Posted by ICON School on Jun 21, 2021 12:39:35 PM

Teenage high school student remote learning online group class at home, Online learning concept for COVID-19 pandemic

Since the pandemic, many things have changed, including online learning.

Individuals and institutions from all walks of life were presented (some for the first time) with online learning, with mixed results. Those who were prepared had the best results. At the same time, those with a greater dependence on in-person instruction faced more challenges as they attempted to provide an education to their students under challenging circumstances.

Online Learning During the Pandemic: A Recap

Over a year later, what is the future of online learning, and how has it changed for the better (or worse) since the pandemic began?

Online Innovation During the Pandemic

You may have heard the phrase, “necessity is the mother of invention.” And hundreds of millions of children, teachers, and parents across the globe being forced to take their education online certainly did create a fertile atmosphere for innovation.

Instead of innovations and experimental solutions rolling out slowly over time, solutions had to be found and implemented literally overnight, with mixed results. Apps, devices, platforms, and technologies that had never been used or only used in small doses or on a small scale were put through their paces in a very short period of time, weeding out the poor performers and streamlining the better ones.

Partnerships and Private Options

In the scramble to find a way to provide education for students, partnerships between private, public, for-profit, and not-for-profit organizations took shape at a fantastic rate of speed. The brightest minds were able to come together to provide educational resources and the technology to back them in ways that had never even been conceived of before when students needed it most, and many of these non-conventional alliances, partnerships, and programs may continue into the future.

Internet Access and Equity

Before the pandemic, internet access was still viewed by some as a very important but not essential aspect of educational parity (or equality). But when millions of students lost access to in-person instruction, access to the internet just became an equality issue. Children without access to the internet fell further behind than their peers, and the long-term effects of these disparities remain to be seen.

what is the future of online education?

The pandemic had a massive impact on learners all over the world, from preschool to Ph.D. This massive shock to the education system taught educators, students, and their families many lessons, and these are the key takeaways:

  • We now have a better understanding of what does and doesn’t work regarding online learning. The tactics and technologies that work the best will continue to improve.

  • Online learning has more public and private support and will continue to grow as a valid and expected mode of learning.

  • Internet access isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity when it comes to accessing quality education, and both public and private entities will be investing heavily in this in the future.

Post-COVID Online Learning: What Will Stick

Here are some of the long-term trends that we continue to see with online learning, after COVID.

Internet Access

While this was already known before COVID, it is essential to have access to a reliable internet connection in this modern world. The disparity between those who had, and those who did not have access to the internet became very evident as soon as the school closures began, and many public and private organizations and agencies took note. Across the world, region to region and state to state, more is being invested to expand and solidify access to the internet so that millions of students are left behind academically.

Progressive Reliance on Online Learning Platforms.

Even as students return to face-to-face learning, online learning will continue to have and enjoy a greater role in education. Hybrid options are increasingly important and are playing a bigger part in education from K-12 and beyond, and the demand is only expected to increase, not decrease. With the lessons that we have learned from the COVID shutdowns, educational institutions are better equipped now than ever to provide online learning modalities that are more effective and reliable than ever before.

Increasing Respect and Trust for Online Learning.

Prior to COVID, many students and organizations had not used online learning as a component of their education delivery or had only used it sparingly. Now, every organization and agency from private schools, universities, and companies, and beyond have become familiar with and accustomed to remote learning and education products and programs, they have become more respectable and accepted than ever before.

The Need to Address the Digital Divide.

Now, much like before, one’s socioeconomic status has a big impact on the quality of the education that a child receives, and how they can ultimately use it. Access to devices became an acute crisis as schools shut down, prompting both the private and public sectors to respond with grants and donations to help lessen the disparity between children with wealthy parents, and those from less privileged households and school districts. Sharing the family cell phone or smart tv in the living room isn’t a sustainable education model, so innovations in this area will continue to come out moving forward.

EdTech Investment and Security.

With more and more students logging on and sharing sensitive information online, the need to invest and innovate in the area of EdTech and data security is a number one priority. How the private and public sectors respond to this need remains to be seen, but necessity will continue to drive innovation in this area, and create greater opportunities for all.

Are you looking for the perfect online learning option for yourself or someone in your family? We encourage you to learn more and discover the right options for you. When you're ready, contact us to get started! 

ICON School

Written by ICON School

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