Moving Forward and Improving the Future of Online Learning
In March 2020, educators and students alike were thrust into the world of remote, online learning – whether they liked it or not. Many have surprised themselves by what they’ve managed to achieve under extraordinary circumstances. Whatever waits for us on the other side of this pandemic, we know one thing for sure – education has changed forever.
What will evolve after the pandemic is likely a hybrid of traditional and technology-based learning. It will be a case of cherry-picking either what’s best or what’s achievable under the prevailing circumstances. What are our takeaways from our unexpected “deep dive” into online learning?
The divides between communities of privilege and predominantly ethnic, urban neighborhoods became undeniably evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease’s skewered incidence witnessed the restricted access of poor people to medical services and other means of sustaining well-being. Also, a corresponding “digital divide” was born out in students’ access to learning.
Democratizing education requires that mobile learning must cater to students without optimal connectivity. eLearning platforms that allow students to download the course content are critical.
Privacy and Security
Our schools and universities are not safe from the cyberattacks we see at corporate and government levels. Hackers are regularly gaining access to confidential student data. Educational institutions need a plan for dealing with security breaches, and students and educators need to be educated on digital security.
The 2020 academic year has been a “baptism of fire” concerning online learning. As online learning becomes the norm, students will be less tolerant of “hacked together” solutions. We know that students today are concerned with quality over convenience. They want the same technology experience at home that they would have on campus.
For educators and learners alike, online learning’s biggest threat is the fear of isolation and disconnection. Social Learning Management Systems (SLMS), like Pedagogue, take the traditional aspects of an LMS (Learning Management System) and merge them with features of social media (social streams, live streaming, chat, groups, gamification, etc.) to simulate the full campus experience.
For the young ones who may never experience the old-style classroom and playground environments, Emotional Intelligence apps are helping them develop their social skills.
Motivation & Time Management
While some students thrived under the enforced, self-managed learning imposed by the pandemic, others struggled to stay motivated and manage their time effectively. Moving forward, emphasis must be placed on methodologies that engage students across the spectrum and guide them to complete the syllabus.
Online learning has progressed exponentially thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we advance, our challenge is to learn from the mistakes made and continue to improve on existing e-learning platforms. We also mustn’t restrict ourselves purely to the concept of remote learning but rather conceptualize a hybrid model that leverages the best of both traditional and cyber education.