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Making the shift: Adapting to a virtual learning environment

Looking at the current education crisis from the outbreak, it is absolutely crucial for students to never stop learning. At this point in time, online learning is the only way forward. The current COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a great disruption affecting business, travel, and education sectors across the globe.

As social lockdown is enforced by most of the countries that are affected by the outbreak, over a billion students worldwide are unable to go to school or university, due to measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. More than 90% of the world’s student population is affected by school closures, putting their access to education to an uncertain hold. 

Photo by Julia M Cameron

Global lockdown

Over 1.57 billion learners were forced out of school in 191 countries. While the global lockdown of education institutions has pushed educators to take immediate measures ensuring emergency education provision, its ripple effect is only beginning to be felt. Now, educators are in a race against time to come up with effective means to communicate with their students and vice versa by utilizing digital technology and online platforms. 

Online learning isn’t a new aspect and has been a part of many institution’s course offerings throughout the world, nonetheless looking at the current education crisis effect from the outbreak, it is absolutely crucial for students to resume their education, and online learning at this point of time may be the only way forward. 

Educators may raise questions on the effectiveness of online learning, but it is safe to say that online learning has great advantages especially during these difficult times. Here are some advantages of e-learning:

Students Learn More Online

Learning online gives students can give a broader learning experience through the material for their online learning courses using multimedia content in the form of videos, infographics, webinars, and more. Online courses give students full control over their learning; students can work at their speed; thus, students work faster than they would do otherwise and take in more information. 

Flexible Schedule and Environment

Being on lockdown, students and educators can choose their own learning environment within the vicinity of a home that works best for their needs: be it the bedroom, the study, the living room or kitchen table. Educators can fix flexible schedules for classes with efficient breaks in between for their students’ maximum productivity.

Virtual Classroom

Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meets, when paired with e-learning tools such as Google Classroom, Canvas, and Blackboard, are being used as virtual classrooms in sharing real-time lessons. Virtual classrooms also give flexibility to educators and students to actively engage in discussions, ask questions, and gather more insights on their lessons or assignments.

Online Learning is Green?

Online learning is inevitable for students during school closures, but some say it’s arguably better for the environment. As exams, quizzes or assessments can now be shifted to digital platforms, and study materials are in the form of online interactive digital formats, the use of paper is no longer needed. Engaging in online learning does certainly help both educators and students to do their bit for the environment and encourage their own environmental goals.

Although online learning is one out of many ways to curb the education crisis during the outbreak, there should be significantly more discussion on the education disruption, what other measures can be taken during a crisis like COVID-19, what solutions can be leveraged, and what are the opportunities for blended learning are available moving forward.

Join LEARNTech Asia’s virtual conference as we cover important topics and up-to-date insights to support the learning sector. By attending the conference, you will be able to review the megatrends in learning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, identify adequate new teaching strategies, progressive policies, and innovative business models and to share best practices, and review current and future solutions.

LEARNTech Asia
LEARNTech Asia showcases innovation in learning in Asia. We feature stories and resources in online learning, workplace learning, adult education, EdTech, and creative solutions by teachers and trainers in learning institutions, non-profits, and enterprises that enhance human capacity and inspire communities of lifelong learners.