Category: Edtech

Will online education outlast the Covid pandemic?

“Workplaces are changing, and the classroom is starting to catch up.”

Whisper it quietly, “there might be an end in sight”.

Increasingly, as I walk along the streets of London, I can see a sense of relief, even happiness, on the faces of those I encounter. It might be that the UK vaccination campaign, that was as ambitious as it has been impressive, is finally bringing the Covid pandemic towards its conclusion. In the summer months Boris Johnson has indicated that we might be able to return to pubs, clubs and hairdressers.

But if Zoom socials are on the way out, what does that mean for online education? Libra Education CEO Oscar Hardy explains.

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Designing learning experiences for Generation Z

“They understand the need for a practical and marketable skill set”

Gen Z was born between 1997 and the early 2010s and are now in high school, university, or looking for their first job. They grew up during the 2008 recession. Their older friends entered the workforce juggling a few part time roles serving the needs of the on-demand economy.

The last year has seen Gen Z’s time at high school, university or their first job disturbed by the global pandemic. Potentially there is also a post-pandemic recession brewing which will further affect their future career opportunities.

In order to tap into their interest in online education and cater to their needs, learning needs to meet three criteria: be affordable, mobile-first and help them future-proof their careers. Hanna Celina, director of insights at FutureLearn.com, explains.

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Data-driven best practices for building skills for online learning

“With eight years of data, we’ve found that, when done well, online learning can be extremely effective”

Teaching and learning online can feel daunting, especially at first. With the pandemic forcing millions of instructors and students abruptly into remote schooling, many have questioned the quality of online learning and its effectiveness.

With eight years of data, at Coursera we’ve found that, when done well, online learning can be extremely effective at helping students acquire and master new skills — including many that are in high demand in the current job market. In fact, 73% of our online learners report a positive career outcome within six months of completing a course.

Drawing on the satisfaction, skill development, and career outcomes of over 200 million course enrolments, the Drivers of Quality in Online Learning report showcases the power of online learning and provides actionable, data-driven insights for how instructors and learners can optimise their digital learning experience.

Here are four of the most effective ways we’ve found to build job-ready skills through online learning.

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Global partnerships: together we are an ocean

“Individual strengths joined together on a global level can, indeed, move mountains”

The esteemed Japanese writer Ryūnosuke Akutagawa once wrote: “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”

As human beings, we know that we are stronger when we work together rather than when we work in isolation, says Class2Class’ Suzanne Orzech. Akutagawa’s words seem to have come to life on a global scale as we look at the plethora of global educational partnerships that have emerged recently, thanks to human ingenuity and the desire to keep moving forward despite extreme global challenges.

Class2Class is excited to provide the technology solutions to many global pioneers who have come together to develop virtually collaborative courses, projects, and internships as an affordable and inclusive model for international education with other universities, NGOs and businesses around the world during a time of limited physical mobility. What is truly inspiring to see is the evolution of collective thought.

As different and varied as all of these partnerships are, they have the same goal in mind: advance international education and make it accessible to all, despite some extremely severe obstacles.

The importance of social engagement in the online class

“I can’t tell who is more frustrated, the teacher or the student”

How do you show friendliness in an online classroom? Now that we’re past the survival stage of virtual learning, we can think about what’s missing in how we teach and what we can do to achieve better quality communication.

I remember those moments, before the pandemic, when a student would walk into my classroom and I’d say, “hey, how’s it going today?” And that student could feel the impact of personal attention, that a teacher is actually “seeing” them. Those kinds of socially intuitive interactions are lost in the online teaching we are doing today.

What’s also missing are the little things that indicate friendliness, like someone getting closer to you when you’re saying something. In fact, students indicate that they miss the tactile aspects of face-to-face classes, like the feeling of having a physical classmate sitting close to them in class.

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The future of online learning is on-demand

“There is a visible need for more relevant digital learning experiences”

The global education sector has experienced more disruption and rapid change over the course of 2020 than it has over the past few decades, writes Susannah Belcher, Chief Operations Officer at FutureLearn. As schools close, universities pivot harder to digital, and professionals need to adapt and reskill, the demand for online learning is set to pick up rather than slow down.

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Why language schools should offer flexible online schedules

“Not everyone has a rigid nine-to-five schedule anymore”

Language schools around the world, normally heavily or even fully reliant on inbound students from all four corners of the globe, have had their income cut at the source, writes  Max Hobbs, LTL Mandarin School’s marketing director. Last year proved to be a sink or swim moment for those institutes.

Whilst many schools have sadly had to shut up shop, there have been a few success stories.

We aren’t talking about the ones who were already teaching online pre-2020, we are talking about the ones who have had to completely re-invent themselves like never before.

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Covid-19 is a chance to make education inclusive

Disabled students face significant disadvantage, but we can deliver learning that’s truly accessible

 

As universities adapt around Covid-19, Kellie Mote – accessibility specialist at the education and technology not-for-profit, Jisc – highlights the opportunity to deliver more inclusive experiences for all.

To say this is a busy and unsettled time for universities is an understatement. The pressures applied by Covid-19 continue to demand agility and vision from sector leaders, with institutions moving in and out of lockdown, and the move to online or hybrid teaching presenting multiple challenges – particularly when staff are unsure whose responsibility it is to test and update aspects of a large digital estate.

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Remote externships can save the high school ‘Class of Covid’

“The great part about remote externships is that they’re location agnostic. This means they really do encourage the best candidates to apply.”

Internships. The age-old rite of passage for college students looking to join the workforce. For generations, students have spent their summers during university shadowing executives and making themselves as indispensable to an organisation as possible, so they can lock down a full time job offer when they graduate. But students have also long been restricted by geographical and economic constraints when it comes to securing solid internship opportunities.

The fact is, running large internship programs are an incredible strain on resources for companies themselves.

Enter remote externships – an affordable, convenient, flexible way for teens to gain real corporate work experience – including internationally – irrespective of where they study or live as early as high school. 

Here’s why the “Class of Covid” should have at least one remote externship on their resume before applying to college.

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