The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the educational system around the world. Many countries decided to temporarily close schools, universities and colleges in an attempt to reduce the spread of Covid-19. instead, they proposed implementing distance learning or online learning.
Online learning is a form of distance learning that is carried out over the internet network. It is also called electronic learning (e-learning). The Platform used can be WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Zoom, Google Meet and others.
The Indonesian Government, through the Ministry of Education and Culture, has issued Circular number 36962/MPK.A/HK/2020 dated 17 March 2020 regarding online learning and working from home to prevent the spread of Corona Virus Disease (Covid-19).
This policy was taken to maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and society in general. The Government does not want to take the risk of Covid-19 transmission if face-to-face learning continues.
Online learning is a new challenge for the education world. And the Covid-19 pandemic has become a momentum to test the effectiveness of this learning model.
Online Learning has several advantages and disadvantages. Among it’s advantages, this learning model offers efficiency in many ways, including labor, cost, and time. If there are no obstacles, this model will certainly offer convenience and comfort for student and teachers.
Online learning is also flexible because it can be carried out at any time according to the agreement of the teacher and students. Also, it is easily accessible because it can be followed by students from wherever they are without requiring a physical presence. In times of pandemics that require keeping physical distance and avoiding crowds, this learning model is a safe choice.
Online learning has the potential to become an alternative model of learning in the future along with communication technology that is taking place so rapidly and massively. In education, innovation is something that is commonly done to answer the challenges and needs of society, including the choice of learning models.
However, online learning is also not without drawbacks. The main problem that is often complained by the community regarding online learning is the limited availability of supporting facilities, in addition to the weak ability of citizens utilize to information and communication technology.
Online learning requires an internet network and communication devices such as computers, laptops, or smartphones. Unfortunately, in some areas, there are still many students who experience problems with internet signals, limited costs to buy internet data or pulses, and problems with inadequate devices.
Teacher competence is also another prerequisite for this learning. When teachers do not master information technology or are less creative in designing online learning media, teaching and learning will become monotonous and boring. Finally, the results will not be optimal.
The complaint that is often raised by students regarding online learning is the large number of assignments they receive from the teachers because almost every teacher gives assignments. Eventually, students become overwhelmed and depressed.
The preference of teachers for the assignment method in online learning is easy to understand because this method is the easiest to do amid limited facilities or inadequate competencies of the teacher.
Another disadvantage of online learning is that it cannot be used for all lessons. Some lessons that require practice, for example, will be difficult to implement if the teacher does not meet students directly or witness students doing the expected work.
Likewise, lessons related to moral education, character building, attainment of mental, spiritual, emotional, and social skills will be difficult to implement if students do not interact directly with teachers or with their peers.
That is why many pesantren chose to keep open during a pandemic and carry out face-to-face learning as usual (although maintaining strict health protocols), namely because face-to-face learning is considered unreplaceable by online learning.
In conclusion, online learning must be seen as a complement to and an extension of the classical form of learning. Even the best online courses cannot completely replace personal contact with teachers or human relationships as they develop in the face-to-face learning process. Therefore, face- to-face learning should not be replaced with online learning.
(Ditulis oleh Drs. Agus Salim Syukron, M.Pd. Kepala Madrasah Aliyah Al-Ishlah)