The COVID-19 has resulted in schools, colleges, and universities shutting down all across the globe. In the world, over 1.2 billion children are out of the classroom. This has led education stakeholders to believe in other ways of providing education to ensure the continuity of teaching and learning. As a result, most countries rushed to online distance education using online platforms, e-learning, ICTs, etc., which was the rapid change in the education sector. Research suggests that online learning has been shown to extend retention of information and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus has caused could be here to remain.
With more and more schools and institutions taking their courses online and other education stakeholders starting to use various online platforms, the education sector has seen a massive growth in terms of the number of users and revenues over the previous couple of months with multiple technologies. However, the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the online learning trend at a rising rate. It has been a source of innovation, enhancing education. This pandemic has put forth advancements that have transformed the classroom learning experience and changed the way lessons are conducted. Examples of online learning tools can be Microsoft teams, Google Meet, Zoom Meetings, Webex Meetings, and other online platforms. These platforms made education accessible to anyone, anywhere and at any time.
With lockdown, schools, colleges, and universities were forced to bring their courses online, whereby teaching is undertaken remotely and on digital platforms. This move has changed the concept of education overnight, and digital learning has emerged because of the new normal everywhere. At the same time, some ponder whether the adoption of online learning will persist post-pandemic. When students could watch online at double speed, and world-leading academics are just a finger click away.
One of the crucial lessons learned from this pandemic is the importance of focusing on mental health. Because the world is going through an unsettled and traumatic time collectively, it is easier to speak about isolation, the emotions this has provoked, and how each person copes with the situation differently. This openness should remain even post the pandemic, regardless of what education seems like within the future. Every new educational policy should incorporate the psychological state of scholars and that of the educators alongside the non-academic staff, developing strategies that benefit their psychological well-being. The education system must take from this and emphasize fostering responsibility in students to become members committed to their community who have the skills to figure cooperatively.
The pandemic has resulted in educational institutions across the globe being compelled to suddenly harness and utilize the suite of available technological tools to facilitate remote learning. Educators across the planet are experiencing new possibilities to do things differently and with greater flexibility, leading to potential benefits inaccessibility to education for students worldwide. Having experienced this first-hand and recognized the advantages during the pandemic, institutions will have to harness available technologies in education further to scale back the time spent by teachers on tasks like paper-setting, evaluating and grading, etc. may help teachers focus more effectively on teaching and course improvement. Adopting VR and AR technology to evolve from the traditional model and build a robust online infrastructure.
Physical classrooms offer a high degree of interactivity and engagement with the teacher and also among students. But as schools and universities become more flexible and accessible, and as online/blended learning, as predicted, will become an integral part of school education, educators will need to assist in tons of innovations to guide in the element of interactivity and collaboration in their e-learning modules to stay students engaged. Allow us to reflect on how this disruption will facilitate us to define what learning should look like for future generations, take advantage of this crisis and switch it into an opportunity.