The year 2021 was the year of online learning. So far, here’s what we’ve discovered.
In many ways, life has changed for all of us, and while certain things are just on hold until the current pandemic passes, the post-pandemic world will also require creating a “new normal.” And, like it or not, education is likely to be one of the things that have changed for the better.
Educators have had to hustle at the last minute to convert information they’ve been presenting in person for years to an online format, and administrators have had to rapidly extend their existing systems to accommodate them. Meanwhile, learners on the receiving end of this new format have had to contend with obsolete and challenging technology, as well as fewer support services to assist them.
To blame online education’s recent problems on the format. There will always be ways for online education to fall short of in-person instruction—this is especially true for young audiences. However, it also makes education in a variety of skills, including specialist areas, more accessible and inexpensive. And, when it comes to adult online education, the majority of the issues we’ve seen so far are more directly the result of overburdened infrastructures that haven’t been able to react at the fast speed required by the present pandemic.
While video conferencing is a convenient solution for many instructors, it has a number of drawbacks when used as the sole mode of delivery for online learning. The most significant struggle to remain focused while learning via Zoom and added to that the difficulties with internet connectivity and frozen screens alone causing delays in Zoom learning, and leading to an extended time table and not to mention the frustration it causes amongst course learners and adds to low learner engagement rates. This ultimately makes the Zoom learning sessions less effective and more frustrating and time-consuming.
2. Learning resources need to be scaled without the need for more face time
The most significant benefit of online education is its ability to scale almost indefinitely. There are only so many people who can fit around the table—or in the training venue, in the case of an in-person course. However, if the underlying infrastructure can handle it, a single online course can accommodate to tens of thousands of students. And deliver an engaging learning experience as it doesn’t have the mass difficulties with internet connectivity and frozen screens alone cause delays in learning. As the core training presentation is a recorded video, learners can move through the material at their own pace and are more engaged that in Zoom learning sessions.
3. Interactive information keeps students interested for longer periods of time without tiring them out
For years, “engagement” has been a buzzword in online education, but individuals who are new to it may struggle. On this issue, online education can be particularly unsettling because educators can’t see their students and thus can’t tell if they’re interested in the topic based on their facial expressions. The idea is to employ interactive information that allows students to put their knowledge to the test in a more dynamic manner. This includes branching scenarios, micro quizzes, and even AR or VR aspects. Learners’ willpower will be depleted less as they become more immersed in the content, and they will be able to endure without even trying.
4. Focus time on learner support
While an online course that is nothing more than video conferencing is likely to be tiresome, there are occasions when it is the most effective approach to offer to teach. Meeting time is the most time-consuming for educators because it cannot be scaled indefinitely and typically necessitates some level of preparatory time. It can, however, contribute to some of the finest learning outcomes when used in a focused fashion to provide individuals with support. And this is Zoom comes in, live Q&A sessions or one-to-one 15-minute learner support sessions can be the most rewarding and significant.
Online learning was challenging in 2021. However, it has expanded educational access for students with disabilities and those challenged by cost, location, and time restraints, who have previously struggled to attend the traditional classes.
It has increased the number of courses accessible and provided more people the chance to pursue their interests. It’s also become a financial asset for many educators whose business relied on In-person Live training and was previously limited by location, travel, timing, and capacity for growth.
Additional information on eLearning 2020-2021
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