Ever since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, it seems that the world has come to a standstill. With each and every country taking necessary precautions to control the outreach of the virus, many people have had to stay hidden within the confines of their homes. Schools, colleges, offices and all other institutions of importance have brought their activities to a halt considering the situation outside. 1.2 Billion students across 186 countries have been affected by the closures of schools due to the pandemic. In the eerie silence that has now spread across the world, where are the constant drones of lessons being repeated? Where are those intellectual debates students have with their professors, pontificating over schools of thoughts and what not? Well, it’s all online! The concept of online learning is not a new one, and before the virus plagued our cities, learning portals such as Byjus and Eruditus ruled the e-learning world in India with almost 50 million US$ having been invested in them by companies such as Bertelsmann, Kaizen Management Advisors etc. According to experts, the global e-learning market was valued at over 165 million US$ in 2015 and is expected to grow at a rate of over 5% from 2016 to 2023, exceeding 240 US$. In the recent times, all e-learning portals, whether they are language apps or online learning software, have reported a record high usage of these facilities since the outbreak. After the Chinese government instructed a quarter of a billion students to resume their studies online, Tencent K-12 Online, a Chinese e-learning portal, reported that approximately 7,30,000 students have availed their services since February, making it the largest online movement in the history of education. In India, since the closing of schools and universities, the traditional classroom has relocated itself to virtual conferencing sites such as Google Meet, Zoom etc. Microsoft Teams offers students, along with face-to-face interaction, the perks of voting and marking one’s attendance online, with a single stop for recorded classes and reading materials such as PDFs and Ebooks. This has enabled the students and the teachers to hold and attend classes as per their convenience. Research reports that the retention capacity of students has increased from the 8-10% retained in offline classes, to 25-60% since the inception of the virtual classes. The pandemic has made Progress in Intern, TCB Stagnation Prapti Singh 76 Quality India it possible for people to discover and experiment with diferent aspects and avenues of online learning. Teachers and students have been able to gain knowledge on technology through practice. Moreover, teachers and students have reported enhanced problemsolving and critical thinking abilities. All of these benefts show how efective online learning is as a means of education. However, as is the case with most things, there are cons to e-learning as well. While the information provided through online classes is easy to retain, the hardest part, as many instructors would agree upon, is getting the students to participate and creating an engaging environment in the absence of a physical space. Children fnd it harder to stay focused during a class, making it imperative that a structure is maintained when it comes to teaching them. On the fipside, there are many students in our country who do not have access to the appropriate technologies and resources required for attending a class online. While almost 95% students in Norway, Sweden and Austria have a stable internet connection and a laptop for their schoolwork, the same cannot be said for students living in some of the remote places of India. This gap in the income brackets of countries across the world may be the catalyst for a digital divide amongst the privileged and those who are not, creating inescapable hierarchies. If the unequal GDP quotients aren’t an issue, then disorders such as physical disability, autism cause a rift amongst people. Despite living in a day and age of technological marvel, many e-learning portals have failed to cater to the needs of the minorities, making the distribution of education uneven and unequal. With the absence of subtitles or options for audio modifcations, diferently abled people have had to struggle to educate themselves in a way that’s humane and inclusive. All of these have been points of contention against the notion of revolutionizing learning. Yet, times of crisis teach us many a valuable lessons, and as is stated by Yuval Noah Harari in his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, schools often focus on rote memorization instead of critical thinking and adaptability. Whether or not online learning is the answer to this, is something we as a society have yet to decide, it would be futile to ignore the power that the notion and promise online learning holds. Making education accessible for hundred thousands of people is an attractive notion by principle, with an array of courses being taught and introduced to cater to the needs of our dynamic economy. Not only that, online learning allows life to continue even in catastrophic scenarios such as natural disasters, foods, or a pandemic. All of these factors combined make online education a strong force to be reckoned with. As I begin to end to my case, a quote by author Donna J Abernathy comes to mind that goes: “Online learning is not the next big thing, it is the now big thing”, and looking onwards to the rapid tide of change that is to come, it might just become our New Normal.