Online Learning Takes Centre Stage During 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely changed the education landscape forever.

Coronavirus has accelerated the process of adoption of ‘online’ as a viable mode for learning in 2020. For all traditional set-ups, the initial period of the pandemic marked a steep learning curve for educational institutions and teachers therein, who were forced to explore the various options available and practice the ‘digital delivery’ of classes.

As the months went by, students and teachers started getting familiar with the language of online classes. Educational institutions too, on their part by now, had tested, evaluated and zeroed-in on online tools that can be used effectively for teaching. Teaching methodologies evolved and there was a need to re-imagine the teaching-learning landscape. The pandemic necessitated a change in all aspects of education - from the mode of instruction, techniques used for class engagement to conducting assessments and evaluation. In all this, companies who specialized in using technology to deliver quality education and had considerable experience in the online environment and those with a clear digital transformation strategy, had a distinct advantage.

Is Online Learning Here to Stay?

Access to computers and high speed internet were some of the other factors that have played a crucial role in deciding which side of the digital divide one was on. A recent report further corroborates the fact that the adoption of online as a mode of learning during the pandemic, was not only limited to the formal school industry in metros, but has found a market in the informal tutoring space in the Tier II cities and smaller towns of India.

The COVID-19 pandemic has definitely changed the education landscape forever. Will online learning as a model continue to persist even after the pandemic? In all likelihood, the answer to that is a yes. Such a shift will have an impact on the education market, wherein we will see the emergence of a new hybrid model of education. Following are some of the ways in which learning and education will evolve in the times to come:

● Collaborative Learning: Courses will be designed to be more student-centric and interactive with greater emphasis on peer learning and other forms of collaborative learning to make good the limitations of an ‘online only’ classroom.

● Gamified content: Keeping the students engaged in the online learning content will be key. To that end, elements of incentivised learning in the form of badges, points etc will help keep the user engaged.

● A hybrid approach: The education landscape will see a coming together of online and offline channels to provide content and learning. All offline courses will have an online component and all online courses will have offline touch-points.

● Continuous Learning: Learning will no longer be restricted by age, location or discipline and in the truest sense will help everyone to become ‘lifelong learners’.

●Technology will continue to be a game changer: In the online learning environment, the possibilities in the area of customization and personalization of content are limitless. Technological advancements in the field of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence will help enhance the online offering.

● A ‘Freemium Model’ will continue to drive adoption in non-metro markets: Particularly, for students in the Tier 2 and 3 markets, where ‘digital’ is still not the preferred mode of operation, an opportunity to experience the course content and quality before making a purchase decision, will continue to play an important role to facilitate adoption of online learning.

● Growing importance of governmental support and initiatives: Government support and initiative to make available the necessary infrastructure in the form of low-cost internet and smart-devices, will help accelerate the adoption of online education as a viable and low-cost alternative to making quality education accessible to all.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the compulsory adoption of online learning, factors such as rapid growth of low-cost internet penetration in semi urban and urban areas, the growing smartphone users in India and the fact that India has a sizeable ‘young population’ (46% of the population is between the ages of 15-40) - are all factors that have favoured the adoption of the online mode of learning.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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online learning 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic

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