It’s no surprise that the pandemic has impacted learning methods and teaching practices, redrawing the trajectory of education. Technology has become more than an optional choice for early adopters, as it now enables educators to reimagine and redefine learning norms beyond classroom boundaries.
Covid-19’s impact on the education sector has been puzzling. On the one hand, the pandemic has thrown academic systems, conventional teaching practices, learning techniques and processes into disarray. On the other, it has emerged as an accelerator for digital learning. Research reveals that by mid-April 2020, a whopping 94% of learners globally were affected by the pandemic. This represents 1.58 billion youth and children enrolled for pre-primary and higher education across 200 countries. While the pandemic has compelled learners to shift away from classrooms in several parts of the globe, this has, in turn, created opportunities for education technology to make significant inroads within the conventional learning ecosystem.
As we gear up for a post-Covid-19 world, online learning models and methods will need to deliver a traditional experience via a completely digital classroom that offers flexibility, security, comfort and accessibility. The use of advanced educational technology to redefine education norms outside the classroom will allow education providers and administrators to bridge the gap between digital learning and residential programs, ultimately democratizing access to education.
Global institutions are keen to compensate and digitize for the extended pandemic-related disruption timeline and ensure that a similar disruption in the future doesn’t inhibit the meaningful impact of teaching.
The Current Ecosystem
The Covid-19 pandemic has demanded that the next generation of technology builders work aggressively to ensure digital classrooms offer top-notch learning resources. However, to be successful, it’s imperative that the four main players in the edtech spectrum — students, teachers, administrators and service providers — work in cohesion. This requires mindset and behavioral changes to help transition and embrace a transformative experience in learning methods and techniques.
Many digital learning solutions have already proliferated the market. However, these are largely disintegrated and disjointed offerings. They often come with additional requirements, such as compatible devices and high bandwidth needs, which eventually increases the overall cost and results in a low efficacy education delivery system.
Orchestrating The Future Learning Ecosystem
Inter-connected and integrated learning mandates educational institutions and universities to gradually transition to a completely online mode, which can result in an improved learning outcome. However, in order to explore the full potential that e-learning technology offers, learning providers need to ensure the following:
- Intuitive Offerings: Solutions should be intuitive for learners, educators and administrators alike to encourage its adoption and use. Educators and their support systems call for complete visibility into their learner’s journey, in order to gauge their progress and intervene at the right time.
- Measurable Outcomes: The performance and productivity of all stakeholders in the value chain should be measured and analyzed in real time for which end-to-end access and visualization of the relevant data will be required. It will facilitate activities such as automatic attendance, secured assessments, immersive illustration, real-time collaboration
- Up-To-Date Infrastructure: The infrastructure underpinning a digital learning ecosystem must also be upgraded to ensure optimal performance of the entire value chain. These systems will need to be built on a robust, scalable framework that can understand learner engagement during live classrooms and ascertain the sanctity of remote assessments. At the most basic level, IT teams operating in educational institutions will need to assess the performance of existing networking equipment and servers to find out whether they can support the existing learning network. In order to accommodate the potential explosion of rich media being transmitted over networks, institutions may have to invest in high-tech networking equipment. They may also need additional infrastructure for power and cooling devices to uphold maximum network uptime.
- Secure Channels: At a time when incidents of cybersecurity breaches are constantly making headlines, it’s important for educational institutions to secure their online learning ecosystem from hackers. In order to secure online data transmission, academic instructors need to implement adequate security controls and checks that can help ensure data integrity, stringent access control, end-to-end data encryption and user authentication.
Crises often serve as a testbed for innovation, and the future mandates a flexible learning ecosystem where knowledge can be seamlessly disseminated across borders and all spheres of the society. The time for educational institutions to act is now.
This blog was originally published on Forbes.com