How Online Learning Changed in 2020
Discover the most important shifts in the education sector after the life-changing 2020.
Education is one of those areas of life that were pushed online because of the pandemic in 2020. The measures imposed by governments as a temporary solution had long-running consequences - the way we teach and acquire information transformed into something new. This blog post is an attempt to put together and analyze the changes caused by the extension of remote learning.
In all fairness, the educational sector was going through the digital transformation even before the pandemic. In 2018, 35.3 % of college students reported taking at least one class online during their programs. Besides, technology had an important role in classroom learning. And if so, why did the COVID-19 disrupt the status quo?
The most important reasons are the speed and the element of surprise. When the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared COVID-19 as a pandemic in March 2020, about 70% of the total student population worldwide experienced the closures of educational institutions. The teachers had to undertake emergency remote teaching.
There is nothing more permanent than temporary though, and today 90% of students in developed countries are receiving classes online while the industry of online learning development is working hard to optimize the process.
The sector of professional and corporate education, along with academic institutions, didn’t stay on the sidelines and even was ahead in some ways. Global educational technology investments reached nearly $18.7 billion in 2019, and the market size will be worth $50 billion by 2026. 68% of employees prefer when learning takes place at the workplace to save time. The market responds - you can find marketing, design, or IT online courses for skills growing.
Effectiveness of Online Learning
If distant learning is the only or the main option for education, we should make the best out of it. Fortunately, numerous statistics prove the effectiveness of online education - it requires 40% to 60% less time investment than traditional learning. Students can acquire information according to their own needs - skip already known ideas and concentrate on the new ones. The educational process passes in a familiar environment and stress factors like commuting or the feeling uncomfortable around certain groupmates. It explains the fact that students retain 25-60% more information when studying online compared to only 8-10% in a traditional classroom.
However, the effectiveness of online learning can vary depending on the age of learners. It is traditionally considered that kids get tired of monotonous tasks and sitting in front of a monitor. That’s why the adoption of gamification tactics is a major trend in modern education. Kids are easily engaged in games but the elements of gamification can be successfully adopted for professional and higher education too.
Lost Generation Gap
We mentioned the fact that the majority of the students from developed countries are well-equipped for studies against lockdowns and social distancing. However, not everyone was so lucky. In developing countries, people do not always have a stable internet connection, not to mention the equipment. For example, only 34% of the Indonesian students have an opportunity to use a computer for schoolwork. We shouldn’t forget here the members of the underprivileged social groups, who exist even in well-developed societies and aren’t prepared for e-learning as well.
The COVID-19 shutdown has exacerbated the digital gap. The absence of a computer and internet makes it nearly impossible to compete with other students. Therefore, the students from underprivileged families risk being lost for the society of the future. To prevent the whole communities from being cut off from the world, governments and private initiatives should step in.
The work on making education more inclusive will also make it more accessible for learners with disabilities who were left behind during the COVID-related school closures.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digitalization of education and distant learning has become the major way of getting knowledge. While many studies prove the effectiveness of distant learning, there’s a risk of leaving some categories of society behind. However, the investments in the digital education sector are growing which must result in the growth of various technical solutions for educating as well as their reduction in cost.
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