Why I Kind of Wish I Learned Via Video Conferencing Software

The Perks of Learning From Your Living Room

I’ve spoken previously about the role of video calling in education, namely, from the perspective of a teacher. In this article I’ll go a little further back and talk about my own education throughout school and university. The truth is, there are many classes I don’t really wish I’d learned via video call. Some of those classes might have been boring or difficult but they also provided long-lasting experiences and some very fond memories at certain moments in time. But because of said boredom and difficulty I also kind of wish I’d learned them using virtual meeting technology.

If I could have chosen which classes to attend in person and which to attend via video conferencing at home, that would have been ideal. More so for university than for my primary and secondary school days. I miss all my grade school days, boring classes and all. The educational punishment and consistent mind-numbing boredom I faced throughout my academic activities during university are other matters entirely. In fact, I venture to think that in a fantasy world, I would have chosen to take almost every university class of mine through a video call online. The problem is that this would have cut into my “hanging out before and after class” time. I lived off campus, and not taking a video conference class from the comfort of your own home kind of defeats the point. Everything I loved about university was making friends and socialising with people, most of whom I met outside of class, many of whom were outside my faculty.

To be honest, the difficulty I faced in university was a function of the boredom I suffered to a very large degree. If there’s one takeaway we can get from students who do better in some subjects than others, it’s that learning any material is easier when the learners find it engaging. Regardless, let’s look at why I think I could have enjoyed (read: tolerated) many of my classes by learning them using video conferencing solutions.

1. The Aforementioned Boredom

Sitting in a regular class can be boring. Being homeschooled can also be very boring. Education is by and large, usually approached in a very boring manner, and doing it from home has the added effect of reduced interaction with your peers. Interaction with your peers is an important part of the education process because it stimulates other neurocircuitry which helps with your academic education. It also increases your levels of Dopamine, Serotonin, Norepinephrine and Oxytocin, which helps your brain stay more engaged with your academic learning. That said…

When your teacher at home isn’t on top of your head, watching you like a hawk, taking classes at home can relieve boredom quite effectively. Using video conferencing software to attend a lesson along with 20 to 30 other people would be an experience for the ages. For a start you (or I) wouldn’t need to attend class at all if you don’t want to. You’re no longer tied to the scheduled session if you want to learn the information. You can simply record the class and review it at your own convenience when you feel able to engage with the material. You can repeat parts at your own pace, study and absorb the information the way that works for you, and generally not suffer unassisted through the boredom of a mind-numbingly boring class.

But what about attendance and teachers’ questions? Just nod your head during the video call when you’re asked something easy, tell your teacher you don’t know when they ask harder questions, and keep illustrating that masterpiece you’re drawing on your laptop, or playing that game you enjoy, or even listening to music on YouTube or watching a movie. Just make sure you use headphones for it. Of course if you can simulate a bad connection or an old computer, you’ll have an excuse to kill your camera’s video feed because you can claim "it keeps freezing up and slowing you down" as well. Now are any of these solutions ideal? Of course not. But the educational system is outdated anyway. You’re working around an already less than ideal system with a less than ideal solution. As long as you have the discipline to review the information you need later, you can be academically successful without doing whatever your teacher tells you when your teacher tells you. Forget the company line they sell you growing up. I like to think I did fine in school, and I think I would have done even better if they hadn’t bored me to death.

Of course, this new method of success is reliant upon the application of virtual meeting technology to attend a class. If you’re sitting physically in class, then sure, you need to sit up straight, not be disruptive, and respect the teacher’s efforts so everyone can learn well. However, only the most unreasonable of teachers can expect to make you learn on their terms when you’re learning from your own home and you can simply take the information they’re giving you and learn it at a time that suits you best. Speaking as a tutor and instructor myself, I will say this. A lot of teachers need to get with the times. Incidentally, all of Banty’s platforms offer you the option to record your video call. Explore all of Banty’s video meeting solutions here.

2. The Conveniences

Getting on a video call from home for class means I’m next to my fridge. And my freezer. All my favourite snacks whilst listening to a professor explain the pharmaceutical chemistry functions of a number of different giant drug structures, of which I’m expected to memorise about 150 for my final exam. I promise you I have a better chance of retaining this information which will supposedly help me memorise these structures if I’m eating ice cream while doing it. Ice cream fires all manner of pleasant chemicals  in my brain and on my tongue. Of course, it’s not necessarily healthy to eat too much of it but hey, such is the price of academic success. I jest. But snacking in moderation during your most boring classes can help you remember them.

Associating that Beta-Lactamase resistant chemical structure with the flavour of your favourite noodles, rich in monosodium glutamate, might glow a lightbulb in your head come exam day. Remembering how many wives King Henry killed off might be easier if you were eating a KitKat when your teacher was talking about it on a video call. There’s more  to the convenience of studying from home of course. If you feel your heart pumping slower and your energy fading in, you can stand up and do 10 jumping jacks. 5 or 6 sit ups! Anything to get your blood pumping again so you can focus on the class that’s boring you again!

If you’re cold you can just grab a hoodie or a jacket from your closet, or have someone at home toss you it. If you’re feeling too hot, you can change into a t-shirt in a flash. If certain scents help you study, you could light a scented candle or even burn a little incense if that’s your thing. Also, if you’ve successfully found an excuse to kill your video feed, you can go ahead and attend your video call class, lecture or tutorial lying down, on your couch, or generally anyway you like. Make yourself a cup of coffee real quick to stay focused. Thinking of all the advantages makes me almost believe there’s no downside, really.

3. The Peace and Quiet

Now obviously this only applies to people who don’t live in noisy locations. Or what I like to call HHH (High Hassle Households). But the peace and quiet to be had going to class from your desk at home, or your kitchen table, or your couch, are unparalleled. On some days even getting away from our friends sounds nice. Then again, there’s people we constantly try to avoid and taking our classes from home are an excellent way to do that. And of course if you’ve dated some in school, college or university, there may be an ex or two you’re not keen on running into during certain periods when any possible fall out may still be fresh. Particularly if the exes in question have a tendency to want to talk too much. Double particularly if they tend to do so noisily and make a scene.

And not everyone is trying to avoid socialising with their friends either. You might have a class where the teacher has a tendency to corner you into having after class discussions. Sorry, got a virtual doctor’s appointment teach. Gotta run. Incidentally, if you’d like to have your doctor’s appointments virtually, mention the Banty Virtual Clinic platform to your doctor. It’s helpful in so many ways. That’s another advantage. Somehow it feels easier to break out of your class when your teacher drones on past their allotted virtual lecture time. Even if you’re the world’s biggest introvert, you can simply power off your camera and mic and get on with your life. In fact, it helps those “distracted professor” types realise that the tutorial or lecture time is up.

These are three reasons I kind of wish I learned via video conferencing software. Though I’m not sure I’d trade in so many of the experiences who made  me who I am. Anyhow...What do you think? If you’re not currently learning via video calling and virtual meeting, and you didn’t when you were being educated either...Do you wish you had?

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Abdallah Al Alfy

Alfy is a content writer of 17 years, writing in multiple literary and content disciplines, and translating professionally since his early teens. Full name of Abdallah Al Alfy, he is also a licensed pharmacist in multiple countries. Alfy’s pharmaceutical background has often been an asset in scientific and medical writing.