Over the last year, the education industry faced a tremendous amount of challenges and issues, forcing schools and universities to adapt and evolve their processes. With the need for education distribution to continue and for teachers and students to communicate without personal contact, the utility of online learning technology dramatically increased.
For example, Coursera, one of the top Massively Open Online Courses in the world, gained 5 million new registrants just a month into global lockdowns and partnered with 6,600 unique institutions under Coursera for Campus. Other education-related companies such as Canva, Zoom, and Google Classroom experienced the same growth, becoming essential tools in the virtual classroom setup.
Now that educational institutions have adjusted, the new topic for discussion has been centered on how the industry will function after the pandemic tides over. Here are some discussions on the subject:
Post-COVID Online Learning in K-12
When schools all over the globe had to inevitably shift to online learning, teachers and instructors, especially those who were not adept at using technology, found it difficult to navigate the new learning environment. However, with constant use, many developed positive attitudes towards e-Learning.
In a survey conducted among K-12 educators by Education Week Research Center, 8 out of 10 teachers report that their ability to use these technologies improved immensely and numerous professionals are looking to incorporate this into their teaching once face-to-face instruction becomes prevalent again.
However, many have recognized that those who lack access to stable broadband connections have struggled to keep up with the rest of the class. As a solution, multiple educational institutions have made it a priority to continue initiatives meant to decrease the digital divide gap and allow increased access to these technologies among low-income students in the years to come.
Post-COVID Online Learning in Higher Education
Higher education institutions faced several challenges even before the pandemic hit. These include lower rates of enrollment and decreased funding. In fact, there has been an alarming decrease in enrollments amounting to a loss of 1.3 million students since way back in 2010 when the figures started dropping as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The past year only exacerbated these issues, with students either taking a gap year or opting for more cost-effective online courses, making it difficult for higher education to further ignore online learning opportunities.
However, adopting edtech solutions comes with a different set of challenges for the students’ learning experience. Included in this are:
- Social isolation
- Missing important milestones such as graduations
As a result of this, many colleges and universities are looking into developing stronger relationships among students and teachers by allotting time into creating dedicated social networks to foster collaboration and communication.
Post-COVID Online Learning in Corporate Training
Distance learning among employees has been made possible through webinars, online courses, and virtual classrooms and training. With the variety of options available, organizations were able to experiment and choose the mode of learning best suited for their needs.
Their increasing reliance on online learning is evident as L&D decision markers reported prioritizing:
- Wider access to training for remote workers
- Increase of flexibility in learning
- Emphasize use of digital learning
Many professionals who were previously reluctant to learn online have changed their perspective mainly due to its cost-effectiveness as well as the increase in quality that came from improvements in infrastructure and a greater number of courses offered.
In fact, only 5% of organizations surveyed are expecting to revert back to their previous “learning strategy, investment, and resourcing” before the pandemic started. Instead, these organizations have looked at online learning platforms and courses as more than just temporary solutions to the need for social distancing but as a permanent part of their L&D initiatives.
The role of online learning in the future of education
Online learning has been in steady development these past few years before facing an exponential growth last year, dramatically and abruptly transforming the way we think about and handle learning.
Educational institutions of all kinds-from K-12 schools to corporate training providers- have all handled the situation differently and met various concessions and successes along with it. It would be difficult to envision learning methods to revert back to what it used to be. Instead, edtech tools and technologies have become part of the daily teaching arsenal of schools and teaching professionals worldwide.