Has COVID 19 changed online learning forever?

COVID-19 has left no aspect of everyday life untouched.

The pandemic has fundamentally altered the way we interact with each other and the outside world. Businesses of all sizes and across industries have felt the effects of the virus—with education being no exception.

Across sectors, we’ve seen a common theme: New technologies are being used to challenge the way we live, work, and learn…

  • Doctors are meeting with patients over the web, guiding their treatment from afar
  • People are working from home using new collaborative software
  • Groceries are being ordered from apps
  • Universities and colleges are educating students through Zoom and other LMS platforms.

As campuses shut down to prevent the spread of the virus, colleges and universities were among the first to undergo the now-familiar transition from in-person to fully remote. Institutions were forced to send students home and embrace digital tools and platforms to wrap up the semester.

The influx of COVID-19 infections is beginning to wane. Social distancing measures are slowly relaxing, and businesses are tentatively opening their doors. With time, we can expect to see the return of on-campus learning. But with any event of this magnitude, we’re likely to witness long-lasting changes.

The pandemic has given educators the opportunity to discover the latest digital tools and learn how best to leverage them. What will the future of higher education look like emerging from lockdown?

Trends Are Shifting Towards E-Learning

Primary and secondary schools, along with colleges and universities, have made a large-scale transition to virtual schooling. This was no small feat.

Switching from blackboards and desks to screencast lectures and online exams required a great deal of planning and strategy. Even schools that had a digital learning system at the ready found it difficult to bring students and teachers online all at once.

Ontario unveiled its initial e-learning solution in early April. Now more than a month later, parents have experienced mixed results.

Any massive transition carried out over a short period of time is bound to present challenges. The pivot from a traditional classroom to a virtual one was no different.

One of the issues universities and colleges are facing at the moment is declining retention rates. If fewer students opt to return to campus for the upcoming semester, institutions will see less re-enrollment and less tuition revenue.

Many campuses take pride in providing students with an intimate college experience, where students are able to actively engage with classmates, in-person lectures, and the professors behind the podium. With virtual schooling, students are less inclined to pay hefty tuition fees in exchange for missing out on these familiar experiences. Popular events like open houses have been delayed or canceled, taking away the opportunity for institutions to show off their facilities to potential newcomers.

Another challenge is accessibility. Students without internet access or laptops, who would normally rely on the computers in campus libraries, have been left with few alternatives. Getting the right tools into the hands of students is an ongoing challenge for institutions.

What Does the Future Look Like for Higher Education?

For students who do have access to the right technology, virtual schooling is an exciting opportunity to revolutionize the way education is packaged.

The pandemic has challenged what we once considered normal. From the typical nine-to-five workday to the delivery of in-person lectures, innovators are now asking questions like, “How much time are people spending getting to work or school every day?”

The question of whether long commutes are really necessary has made its way to the forefront of people’s minds.

That isn’t to say that remote work and schooling will be the new normal. Rather, people are questioning the need to adhere to the rigid standards that existed before the pandemic—standards that seemed to vanish overnight, leaving people wondering why they had to be there in the first place.

With higher education, we now have the opportunity to integrate virtual tools with in-person learning in a way that students will find exciting and engaging. And students aren’t the only ones who will benefit. Teachers have already reported increased engagement with their students through the use of instant messaging, video calls, and online polls during the quarantine.

To overcome recent challenges, we’ve seen critical sectors like healthcare and education use technology in ways we’ve always thought possible, but were simply waiting to see implemented. As we emerge from the pandemic, the advantages that digital tools and platforms offer us won’t soon be forgotten.

Let Us Construct the Ideal Website for Your Digital Learning Platform

Is your organization interested in transitioning to digital education? Globalgraphics can help increase the accessibility of the courses you offer by streamlining learning modules, assessments, and feedback under a single digital experience.

With over 20 years of experience working with organizations across sectors, our team has acquired a reputation for building high-quality digital solutions.

We recently partnered with the Toronto University Health Network to further advance channels where they can deliver training. Our team of experts developed a customized online education portal for UHN’s Division of Nephrology . The portal allows doctors and nurses in training to securely login to access pre-recorded lectures, download documents, post questions, and undergo assessments — all in one convenient location.

Are you interested in working with industry professionals to create the ideal online learning solution for your organization? Get in touch with Globalgraphics today by calling (416)-256-7800 or clicking here.

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