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For many working professionals, COVID-19 has not only changed the way we work but has also impacted our ability to continue our education.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, education institutions have been forced to shift their focus from traditional on-campus learning to virtual classrooms, taking into account students’ health and safety while still providing top-quality instruction.
Some have even recognized the benefits of yoube coworking spaces, and have even set some for their students.
This is especially true for students in higher education who are looking for ways to stay on track with their educational goals.
While it may be true that students are learning remotely in more numbers than ever before, our new normal doesn’t need to mean a worse learning experience.
By taking advantage of innovative tech tools and keeping an open mind to new ways of learning, students can continue to make progress on their academic goals even while they’re stuck at home.
Here is how coronavirus has changed learning in many countries.
Adaptation of E-learning
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, e-learning was viewed as a mere supplement to in-person learning. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced schools, colleges, and universities worldwide to transition to online learning.
As countries are beginning to lift the lockdown restrictions, many institutions have not reopened their campuses.
The virus is still spreading rapidly, and it is simply too dangerous for students to resume in-person classes. Even if students could go back in, the risk of a second wave would force the institutions to shut down again.
So it looks like e-learning will be here for a while. And that means we need to find new ways of making it work better than before.
Moving from a physical classroom to an online classroom can be quite a shock for some teachers.
Teachers are used to teaching in front of a class, interacting with their students, and helping them with their problems face to face. Now, they cannot do any of these things when teaching online. Some have never even taught online before!
Many will also have to learn how to use technology themselves, as they might not be familiar with it. However, to combat this, many universities provide training sessions for their lecturers on how to teach online effectively.
They will also need to change the way they teach by focusing more on written explanations than the visual ones they are used to.
Use of AI and big data technologies
Both AI and big data technologies have been widely used in online education. For example, Zoom and Microsoft Teams allow people to video conference with individuals or groups through their computers and mobile devices.
Also, some other apps provide materials, including text and audio with quizzes for students to learn.
In addition, AI chatbots are used in online education by providing instant responses to questions raised by users so that students can fully know what they want to learn.
Furthermore, big data technologies enable educational institutions to analyze users’ learning behaviors and their feedback to adjust their strategies in time.
Changes to student engagement
This ongoing situation has led to uncertainty and anxiety for both students and instructors.
While there are many unknowns with COVID-19, one thing remains certain: the need for student engagement is more critical than ever.
The current situation has created a new normal where students take classes in an online format.
This shift means that student engagement is likely to be different from what we’ve known in the past. What does it mean for instructors to be engaging their students during this time?
And how can you preserve the human element of your course during this time?
Most importantly, student engagement means a strong connection between learners and their instructor and peers.
It means creating an environment where students feel comfortable and safe participating in class discussions, asking questions, and working through challenges together.
This connection is vital now as we all deal with an unprecedented situation that impacts us differently.
Diversity could introduce new outlooks
A remote learning environment could reduce the diversity of students in the classroom.
For example, students who live in rural areas and don’t have access to high-speed internet or a quiet place to do their work may be unable to continue their studies.
Moreover, some students might have difficulty keeping up with their peers if they lack self-motivation and time management skills. This could result in a narrowing of knowledge diversity and a higher dropout rate among underprepared students.
Teachers must focus on nurturing and supporting each student’s individual needs to prevent this. Teachers need to ensure that underprivileged students are not being left behind or given less attention than others.
It’s also vital for schools to identify those struggling with the change of pace and reach out to them with support services, such as counseling or tutoring programs.
These would help disadvantaged students catch up with their classmates and stay on track towards graduation.
Another issue that might arise is the lack of diversity within the teaching staff. Because educational institutions are often located in large cities, many teachers may not have enough experience living outside urban areas.
This could result in a disconnect between them and students from rural areas.
Rethinking the traditional classroom environment and adopting some of the methods used for online tutoring can help students learn even better in an immersive, technology-based learning environment.
Students should always be encouraged to seek out information at their own pace because that is the only way they can use their potential to learn.
Today’s education system’s fast-paced, competitive nature hurts individual students who have unique needs and different learning styles.