Experts blame online learning for short attention span-

The effects of COVID pandemic still lingers in the world as many suffer from post-disease complications even now. The pandemic has also had a profound influence on the lives of students as education shifted online.

Though it has been more than three years since the pandemic outbreak, academicians say that children are yet to adapt to the classroom mode of learning, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

According to experts, the attention span is lesser in students now and there is a lack of enthusiasm and motivation in them. VS Kaikasi, Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of College, Kerala who had been nurturing the hidden talents of students and coordinating their participation in various competitions, is now a tad bit disappointed due to the lack of enthusiasm from the pupils.

“The students lack focus in everything now. They lack concentration and just gaze outside the classroom which is hugely disappointing. We give a few referral books to language students, but they don’t even turn the pages of the books anymore,” says Kaikasi.

Kaikasi has been in charge of the quizzing and debating club at the University College in Thiruvananthapuram since 2015. The college has witnessed a thriving quiz and debating club where the professors used to have a tough time choosing the best team.

Unfortunately, the organisers of a leading publication had to cancel the competition altogether recently due to a lack of adequate representation from various colleges, Kaikasi told The New Indian Express.

Online learning is to blame
Experts blame online learning for the current state of students.

As there was no option but to shift to online mode, people were exposed to smartphones more and started getting addicted to them slowly.

Arun Surendran, Strategic Director and Principal, Trinity College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, also echoes the sentiments of Kaikasi.

Arun, who wears several hats including the role of a mentor for the Kerala Development and Innovation Strategic Council’s (K-DISC) Young Innovator Programme, also interacts with several students and says that there has been a shift in trends in education.

“I have noticed that a majority of college students are keen to secure a government job these days. They get hold of PSC (Kerala Public Service Commission) guides and prepare for the various competitive examinations giving less priority to the regular college curriculum, Arun told The New Indian Express.

Not so social anymore?
The academicians are also worried about the lack of socialising skills among students.

While the students used to engage in conversations with each other in class before the pandemic, they are more attached to their smartphones now.

Dr Aravind Thampi, an academician-turned-psychologist, says this phenomenon is not common in college students alone. While the teachers have an edge over the school children, much less attention is given to the college students. “My assumption is that 60-65% of the students lack attention span due to their smartphone usage. Only 25% of the students are using mobile phones for academic purposes,” Thampi told The New Indian Express.

Thampi says that it might take some time for the scenario to change. “It took the students a while to get accustomed to the online mode of education. Now they will have to unlearn it which will take at least three years,” he said.

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