According to the World Economic Forum, not since World War II have so many schools temporarily closed across the world for the same reason. The impact of the virus on education is definitely unprecedented. It has surely given educators and education experts to rethink strategies. While many made the shift to virtual learning, the question lies as to what would be the long-term effects on education because of the pandemic.
The rise of blended learning
The education sector had already embraced virtual learning before the pandemic hit the world. In fact, certain courses were only offered online. However, the pandemic has forced educational institutions of all sorts to embrace a hybrid model of blended learning. Educational institutions have also realized the true potential of digital technologies and how it can complement face to face learning. The blended learning model facilitates flexibility, increases accessibility, boosts student retention, etc.
The transition from face to face learning to virtual learning happened very quickly. Many of us including our teachers had absolutely no time to adapt to this new method of teaching. When schools start operating in full capacity, most of the educational institutions will take into account how teachers delivered virtual sessions. Accordingly, institutions will have to invest in teacher training and refine their skills when it comes to using remote learning tools. This will ensure a teacher’s continuous professional development and better delivery of virtual sessions to their students.
Redefining the role of an educator
In today’s day and age, there are very few things that can’t be learned online. An educator should no longer be a person who just imparts knowledge to his students. With students having access to knowledge through their touch screen and voice recognition phones, there’s very little scope for traditional knowledge imparting. Educators need to empower their students, teach them life skills, and focus on improving their emotional intelligence. Only then can students transform themselves into contributing members of society.
Data-driven insights to boost student engagement
Online teaching and learning tools have ensured that education still continues despite the pandemic. But these tools can also provide very important analytics known as learner analytics. Through data-driven insights, educators can devise new methods to engage students, increase enrolment, and improve retention and completion rates. It can identify students at risk, improve assessments, and establish feedback loops. In return, educational institutions will increasingly use data and learner analytics as a base for making strategic decisions and to boost overall student enrolment, engagement, and retention.
Going forward, blended learning models will be a key differentiator between good schools and world-class schools.