Problems have arisen in mass application of online teaching in Vietnam during the social distancing time.
Experts believe that the schools which first applied distance training appeared in 1870s in the US and early 1890s in the UK.
In Vietnam, distance training modes were first applied in 1990s and they became more common after 2000s thanks to the internet and education market development.
The appearance and popularity of internet, digitized data and software technology recently have given a strong push to the development of distance education. This mode of learning can be applied within schools, but also at other institutions and many different fields, with no limitation in boundaries, space and time.
The obvious advantages of distance education and training are flexibility, convenience and economy, which satisfies the learning demand of high numbers of students at the same time.
However, a lot of problems arose when Vietnam began organizing online teaching on a large scale during social distancing.
The most obvious problem is the lack of facilities for online teaching and learning. Not all students and teachers have laptops or smartphones, and not all families have members with proficiency in technological skills. The problem is more serious in remote and difficult areas.
Online teaching requires learners to look intently at a screen. It becomes a boring one-way interaction between teachers and learners.
Experts have recently mentioned a problem in Vietnam which has existed for a long time that during lessons: teachers just talk and students just write down. And the problem may become even more serious with online teaching if teachers cannot design their lessons well.
Because of age characteristics, primary school children find it difficult to concentrate on lessons and they are easily distracted.
The common problems of Vietnamese students, including critical thinking skills, team discussion and opinion presentation have also been exposed more clearly during online teaching.
During online lessons, students tend to keep silent and they only raise their voice when they are asked to do this. This may affect the outcome of the lessons.
Online teaching could be a hurdle when teachers want to apply psychological therapies to inspire students and raise excitement, because the application of psychological skills need direct interactions.
So, it is necessary to make some adjustments when organizing online teaching.
First, online learning must not be a solution applied on a large scale for all sizes of classes.
Second, online teaching requires the active participation of both teachers and students, which poses requirements including high level of self-discipline.
Online teaching is unavoidable in the context of Covid-19. But this must not be seen as the only solution.
Nguyen Van Dang
Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics