COVID-19 is impacting almost every sector of the economy. And, the education sector is no exception. Schools, colleges, and institutes are close even, and students are at home with the least contact with friends. All thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic seething over the world. Everything is virtual, with no physical movement. Schools, universities, institutes of all levels have deferred or dropped examinations.
Indeed, even graded tests like GRE, SATs, GMAT, ACT are on a delay, and the fate of students hang in a critical state!
According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of schools in 188 countries, affecting more than 1.5 billion students and 63 million primary and secondary teachers worldwide.
The interference in the education system due to the continuous COVID-19 is a reminder that there is a need for transformation. For years, we’ve been talking about digital transformation but were in some undefined future. Well, that future is here!
The Shift: From Thinking Digital to Being Digital
The shift to digital learning is troublesome because no one was ready until the COVID-19 took hold.
The real factors of the 21st century have changed the way we deliver/access information, share knowledge, and ease learning. The COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant impact on our lives have raised the need to adopt innovative ways of getting education services at all levels.
To outsmart the disconnected model, educational institutes must access their current systems’ abilities. They should make a multifaceted digital learning approach that addresses both short and long term goals while adjusting the risks. They should curate existing education content, align with the curriculum, and plan on how to make it accessible.
The journey of empowering a full-scale digital transformation at short notice isn’t a cakewalk, but if implemented right, it can be a lesson in resilience.
The advanced technologies have the ability to plan, manage, and support digital transformation needs for the education industry. It can help institutions move their focus away from traditional learning models to adopt digital. This motivates immersive learning experiences, future-ready staff, and strategic outcomes.
The Education Sector’s Response to the New Reality!
It is inescapable to include digital tools for delivering educational content to students or learners. As technology plays a vital role, various education service providers rethink their strategies to stay strong. The COVID-19 have raised the red flags in the education industry and pushed its way to digital development.
Here is how the education sector is reacting to the new reality and addressing value chain risks.
The Tradition of ‘Learning Anywhere, Anytime’ Adds Value
The developing levels of academic institutions are driving the tradition of digital learning. Online classes have become the most suitable solution to secure a continuous rise in education. And this is possible by adopting three practices:
a) Use of Video Broadcasting Tools
Various schools and universities have developed the intranet system. It empowered a move towards video broadcasting tools, for example, Zoom, Google Hangout, and WebEx to offer to learn at home. Choosing a video solution helps educators to organize Live stream classroom sessions for students.
Video broadcasting includes virtual learning like— recording, live video, audio, live Q&A chat— via mobile app or website.
b) Use of Asynchronous Learning Programs
The barriers caused by pandemic have encouraged educational institutions to use asynchronous learning programs. Asynchronous learning is student-focused. It allows learners to complete courses without the compulsions of being present at a particular time or place.
Learners can share the idea, feedback, and query with educators and fellow learners, but, they may not receive an immediate response.
For example, Digital Library and Discussion Board assist students to connect online without a facilitator.
c) Use of Real-time Social Media Channels
To address the remote learning challenges, various institutions have developed real-time messaging and social media channels- Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and so on. It helps to create online learning opportunities to guarantee education reaches every student’s doorstep.
These social media channels are helping schools, colleges, other institutions to give information with a multiplier impact and embrace the ‘learning anytime, anywhere’ tradition, which has been evasive in many aspects.
Education Firms Nurture in Popularity
Education firms have battled to gain traction in the education sectors, especially with the use of advanced technology, in-classroom approaches. But, with COVID-19 causing academic institutions to close, the Education sector is ready for a certain change.
You might have seen many companies out with their popular applications — ClassDojo, Dreambox Learning, and Google Classroom, to name a few. These apps are leveraging the opportunity and bagging new customers by offering free access to their content platforms.
These mobile apps guarantee massive engagement between student and teacher via live-streaming classes and online tutorials. All this helps to reinforce the education system as a bankable option for learning at scale.
Organizing Online Tests and Assessments
The job of online learning solutions in organizing exams and assessments for students' performance plays a crucial role. It minimizes human errors and biases that occur based on favoritism. When it comes to securing the fair conduct of examination, these digital platforms have to lead the stage.
Yet, with the growth of online pedagogy amidst COVID-19, various platforms are experiencing thumbs up in the market engagement. They are playing an active role in fortifying the digital learning field.
Automated Online Proctoring solutions
It assists educators to create online tests in various formats. It includes skills, multiple-choice questions (MCQ), essay, typing, aptitude-based questions, and so on. On the evaluation front, these automated proctoring solutions come with an intuitive multi-section window where a grader can flip over various settings to convey explicit evaluations. The AI-empowered video interviews can help to generate extensive student reports by checking the internal score and performance.
