When the pandemic hit us last year, the world was turned upside down. People were left scrambling to adjust to the new reality: virtual workspace and online learning. The transition was anything but smooth. However, it brought upon a wave of change that was unforeseen for at least a few years. Today, we see most of the workforce embracing remote working and millions of students engaging in remote learning platforms.
This leaves one question to be answered, how is online learning changing our lives and education?
The wave of upcoming EdTech
Before the advent of the pandemic, the EdTech industry was on the rise, with more students opting for online learning platforms over traditional classrooms. However, 2020 has seen a sudden surge in demand for remote learning options. Catering to these needs were several tech companies like BYJU’s, Tencent Classroom, Lark, DingTalk, and more, with new features and services provided to students and parents.
For instance, the collaboration suite Lark offered teachers and students unlimited video conferencing time and other features like smart calendar scheduling, auto-translation, and many more. Similarly, broadcasting giant BBC indulged in online learning through its newly launched series Bitesize Daily, where renowned teachers and celebrities teach students concepts.
Needless to say, students had quite a lot to say about the efforts taken to ensure a successful online learning process. This wave of EdTech has accelerated the much-needed change in the education and learning process, but not without its challenges.
Challenges and effectiveness of online learning
Online learning may be the future of education. However, the challenges in reaching the true potential of this learning system are plenty. Similarly, the questions over the effectiveness of online learning are very much prevalent today. Three facets are to be considered when looking at the problems of remote learning.
- Firstly, many students lack the resources needed to adopt online learning completely. Those from low-income families and backgrounds do not own computers or systems that online classes demand. This is only furthering the gap between the haves and have nots.
- The second aspect of this problem is the low internet penetration level, a notable problem in the southern hemisphere. Over 360 million students don’t have access to the internet in this part of the globe.
- Lastly, the variation of the effectiveness of online learning is a matter of concern. While studies show 25-60% more retention in students engaging in remote learning, the numbers vary depending on the age. This is especially true in the case of younger students, who require a more structured approach to learning.
These three facets show that refinement is required in the current approach to online learning. Above all, education, as a whole, requires a change, a revolution.
Rise of a hybrid learning system
The current shift to online learning was unplanned, messy, and insufficient. Students today are facing several issues with the jarring change in the way they learn. However, once things have settled down, the way we perceive education is about to change.
Currently, with the rise in preference for remote working, the future of a hybrid workforce is brighter than ever. In education, the rise of a hybrid learning system can be slowly but steadily observed throughout the world.
So, what is a hybrid learning system? This is a concept that has been around for decades now and received a boost since the pandemic. Hybrid learning combines offline and online learning, alternating between face-to-face classes and online activities. Some of the advantages of this form of education include,
- Personalised education
- Flexibility in learning
- Instant feedback
- Improved assessment
- Saves time and money
From all aspects, the hybrid learning system seems like the education revolution we have all been waiting for. That said, the changes online learning brought into the world of education and our lives go way beyond hybrid learning.
Online learning bringing a change
Education is in need of a revolution; this much we know. From rote learning and chasing grades to hyper monetization of education, much needs to change in the way we approach learning. The pandemic-induced shift to online learning has shown us exactly where we lack and what changes we need.
Democracy of education
One of the first changes that the internet, has brought in our lives is the democratization of education. In the modern world, education is not a privilege but a right of every individual. Online learning makes this a reality with increased accessibility.
Anyone from anywhere can be a learner today. With the increased availability of online learning platforms and courses, one need not be associated with an educational institution to have access to quality education. Similarly, one need not jump the hoops of certification to impart knowledge today. To put it simply, Freedom in Education is no longer a concept but is slowly becoming a reality.
In short, anyone can be a learner and a teacher; this is what motivates us at Tutor Here. With the creative simplification of learning, we wish to build a community that is inspired to learn and share the knowledge they possess.
Learning beyond borders
Yet another change that online learning brought into education is dissolving the geographical borders that once bound education. Today, a learner from Africa can easily access quality courses from top ivy league universities in the US. Similarly, a teacher from China can easily teach students from halfway across the world in Spain. This increased accessibility is the magic of online learning.
Personalized online learning
We live in a world of hyper-personalisation borne out of fierce competition in the market. One of the reasons this is a trend in the marketing sector is the love we humans have over personalised services. This applies to education, as well.
Each student is different, and having a lesson plan tailored to their individual levels can do wonders in retaining knowledge. This is where online learning platforms play a pivotal role in customizing the lesson plans. Not only does personalization allow students to take things at their pace, but it also boosts their confidence as they are no longer being compared to their peers.
Emancipation of students
In a traditional learning setting, students played the passive role of listening to lectures and taking down relevant notes. Their only source of information was either their professors or books. With the advent of the internet, students are free to look for information they need independently.
This emancipation of students is furthered by the approach online learning takes. Most courses require students to take the lead and do their research. This makes them self-sufficient. Lastly, with several specialization and training courses on digital platforms, students further improve their learning process.
Taking money out of education
Education is an expensive affair. With the slacking global economy, the gap between people who can afford education and those who can’t is increasing. This is where online learning becomes a saviour. Online courses are significantly less expensive than traditional ones due to the lack of infrastructure costs that colleges and schools add. This makes education affordable.
However, the highlight of remote learning is free courses that take money out of education. At Tutor Here, we aim to ensure education is accessible to all, regardless of income groups, by curating free courses through a thoughtful compilation of effective learning material.
Summing it up
The global pandemic has affected our lives on all fronts, including education. With students forced to embrace remote learning, the education is seeing an accelerated change. From allowing students to be more self-sufficient and personalizing education to making education accessible to all, online learning brings about a revolution in the world. How ready are we to embrace this change? Time shall tell.