Remote Learning During COVID-19: Lessons Learned
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education globally, affecting billions of students. The unprecedented situation challenged the education system on a global scale and forced institutions to shift to some form of remote learning and online teaching overnight. During the early phase of the pandemic, the focus was on implementing remote learning modalities to reach all students as an emergency response. As the pandemic advanced, the educational sector’s responses evolved proportionally. Now, institutions around the world are open partially or fully post lockdowns. In essence, remote learning strategies during the COVID-19 crisis have compelled educational institutions to reimagine the traditional method of school-based learning. Here are the lessons learned from remote learning experience.
- Availability of technology is not enough for effective remote learning: Education technology has played a critical role in maintaining learning continuity and delivering education at scale during lockdowns. However, availability of technology is not a sufficient condition to ensure the effective remote learning. The impact of technology on learning and education remains a challenge.
- Teachers’ role is more critical than ever: Irrespective of the available EdTech and the learning modality adopted, teachers continue to play a pivotal role in remote learning more than any other modality. That is why, regular and ongoing teacher professional development is key to ensuring an effective remote learning process. They also support development of new digital and pedagogical tools that empower them to teach effectively in remote and classroom settings.
- Effective remote learning requires intense two-way interactions: For remote learning to be effective, the available technology must allow for two-way interactions between students and teachers. Institutions can enable meaningful interactions and continuous engagement by using the most sophisticated technology locally available.
- Parents’ involvement is key: Parents have to act as partners of teachers to mitigate some of the limitations of remote learning. It is necessary to provide guidance to parents and equip them with the tools required to support students.
- Institutions need to leverage the dynamic education ecosystem: Educational institutions need to closely coordinate with different players and entities that are part of the education ecosystem to secure the quality of the overall remote learning experience.
How Remote Learning Changed Institutes Post Lockdowns:
During the COVID-19 crisis, many institutes that were earlier reluctant to change their traditional approach to pedagogy had no option but to shift entirely to online mode of teaching–learning in no time. The urgent need for remote learning made institutes realize that resistance to change will not help. Their reputation is on stake and under scrutiny. Their adapting capabilities would show their speed to adapt to changes in a short period and their ability to maintain the quality of education amidst the crisis.
With the pandemic situation ongoing and the need for social distancing continuing even after lockdowns, it became uncertain for educational institutions to revert to traditional teaching methods anytime soon. So, several institutes transitioned to flipped classrooms and a more consistently blended learning model post lockdown.
The academic institutions realized that combining face-to-face lectures with technology in a blended learning environment can increase the learning potential of their students. Students can learn anytime and anywhere, which help develop new skills and lead to life-long learning in this dynamic world.
About The Author:
Dr. Richa Arora, Head of Institution and COO, University of Stirling, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, is a seasoned business leader and a passionate educationist with 18 years of experience in the education sector. Dr Richa holds extensive leadership experience in propelling academic growth across the continents and is known as a major step changer, making academic institutions work with various businesses, from start-ups to small, medium, and large corporates.