Written by: Artur Meyster
In the Covid-19 era, the world has struggled with many challenges. The education industry has suffered more than many others because the most vulnerable members of society have been affected. This sector has started recovering from the damages caused by the pandemic but there is still a lot of work to be done. Schools are resuming in-person classes in many major cities as long as Covid-19 safety protocols are being followed. It's easy to see only the death and destruction the pandemic has caused. However, if you look well, you'll find some unexpected benefits of Covid-19 in the education industry.
Covid-19 Proves that Virtual Learning is the Future of Education
Since the pandemic started in December 2019, things have been tough for students. It wasn't until March that many countries imposed Covid-19 restrictions and locked down schools. During the lockdown, students used digital curriculums to get much-needed education. In some cases, the schools provided and recommended all the educational resources required to promote uninterrupted lessons over the Internet. Instead of depending solely on pre-recorded videos, students have been using video conferencing apps to conduct online classes. Virtual learning has come with many benefits and it has proven that technology is the future of education:
1. It Improves Digital Skills
The digitization of education doesn't just make things easier for students while they are in school, it also prepares them for life after school. After all, digital skills are essential for the future of work. Students will naturally pick up these skills as they rely on digital tools for their education. Right now, the most popular tools for online education promote collaborative learning, interactive teaching, and scheduling. Even websites like Bootcamprankings.com and Computersciencehero.com allow people to learn tech skills remotely.
2. Exposes Learners to More Options
Online learning gives learners more options than in-person classes. This is especially so for older students in graduate and postgraduate programs. Universities that offer online degrees attract students from different parts of the world. Students can find courses online that they can't find in the land-based version of the school. Apart from this, you can decide to take classes from different schools at the same time without stressing about commuting daily. Imagine getting a degree from a university in Canada and another degree from the United Kingdom at the same time? Isn't that amazing?
3. Virtual Learning is Flexible
The flexibility that virtual learning offers is second to none. Students don't need to be in any specific location when it's time for lessons. As long as they have a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, learning can take place anytime and anywhere. Even in cases where schools provide time-based digital curriculums, students still have the option of learning anywhere they want. These programs are structured but they still give students a level of freedom. If travel restrictions weren't in place, parents would have been able to go on long vacations without worrying about schools.
4. Classes Are Recorded
Live online classes are typically recorded for reference. When students need clarity about a particular topic, all they have to do is play the recorded videos. In land-based classes, there is no such thing as a playback. You might be able to take an audio recording of the entire class but it still doesn't compare to the video feed from an online learning class. Besides, watching a video is more engaging than listening to audio.
5. Online Tools are More Efficient for Feedback
It's no longer news that feedback is a vital part of education. Students rely on feedback to know if they are doing well and if they need to improve. Teachers use feedback to find out if the students understand what they are learning. Online tests are scored instantly and students can see their results without waiting for days or weeks in anxiety. Some great tools for feedback in education are Socrative, Backchannel Chat, Poll Everywhere, Formative, and GoSoapBox.
No one can deny all the bad that has come with the Covid-19 pandemic but it's always good to look for the light in the darkness. Some of the current changes the virus has brought to the education industry will last for years to come. Students may not have been able to attend in-person classes as frequently as they used to but virtual education has allowed them to progress in their classes.
Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.
Linkedin: Artur Meyster