During any crisis situation like a pandemic, war or natural disaster, online/blended learning could meet the academic needs of the learners in a bigger way. The use of information and communication technology (ICT)-based technologies has converted the entire teaching pedagogy to a learner centred pedagogy, following which the skills of using technology are to be seen as the most essential qualifications on the part of both the teachers/educators and learners. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to understand the perceptions of the teachers and learners regarding the use of online/blended learning modes in teaching learning transactions. Another purpose of the paper being to find out the prospects and challenges of providing online/blended learning in a country like India, particularly during and in post-Covid-19 situations.
The academic analytics approach was used for the study. A structured questionnaire was designed in Google Forms covering the perceptions of the teachers and learners in different Indian universities and colleges regarding online/blended services and analysis was done using Google Analytics. Further, analysis of the data received had been done by using simple statistical tool like percentage.
Blended learning could be the solution for providing education in the context of the 21st century India. However, unlike in case of the conventional education, open education has widened the scope of learning adhering to the motto – “Bring your own device” to learn. The extensive use of open educational resources, massive open online courses, social media and meeting apps during the Covid-19 lockdown, has opened up the minds of the knowledge-hungry people, further enabling them to receive the necessary educational inputs, training and skills even during the current pandemic situation. This is going to have a big impact in the ways of educational transactions in the days to come.
The discussions in the paper are limited to a study of representative states of India, and it is a general study only. The sample size was limited to only 120 as the response rate was significantly low compared to the number of addressees to whom the questionnaire was sent.
This study will help in understanding the present state of online/blended learning in a country like India. The use of online learning was no doubt intensified by the sudden outbreak of the Covid-19 Pandemic. However, the study will also help in preparing a roadmap, at the policy level, regarding the beneficial use of online/blended teaching learning models both by the teachers and learners during any future crisis-like situations in a country like India.
Through this paper, a new social constructivism has been visualised to know the acceptability of online/blended learning opportunities on the part of the teachers and learners across India. If that social constructivism can actually be realised through the benefits of online learning, India might emerge as one of the important leaders of education in the coming days. To that extent, the Covid-19 pandemic can be seen as a blessing in disguise.
It is important to examine the perceptions of both teachers and learners on the use of online learning in their regular curriculum transactions most particularly when the whole world is facing the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has adversely affected millions of learners across the world. The paper is original because it explores the current state of online/blended learning in a developing country like India to provide a practical and realistic vision of a new way of learning in the post-Covid-19 situations.