It’s Time for Online Learning to Evolve

Rebecca Rozakis
Updated May 27 2020
educational trends and coronavirus
Rebecca Rozakis
Updated May 27 2020

Education is at a crossroads right now.

The choice is between clinging to old practices and theories or redefining learning in the age of COVID-19. The pandemic more commonly known as the Coronavirus has forced schools around the world to close, prompting a chaotic scramble to move online and find a way to somehow finish out semesters.

Universities around the world have shut down their physical facilities is response to the emergency, starting with higher education institutions in Asia and rolling around the globe. Many institutions have gone fully virtual for this semester at least, and most are beginning to prepare in case the next semester must be virtual as well.

But in every crisis is an opportunity.

This is a chance to take education forward. When we think about learning experiences today, we see a growing need for virtual learning. We look at ways to augment the classroom, at self-paced learning, or at extending the classroom for those who can’t be there in person. We try to nurture active learning, interaction with teaching materials and student-generated. As the need for online learning both in schools and universities grows, we look to technology and tools to help us improve, now more than ever before.

Major Trends

There have been a lot of major trends in education that were coming to a point before the crisis. Some of them included:

  • Analytics
  • Nanodegrees and Micro-credentialing
  • VR/AR
  • Continuous learning
  • Competency-based education
  • Internationalisation
  • Gaps between student expectations and student experiences
  • AI
  • Personalisation

Now, the current crisis is accelerating all of these.

From Tradition to Transition

As schools look at going to hybrid or fully virtual experiences for the fall as well, a lot of the traditional approaches to education will need to be rethought. The first few months of the crisis were a scramble; the fall will need to be more considered. That will mean:

  • More remote and live lecture capture
  • More virtual classrooms
  • Virtual events, including commencements, investitures, performing arts, guest speakers, and alumni functions
  • Greater emphasis on digital marketing and virtual admissions processes

Leaning into some of those earlier trends, around personalisation, AI, AR/VR, and more, will help schools meet their students’ and prospective students’ expectations.

Getting Back on Campus

Even after this crisis is behind us, the landscape of education will have changed. Learning the lessons now will help schools prepare for the future. Some of the needs of the moment that will pay off in the long run?

  • More organized video technology infrastructure
  • More flexible approach to meet students’ individual schedules and needs
  • More options for staff and students
  • Better personalized engagement with students outside of class
  • More rigorous approach to accessibility

Having to dive into these trends with no notice and during a global emergency is terribly painful and not the way any of us wanted to do this. But rising to the occasion will give schools the positioning to succeed long after the crisis has passed.

Need some more details, from stats on what other schools are doing to tips for getting these initiatives rolling?

Read the whitepaper "Taking Higher Education Virtual: Setting Yourself and Your Students Up for Success"