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JEE Main, NEET: Online Versus Offline Coaching

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By Tavneet Bedi
28 Mar'22  7 min read
JEE Main, NEET: Online Versus Offline Coaching
Synopsis

Covid-19 changed the coaching for entrance exams like JEE Main and NEET forever. Online coaching became the in thing as lockdowns put the lid on offline coaching. In this article, Careers360 looks into the various aspects of the preparation journey of an engineering or a medicine aspirant in the online and offline coaching modes. Things are slightly becoming normal as Covid-19 makes a slow retreat. Is JEE or NEET coaching online here to stay or will offline coaching make a comeback?

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JEE Main, NEET: Online Versus Offline Coaching
Synopsis

Covid-19 changed the coaching for entrance exams like JEE Main and NEET forever. Online coaching became the in thing as lockdowns put the lid on offline coaching. In this article, Careers360 looks into the various aspects of the preparation journey of an engineering or a medicine aspirant in the online and offline coaching modes. Things are slightly becoming normal as Covid-19 makes a slow retreat. Is JEE or NEET coaching online here to stay or will offline coaching make a comeback?

Read more

With the outbreak of COVID 19, the education system had to undergo a paradigm shift owing to lockdowns put in place to ensure safety during the pandemic. The entrance exam preparation sector was also affected and the traditional offline coachings with their brick and mortar centres were forced to migrate to an online model to ensure continuation of studies of millions of students enrolled with them. This transition in the initial days was not a smooth one as the whole offline industry was barely prepared for something like this. The not so tech savvy faculty, accustomed to their chalk and board teaching methodology had to suddenly get into the online teaching environment through virtual classrooms and many who were taking lectures using makeshift techniques until they had access to pen tabs and iPads to properly write and annotate. This has changed now with the return of periods of normalcy between the three pandemic waves.

Many edtech startups which were already working on building virtual classrooms were in a better position to fill this gap. They already had the basic infrastructure ready and their offerings were reasonably priced which led to a lot of students enrolling with them. This also led to an increase in the number of new edtech startups working to revolutionise the education sector and building new innovative products to enhance personalised learning for better outcomes. This has led to an increase in the number of options available to the students and has made the parents afraid of missing out and worrying about providing the best possible education to their children.

JEE, NEET Online Coaching: Learning

The first step of any learning process is the interaction between the student and the teacher. In traditional offline learning, there is only a single point of contact happening at a particular place and at a particular time. While this can be a deterrent under the current circumstances, the holistic aspects and the intangibles associated with offline learning cannot be ignored. By intangibles, it means the extent to which the student feels connected to the teacher and peers, inculcating common learning and a sense of rigour and competitiveness among them. The active communication between some students and teachers also helps other students not directly involved in the discussion to get alternative approaches to tackling the same problems. The teacher can also gauge the seriousness of a student and is usually able to tell when a student is not following or is distracted.

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In online learning, the interaction is not limited by the constraints of time and place. Online classes are recorded and can be accessed by the students any time, thus eliminating the need for their presence even during the live online lectures. The lecture notes can also be downloaded in the form of pdfs or ppts. This can be both a boon or a bane. The easy availability of the recorded lectures facilitates the learning of students as they have the option to learn at their own pace and time. However, this can lead to poor knowledge transfer which can lead to poorer learning outcomes. The ease of availability of lecture notes is also a drawback as most students tend to ignore writing their own notes. Making your set of notes is a very important part of your preparation. You are your best judge and you will take special care in noting down stuff which you find difficult and also the approach you need to follow when encountering a problem based on these concepts. Meticulously prepared notes can make the whole revision process very smooth and most of the students who ignore writing down their own notes face difficulty during revision.

The diverse nature of the online batches owing to the scale at which they operate, consisting of students with different learning abilities leads to a “one approach fits all” teaching methodology in live lectures which can often lead to a dilution of the content. Different students learn at different pace and this “one approach fits all” technique might not be a viable option. Offline coachings usually have a homogeneity in their batches owing to the reshuffling of batches of the students on the basis of their performance in the test and this usually results in a more competitive environment among the students to consistently do better. This is not the case with all offline coachings though and the ones in Tier-1 cities usually do not follow this approach due to logistical constraints.

JEE, NEET Coaching Online: Reading Material, Practice Problems

Offline coachings have limited study material and a limited number of practice problems as opposed to the larger number of resources available to a student in the online medium. These larger numbers of resources available can also be a double edged sword. Used meticulously, these can enable students to get a good grasp of the concepts resulting in much greater clarity while the sheer volume of content can act as a psychological deterrent, leading to an overwhelming feeling. This may also act as a distractor for learning. Students might develop a liking for certain concepts and tend to pursue them to the point where it essentially becomes a redundancy, ignoring important topics which do not light up a spark in them. Such is human nature and a majority of the students do not possess the capability of critical thinking, of filtering out these redundancies. And hence, these distractions clubbed together with a lesser attention span often leads to impatience and delaying of the weaker and disliked topics.

A larger amount of content or a larger question bank can be a big help for practice, provided the students have a clarity of their strengths and weaknesses and also the relevance of the material with respect to their curriculum. A plethora of content material alone is not the solution.

Online Coaching: Doubt Solving, Query Resolution

A lot of edtech companies are currently focussed on the problem of doubt redressal and it is one of the aspects in which online coachings have a distinct advantage. Earlier, during the preparation days, students had to go to the coaching centres in particular time slots to get the doubts and queries resolved. This is not the case anymore and students these days have the option to get their questions answered 24*7. There are a lot of edtech companies competing in the space and some even have digitised video solutions of almost all the reference books under the sun which can be accessed by simply googling the question as it is or clicking a picture of the same. A lot of traditional offline coachings too have developed a hybrid model where the doubt solving is usually done online and does not require you to physically go somewhere to get the doubts cleared.

JEE, NEET Coaching: Tests And Analysis

An important part of the student journey is regular testing and the analysis of these tests. Many of the entrance exams, including the JEE Main and the JEE Advanced for engineering are held in an online format. The medical entrance exam, NEET, however, is still conducted in the pen and paper format requiring the students to mark out answers in an OMR sheet. The testing majorly happens online and even the offline coachings have an online testing platform. The standards of these tests, whether from an online coaching or offline coaching, are also at par with the standard of the question paper in the entrance examinations and enrolling in a test series of any of the major coaching institutes would be helpful to the students in gauging their own performance and where they stand.

The issue, however, lies with the seriousness and the motivation of the students towards attempting these tests. In an online environment, since the pace of learning of different students is different and there is a freedom available to study as and when they please, they tend to not take the tests seriously and put them off. A student in an offline coaching has to take these tests seriously as there can be a reshuffling of their batch. They can be promoted to an “upper” batch or demoted to a “lower” batch based on their performance and students generally tend to associate themselves with their batches as a status symbol among their peers. This seriousness in attempting tests can go a long way in helping the students achieve a good rank in their final examinations as it empowers them to identify their weaknesses and work on them and also force them to take time out for revision when they are attempting “term tests” consisting of chapters learnt some time before.

Online Vs Offline

A lot of the online vs offline debate is often subjective and the result of a large number of tangible as well as intangible factors. Personalisation, pace of learning, flexibility in learning can be two-edged swords. However, two factors in which online coaching is a clear winner is that it saves the time and energy required for commuting to and from the coaching centres and also the fee structure.

Accessibility to lectures online saves a lot of effort on part of the students which can be devoted to studies rather than on commute. Online coachings have a lesser fee than offline coachings and this especially helps the students from remote areas or rural backgrounds to access quality learning from their homes without having to relocate to a different city in search of quality education.

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