice and gain input from the instructor and their peers.

5.Evaluate At the initial stages and in the 5E stages, performance appraisals can be used to evaluate participants’ knowledge and understanding of the course material, and instructors can achieve a formative evaluation after the comprehension process.

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