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A lot has changed since the pandemic started – our lifestyles, our work patterns, and especially the way we learn still it might be too optimistic to predict whether we are close to the end of the Covid19 Pandemic.
Among all subjects, the education sector even has been one of the most affected by the pandemic. With schools and universities closing their doors, students have had to find alternative ways to continue their studies. For many, this has meant turning to online learning. Hence, many schools and academic institutes were pushed to provide online courses due to Covid and to announce the return of in-person learning. So does that mean it is time to ditch online learning?
To address this question, looking at the end of this tunnel may have to have some predictions. The predictions which may include subjects about how things, and here, the educational environment as a matter of speculation, are going to change in the optimistic close post-Covid world.
So, let’s see the main questions: what will happen to online learning when the pandemic is over? Will it continue to grow in popularity or will traditional face-to-face teaching regain its place as the preferred method of learning?
The simple answer is it depends.
There are arguments for both sides. On the one hand, online learning has proved itself to be a viable option for continuing education during a time when physical attendance at educational institutions is not possible. It has also shown that it can be more flexible and adaptable to the needs of students, who may have other commitments such as work or family.
On the other hand, some argue that online learning can never replace the personal interaction and social aspects of face-to-face teaching.
Let’s expand the discussion.
For k-12 institutes, no one can deny the necessity of keeping students in the classrooms and having close interaction with teachers and their peers. But for undergraduate students in colleges and universities, we may still somehow debate the importance of their engagement with the campus at the early stage of their adult life.
However, the Covid era has proved for us that the universities which look at the market beyond offering traditional bachelor programs seem to have generated new revenue streams by offering online, digital credentials, certificate courses, or short-term upskilling training. This training has become an essential word for the modern technology-driven workforce market.
HRs and recruiters also are no longer only looking at your postsecondary experiences and that once-done degree. As everyone knows if he/she wants to be consistently competent, lifelong learning is the right approach. Hence, some universities and elite business schools started the continuing education program long before covid era, with more and more coding boot camps present on the market and ready-to-use technology fuelling this trend.
The best part of online learning is that learning can happen anytime, anywhere, and at the learners’ pace. It gives clients the autonomy they need to learn optimally. Especially for mature learners or those with working experience who have time constraints and might not be able to commit to attending.
To follow this trend, higher education finally realized they have been missing from the grand online learning education picture. Actions were followed and undertaken by prestigious universities like Harvard. MIT even started developing its learning management platform and formed open edX ®, which is now widely used among reputable academic institutes and organizations to offer online courses.
This is because online learning is not just about making up the lecture contents and throwing them onto an LMS platform. It is more than just live streaming the classroom setting. As a good online course, it should have a solid instructional design, engaging multimedia content, and clear learning objectives. Students taking an online course should also be able to access rich learning materials and receive prompt feedback from the instructors. in other words, quality online courses should not be inferior to traditional face-to-face instruction, if not better.
But with all these advancements in technology and thinking, is it worth to put in the time and money to develop a top-notch online course?
Let’s take a look at some advantages:
Significant Reduction in Tuition Costs
A traditional MBA program costs between $100,000-150,000, University of Illinois is offering a discounted cost of $22,000 for an entire MBA — leading to the retirement of its traditional residential degree offering. Georgia Tech’s pioneering online master in a computer science program, which costs only $7,000, recently announced they’ve exceeded 10,000 enrollments for this fall. Many more universities have started degree programs, online to bring more global traffic to the school now.
Flexible and Self-Paced Learning Experiences
As adult learners, we have a busy working-life schedule, online learning and learning management system offers a self-paced rhythm so we can flexibly arrange our own time for learning and keep it at our own pace to avoid the stress of studying in person.
Improvement of virtual Communication and Team Working Skill
think of before the covid era, it was not easy for everyone to get comfortable in doing presentations and meetings with Zoom or Webex in front of the camera, but once you master the skill of pivoting around the learning modules and different online discussion rooms, you feel it is relatively pleasant to handle back to back meetings and collaborate with different team members sitting at the back of the cameras on your screen.
It does not matter if it is a 3-day data analysis boot camp or a weekend-only project management certificate course, you will encounter classmates from different backgrounds and actively participate in the discussion with them, which will provide a global perspective that you cannot easily experience in your daily life. You will add such a new perspective to your current job or project, it may turn out to be the most valuable asset in your career.
Who knows? Maybe Covid comes back. The future is highly uncertain. If the sub-variants of Covid outsmart humans despite the public health efforts like vaccines, and new medications, we may have to go back to the new norm again. We should always have a plan B in place.
In short, it seems that probably online learning is not going anywhere. It is here to stay and will only become more prevalent in the post-COVID world. We should all be prepared to embrace it and make the most of it.
The structure of the online learning ecosystem is now gradually completed by course providers, technology partners, and learning management systems. LMS providers have now become an essential part of the entire industry.
For those institutes which have not entered this field, they will have various factors to consider before they make the most informed decisions. You may contact edSPIRIT- a leading learning management platform to find the best solution for your organization today by visiting www.edspirit.com