Using Audio-Visual Analytics
These platforms check mindful and unconscious developments and student’s availability through suspicious browsing activity. It helps to spot oddities in a snap, caution or block the candidate, and avoid fraudulent activities to ensure a cheat-proof process.
Inbuilt Facial Recognition Technology
The in-built facial recognition technology validates the applicant and gives a certainty score to say the correct match. Suppose, if the system records the variation, there is a quick reaction by confining access and shields the integrity of the test.
How are the Innovative Technologies Helping Education Sector?
With the merging of new technologies, the old-style education system will evolve in the coming decades.
Existing technology can help teachers reallocate 20 to 40% of their time to activities that support student learning. - Mckinsey
To have a close opinion of how technologies are a helping hand in the education sector, here is a list of trends that are mastering their game.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality into education is beneficial to both students as well as educators. Educators can engage with students in an interactive 3D model to grab attention and motivate them.
Educational apps with AR features help students study and practice with full digital content. For example, Elements 4D is a great app to explore the haptic way of learning chemistry without engaging in expensive experts.
Another well-known app is Aug That, creating classroom engagement and making education fun for students, educators, and parents.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI in education is an intelligent adaptive learning engine that requires more personalized learning tailored to the specific needs of the user. It includes learning with AI strategies, illustrations, and interactive stories with which the students can relate.
It is the recreation of the human intelligence procedure through machines. It copies human activities and rational thoughts to solve real-world issues.
For example, Dreambox is an app that focuses on mathematics for students. It adapts to every child’s ability and allows them to learn at a pace that suits their needs.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality is somehow related to AR when it comes to offering smart interactive experiences. But unlike AR, it affects the environment. If done right, VR can come up with groundbreaking results and help raise engagement and knowledge retention of students and teachers.
During this crisis time, VR offers an opportunity to video call with real-time experience between a student and a teacher. VR enables you to bridge the gap between the student and the educator.
With VR, distance learning tools like Google Classroom, Edpuzzle, Blackboard, etc., can make student and the educator connected together in the same room via digital presentation. Educators can go into the VR world and guide learners through their experiences.
Machine Learning (ML)
A subset of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning assists in collecting information/data and uses algorithms to create calculations to data-driven decisions.
The main benefit of ML in education is to replace the filling the blanks with MCQs. And, this development is in use by various new educational tools.
For example, OpenED is an online catalog for homework/educational assignments, games, and videos. It allows educators to divide resources among online students. This, further, helps students to do their tasks and make evaluations on their devices.
Future Transformation: The Era of New Normal
Nowadays, the majority of students are from Gen Z and Gen Alpha that have grown up in a globalized world. Generation Z defines technology, where the terms- FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and FOBA (Fear of Being Alone)- express their interest in instant communication and feedback via apps like Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Instant Messenger.
While Generation Alpha is in use by the kids of Millennial, they are the most different generation over the world that is quite conscious about their identity. And, find social media the perfect way of life.
Amidst this COVID-19 emergency, we are sure that educators are thinking about what we should set up for the students to secure the future.
85% of the jobs in 2030 that Gen Z and A will enter into have not been invented yet.
65% of primary school children today will be working in job types that do not exist yet.
The COVID-19 emergency is changing the world and the teaching style for future generations. Here are the ways about how education will change the perspective of educators and learners forever:
Educating Students in an Interconnected World
COVID-19 made us realize how interconnected we are globally. Successful generations in the future can understand the inter-relatedness and find the way across boundaries to leverage their disparities and work in an all-around synergistic way. Geo-education helps students to know the out-of-school experience with a blend of skills, understanding, and attitudes around the world.
Rethinking the Educator’s Role
Now is the time to shed all traditional styles of teaching and follow the advanced skills. It’s time for all educators to reinvent themselves. The educator must adopt digital transformation by learning to access smartphones, tablets, and computers to encourage online lectures and smart classes. This will help them in the long-term as the future is all about e-learning, where teaching will prefer remote and digital platforms.
Encouraging Life Skills Needed for the Future
In this ever-changing worldwide condition, students need versatility and flexibility. Both are important to explore through this pandemic. Considering the future, the most crucial skills that educational institutes will look for are 3Cs- creativity, communication, and collaboration. And, being working collaboratively in teams across demographic lines will help go digital, which is a long-term benefit.
Confronted with the COVID-19 crisis, digital transformation in the education sector is on the rise with a new time leaving behind the old traditional teaching style. The education sector is adopting digital solutions that make e-learning more accessible than ever, empower digital-ready teaching ecosystems, and upgrade activities while cutting costs, risks, and efforts.
The pandemic brings an opportunity for investors and the educational institutes to invest in educational app development for easy learning and staying connected. Do you want the one for your school, college, or institute to make a smooth interaction between students and educators? The time is Now.