Online Learning in the Pandemic Age

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General

Online Learning is swiftly taking over as the primary way to study. What does that mean for the structure of schooling as we know it?

Never before have we had as much time on our hands to spend in learning. Never before have we had the opportunities to better ourselves through the express medium of the internet. The pandemic era is ushering in a new way to educate yourself and it is all online.

In the world of online learning, one man’s training is another man’s bread-and-butter. We are all able to do something that others can’t, so we all have something to sell in the online course marketplace.

We are living in a world where the entirety of human understanding is accessible with a few clicks. Education is a level playing field. It is only understandable that we learn to take advantage of the fact.

The Effect of Lockdown on Traditional Schooling

When the world decided to act against Covid-19, it closed its doors in a variety of ways. Carbon emissions dropped off as we all stopped commuting, and many of our children were removed from school by closures, government advice, and for sheltering purposes.

A whole generation of young people has been cast adrift by this virus. They are floating in an ocean of knowledge, but all of their traditional access points to that knowledge have closed their doors.

As it is, the traditional education system is failing them. However, hope is on the horizon. This means that online education programs have the advantage over established, bricks and mortar facilities, for arguably the first time ever.

Even this has its drawbacks. Home schooling is only the answer for the educated. It is only practicable to the sufficiently well-off. A single parent family, whose guardian is the sole provider, will struggle to find the time to juggle home-schooling with making a living.

There are other issues, too. The average school child has access to the internet, but they don’t necessarily own their own device to connect to it. Someone who doesn’t know algebra cannot be expected to teach it, and so on.

The Impact of Lockdown on Online Learning

It might have been the only positive to come out of the shutting down of the material world… but the world of digital learning just experienced a boom it is unlikely to ever see again. Early in 2020 it saw a 200% rise. By the year’s end, the overall demand for E-Learning had increased by 36.3%.

At the start of 2020, we didn’t know that ‘working from home’ would extend to cover educational establishments, too. Now that it has, it remains to be seen exactly how the future of education will pan out. At this key juncture, it has the potential to revolutionise the examination system and change how we do schooling, for the better.

The Future of Education

So, among this vast plethora of educators vying to get their courses online, we are able to hand-pick the few that have been waiting for this moment.

Organisations like Hays have been setting up training courses for businesses through online portals for years already. Firms like Duo Lingo, which operates in app form, are already teaching languages better than any classroom-based lesson.

There are whole sites filled with diploma level courses, some of which cost a pittance when compared to a University or College fee.

In the online learning world, screen sharing has replaced the chalkboard. Email is the new (paperless) way to communicate. Worksheets are digital and nobody has any need to interact face-to-face, if they don’t want to.

Whole educational facilities would no longer be needed, shaving thousands of pounds off your fees. Think of the implications this would have in places like America, where student debt amounts to $1.6 trillion USD annually.

Where does Digital Learning go from here?

What happens next in the world of online education? We can expect the next few months to bring the mass transfer of offline to online classes. Course data will evolve to become more analytical, so that teachers are able to keep closer watch on who is paying attention in a classroom where you can’t always see your attendees.

We will see massive leaps in what can be done online and what requires physical assessment. Courses that require lots of practical experience will struggle to keep up but will eventually find work-arounds in the form of apprenticeships and probationary periods.

At the heart of all of this, the jobs and training we see as valuable are going to evolve. We are going through a period of global change right now, experiencing a mass digitalisation of the world of education. We shouldn’t be scared of it. We should embrace it and see where we end up.

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