...to create


with no compromises!


Saralah Devi Mariamdaram Chethiyar

Senior Lecturer, Psychology & Counseling Programme, School of Applied Psychology, Social Work and Policy, College of Arts and Sciences, University Utara Malaysia 


Rishen S/O Ramakrishnan

Master’s Student of Science Counselling, Psychology & Counseling Programme, School of Applied Psychology, Social Work and Policy, College of Arts and Sciences, University Utara Malaysia

Most of us are familiar with online learning since technology is rapidly growing in the Industrial Revolution 4.0, Digital Native Agenda (IR 4.0, DNA 23) era. Today, in this busy lockdown state, the world is focusing on online learning is an amazing platform for everyone especially working adults besides being a compulsory option. I as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Counseling started being a good listener to my Post Graduate students after conducting a few classes with them.  As they are caught up with multiple responsibilities and duties, it is very tough for them to travel to any education centers or universities in order to study and gain knowledge. This was the quote that came to my mind which is “You have to go wholeheartedly into anything in order to achieve anything worth having,” by Frank Lloyd Wright who was a famous American architect. I strongly agree with this because education comes from everywhere, it does not matter if it is online or faces to face as long as one gains knowledge and is able to apply it to themselves and other people too. 

During this pandemic outbreak, most of the universities around the world are forced to transition into online learning to maintain the safety of their students and keep them updated about their studies. I agree with their decision because our health is a priority and we have to take care of ourselves first despite our drive to obtain an education. However, there are advantages and disadvantages in pursuing online learning during the current outbreak. I would like to talk about my experiences during online learning and the challenges I faced during this rather difficult period.

Rishen S/O Ramakrishnan – Experience in Online Learning as a Postgraduate Student

I am pursuing my Masters in Science (Counselling) and my field of study focuses a lot on active listening, rapport building, communication skills, and body language just to name a few. As you can see, the skills that I listed would be more effective if I practiced it face to face as my lecturer would be able to evaluate and understand the students in a more precise manner. The lecturer would be able to judge a student’s performance better and guide them in a manner that will assist them in improving their counseling skills for future purposes. I feel that I am able to learn effectively and understand the concept clearer when it comes to face to face learning. 

The environment plays an important role when I study and gain knowledge because a conducive environment increases my focus and interest in my learning. Studies have said that a conducive environment has the ability to increase serotonin level which is the neurotransmitter connecting to our brain cells. When the serotonin level increases, it will enhance one’s mood and desire for learning to be more efficient. 

The most challenging part when it comes to online learning is the connectivity problem. At first, I thought my internet was not strong enough and then I began to notice my lecturer and my other classmates faced the same problem because not everyone has a strong connection with internet at their respective places. At times, during video calls, their appearance becomes static and their voices tend to break when we try to communicate with each other. The zoom application only allows the session to be held around forty minutes and the host has to start a new session again. It can be frustrating because when the conversation is going smoothly and our hunger to gain knowledge is increasing, the session ends abruptly. Every situation that one goes through teaches them about themselves and the zoom application has taught me to become more patient, which is a huge advantage in my profession. 

Despite that, the lecturers face a hard time conducting any form of individual or group activities during online sessions as they only can describe the activity and how it would be done if we were are all physically present in class. It is a huge limitation for each one of us because as a student I am eager to learn about various activities and different forms of interactions with my classmates so that we can learn from each other. Real-life classes have so much different compared to a virtual meeting because it is more effective as we learn and share our experiences with one another. 

Sometimes I notice that it is hard to gather everyone at a specific timing in order to attend the virtual lesson. When the lecturer arranges for a specific time for the lesson to be conducted, some of the students may not able to attend because there is no internet connection or some of them might have other commitments during that time. Lecturers would face a challenging situation as they try to ensure all students are able to make it to the virtual lessons whilst catering to their availability to avoid anyone from missing class. 

The biggest drawback I faced is related to my self-motivation during this online learning process. The limitations of not being able to participate in activities, connection issues, and conflicts in arranging a suitable timing, impacted my interest and motivation to attend classes and gain knowledge. This situation has contributed immensely to procrastinate as I lose my focus during class. As a student, initially, I felt fully enthused when the online classes were starting but as soon as I face the challenges, the desire to learn and engage in my subjects have drastically declined. Based on my opinion, it is a major drawback that would pull myself and other students down.

Online learning is an alternative way for some students to attain higher education as they may have a hard time juggling their responsibilities and find it difficult to manage attending university or school but at the same time, it is not for everyone. For students that require a tutor or a lecturer to guide them and to provide positive feedback on them in a face-to-face manner, online learning can be very challenging for them. Remember that you are not alone because during this pandemic outbreak, all of us are facing challenges together and this allows us to develop certain strengths in overcoming challenges. Martin Luther King Jr once said this quote “Our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” Believe in yourself and stay focus on achieving your goals as this will help you stay on track. Let us all be resilient and fight together through these hurdles!!!!


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