For many years there has been an expectation that many in the working world would see a big change in their schedules, opting for coworking situations and working from home instead of being in an office. This is of course down to the ability to connect remotely and the potential savings which could be made by businesses. Something which was never considered however, was the same thing happening in education. Distance learning has certainly improved thanks to tech advancements, but nobody ever considered a traditional education being offered through such means.
This year has seen a sudden shift to virtual learning because of the coronavirus lockdowns, and it has been essential in supporting students in continuing their studies. Companies like Learning Cloud NZ have also been able to keep their staff busy and giving lessons. So what exactly does this shift mean for the future of education?
Bridging The Gap: As schools begin to open up this virtual learning platform, they will be able to bridge the gap between studying from home and studying back into schools. The reason for this is that we are still in a very tentative moment where year groups are being sent home if there are COVID-19 cases confirmed. In such an event, the schools can switch back to the virtual learning portal to prevent interruption.
Support Rather Than Takeover: With regards to virtual learning taking over the traditional classroom, this is something which is highly unlikely. There are multiple reasons as to why this will not be the case, chief among them would be childcare issues at home. Beyond this we have to consider the damage to the social lives of the students and the difficulty of properly managing a class when it is virtual. What we can expect to see, however, is additional support offered by educational facilities, who can offer better aid to students who may be struggling with certain areas of their studies.
Focus on Higher Education: Once students get to the university level, they are much more autonomous than they have been during their high school years. Class sizes are larger, there is far less engagement between teacher and student and there is a real onus on the students taking control of their learning. In these situations it is certainly plausible that these students are offered the chance of virtual learning. We may still see students heading off to a campus, in order to gain the life skills and to access the resources which the university has; but many of those lectures may certainly take place remotely.
In offering something like this to these students, the college itself could use high level professors from all over the world, who could provide high quality lectures to the students without the logistical challenges of being in the same room.
There is absolutely no doubt that virtual learning software has been a critical component of the education system in 2020. We can however doubt its widespread use in traditional education in the future, there are simply too many holes.