Post-Pandemic Learning: What Will Remain 

For the education sector, there will be no going back to square one after the pandemic is over.

Many valuable and hard-won lessons of the Covid-19 adversity will be implemented in the new normal of the education sector after the pandemic is over.

For all the human toll it took, the coronavirus pandemic has taught us tough and precious lessons. The education sector was initially left scrambling when the lockdowns began in March of 2020. Teachers and students, so used to the in-person classroom experience, were compelled to shift to the virtual mode. The digital learning divide, which always hid in plain sight before, was altogether more apparent when the issues of the internet accessibility, tech affordability, and even digital literacy cropped up.

With time, teachers trained themselves better and students equipped themselves with the know-how and gadgetry for this digital interface. Online education, which has never been without its share of detractors, emerged as a boon for the teaching and learning community. 

Today, online learning and teaching have been so refined that it’s hard to see it fading off when colleges and schools reopen after the pandemic is over or brought under relative control. A recent survey conducted among 450 students of Indian universities and colleges indicates that online learning has proved to be very effective on various grounds. The respondents approved of online learning for allowing them the flexibility to learn at their chosen pace. As many as 68 per cent of them found the online faculty lectures effective and 76 per cent found online quizzes and MCQs a lot more interesting than the traditional pen-and-paper quizzes and MCQs. 

As things stand today, it’s clear that many new learnings of the last year and a half will be carried forward to the education after the pandemic. Some of the facets of this post-pandemic education will be as follows:

Greater Role of Technology

Digital technology has created scale, accessibility and cost-effectiveness. It expands the reach of education and makes it accessible to students in far-flung areas at a cost that is fairly affordable. Besides this, technology is transforming the pedagogy, the learning modules, and changing the roles of both teachers and students. This transformation picked up pace during the pandemic and will continue even after it. 

Emphasis On Health and Well Being

The importance of health and well-being has been put front and centre by the pandemic and the education sector has to take the lead in making it an integral part of the learning process. Schools and colleges are already coming up with their Health Curriculum to promote greater awareness of health, hygiene, nutrition, fitness and disease control. Going forward, social-emotional learning will also complement academic rigour in educational institutions. 

Blended Learning

Blended learning mixes the best of both online and offline learning. It has been a buzzword for a long and will take centre stage after the pandemic. Teachers and students will continue to prefer the online mode of education to some degree, even when campuses begin to open. Topics that need in-person participation will be covered in classrooms, whereas those that may be taught virtually will be adapted to the online mode.

Asynchronous Self-Paced Learning

One of the biggest takeaways from the changes in education during the pandemic is asynchronous learning. Put simply, it’s a type of learning in which students access recorded material of educational lessons at their own pace and comfort. The material is in audio or audio-visual form and can be accessed again for greater clarity. This type of asynchronous self-paced learning will define the course of education after the pandemic.

Global Reach and Competitiveness

The democratisation of education has been underway for a long time. Empowered with technology, students today have the means to access the best of education from across the globe. Education in the post-pandemic era will have greater global reach and competitiveness. Students will have competitive alternatives to choose from when picking universities or colleges for higher education. This will promote healthy competition and inspire institutions to improve the quality of education they impart.

Changing Perceptions and Attitudes

The old hardbound perceptions and attitudes about virtual learning being substandard are now giving way to a new understanding that is more acceptable and even welcoming of online education. A survey of the hiring managers and employees conducted by Future Learn reveals that 75 per cent of employers questioned answered in the affirmative when asked if they would hire applicants with online education. As many as 89 per cent of employers said that online learning will become a lot more common in the future. These changing perceptions will also have a significant bearing on the education system after the pandemic is over. 

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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