Rethinking education post Covid-19 means a paradigm shift to online learning

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There is evidence that learning online can be effective in a number of ways. (Getty Images)
There is evidence that learning online can be effective in a number of ways. (Getty Images)

As Covid-19 restrictions impacted school openings worldwide, one thing quickly became clear: teachers and students would depend on technology more than ever. 

Globally, over 1.2 billion children in more than 180 countries were out of the classroom.

Many schools quickly and admirably pivoted to delivering online learning, leading experts to believe that when life returns to some normality, the online elements will continue to have a firm place in the classroom.

But in many cases, the traditional schooling model that incorporates donning a uniform, sitting in a class, and following a fixed timetable, might fall away almost entirely.

But for numerous virtual schools across the globe, its genesis was pre-pandemic. 

Also read: Education interrupted: Time to talk about the future of our children

Indistinguishable from brick and mortar schools

Based on global research, the firm Research and Markets indicates an increasing trend in online learning in education, and many traditional brick-and mortar schools will inevitably transition to virtual or blended learning post the pandemic.

A survey conducted in May 2020 found that 73% of American parents would be willing to have their children take at least some high school courses online – a 17% point increase from 2009.

Other research concluded that, on average, certain online schools are indistinguishable from brick and mortar schools when comparing student academic achievement.

For those who do end up going this route, there is evidence that learning online can be effective in a number of ways. The transition from brick-and-mortar learning to technology-based education means moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach, offering greater flexibility, better individualised learning, and a safer learning environment. 

The yardstick for our youth’s future success

For students, there is the chance to learn at the pace directed by them, rather than their class's speed. Video recordings, meant to complement – as opposed to replace – live lessons offer learners the opportunity for playback later and to refresh their memory. 

Remote learning environments also allow shy or hyperactive kids to feel more confident and do feel better, mental health-wise.

Additionally, learners with anxiety may feel that the disruptions in a physical classroom can interrupt their focus, and, interestingly, online learning could  increase retention of material, some research suggests 

With an infusion of modernity into our education systems, digital education is arguably the yardstick for our youth’s future success.

Submitted to Parent24 by the Valenture Institute and St Stithians Online High School. 


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