The COVID-19 epidemic has caused extreme distress on educational systems throughout the world since its beginning two years ago, wreaking havoc on the most vulnerable students. It has worsened educational inequity, which has long been a problem. In some nations, school closures have ranged from none to a whole school year. At least one-third of students were unable to pursue remote learning due to a lack of connectivity and gadgets.
Even if the system's immediate repercussions are severe, this does not automatically suggest that the system's long-term implications will be negative. However, it has clouded the prospects of a whole generation and limited their alternatives far into adulthood. According to the recent findings, the epidemic had a significant impact on K–12 student learning, with students falling five months behind in arithmetic and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year.
Since the COVID-19 epidemic began a little over a year ago, educators have shown courage, ingenuity, and determination in helping their students and colleagues at the most terrible time of their lives. This shared experience has influenced who we are as individuals and how we teach and learn. Many of these changes will have a long-term impact on K–12 education, both beneficial and detrimental.
The difficulties and problems associated with modern technology range from downloading errors, issues with installation, login problems, problems with audio and video, and so on. Many people believe that the technical issue is crucial in an online-only world. A network problem does not have a rapid remedy. If it is not worked on for an extended period, a student may end up missing one or two courses for the entire day. What can a student do if their phone goes dead in the middle of a class?
Quality of Instruction
Much of the quality of instruction depends on the attitude of the administration and the instructor. Data collected in a 1999 study by Elliot Inman and Michael Kerwin showed instructors had conflicting attitudes about teaching distance education. It often seems that the administration believes the technology itself will improve the quality of the class. Palloff and Pratt (2000) remind us that "technology does not teach students; effective teachers do".
The problem is not the technology only but the fact that the many teachers themselves are not acquainted with the advanced technology and cannot exploit it to their advantage. These factors are hardly conducive to making up for an effective learning environment for the students. If the administration and instructors lack genuine commitment, it is bound to have a negative influence on the entire distance learning experience. The learning process cannot reach its full potential until students practice what they learn. Sometimes, online content is theoretical and does not let students practice and learn effectively.
Understanding course expectations
Mediocre course content is also a significant issue. The unexpected transition to online learning has left some students puzzled about course requirements for the rest of the semester. Their syllabuses have also been cut short to fit online learning needs, which again impacts negatively on the overall learning process.
Lack of interaction
Students feel that lack of community, technical problems, and difficulties in understanding instructional goals are significant barriers to online learning. In a study, students were not sufficiently prepared for balancing their work, family, and social lives with their study life in an online learning environment.
Adapting to unfamiliar technology
Children are fast learners compared to adults when it comes to handling technology. But given the transition to online classes, students did face difficulty as they needed to get used to using the technology for the sole purpose of receiving education. A teacher says, "I think all of us have had to learn to use technology in the last couple of months that some of us have never heard of; some of us may have used just a little bit of."
Open-Source e-Learning Solutions
Governments worldwide are working to develop open-source eLearning systems that will allow all students to receive an education regardless of their technological abilities. Thanks to mobile-friendly solutions and highly accessible online portals for teacher-student interaction, even the most disadvantaged and impoverished students may continue their education.
Blended Learning Methodologies
After COVID-19, it is expected that the education sector will adopt a blended learning strategy. Blended learning is a blend of eLearning and face-to-face learning that allows you to get the best of both worlds. The intended consequences of this method include an online manner of assignment submission and lighter school baggage. Furthermore, blended learning will focus on the traditional educational system's current inadequacies and serve as a viable alternative if similar crises develop in the near years.
One size never fits all: Personalised Learning.
Artificial Intelligence has endowed digital learning with novel methodologies that are far more intriguing and engaging than traditional methods. Because AI allows for the construction of individualised learning experiences suited to specific needs, this is the case. In higher education, where the one-size-fits-all approach fails, this type of learning is a benefit. Adopting a customised learning strategy can assist schools and universities in addressing difficulties such as high dropout rates, a lack of student engagement tools, and so on.
For example, one student might excel at math but has difficulty learning new languages as they prefer to learn visually. At the same time, another student might be the opposite. Different approaches are required to best support both students' learning. This is what personalised learning aims to do; provide each student with the best possible educational journey.
Redefined Role Of Educators
According to a UNESCO Covid Monitoring website, approximately 1.72 billion learners have been affected due to the closure of educational institutions. A staggering 84% of teachers reported facing challenges in delivering education digitally, with close to half the teachers facing issues related to the internet, which included both signal issues and data expenses. The rise of online education has resulted in a shift in the role of educators. Teachers, who were once thought of as "knowledge-givers," are now being reclassified as "facilitators" in the field of pedagogy. Teachers are now required to help students efficiently use online learning resources to become self-learning specialists. Most professors were not adequately trained or prepared for the abrupt move to online instruction in 2020.
As a result, many institutions are now incorporating varied learning techniques to acquaint their educators with the required training to learn about technology and move between offline and online teaching modalities as needed.
Rising Demand For Skill-Based, Short-Duration Courses
The COVID-19 situation has also thrown the employment market into disarray. Professionals and freshers alike are choosing industry-ready courses to scale up their abilities and therefore remain resourceful for a long time to preserve agility and stay up to speed with the newest skills such as AI, data analytics, machine learning etc. The increasing demand for professional courses is called a 'Netflix moment' for professional up scaling.
The most popular choices are high-quality online learning programmes and online training sessions. As a result, investments in EdTech solutions based on user intent questions are increasing.
As the students dare to look ahead, it is crucial to ensure that they receive the quality of education they deserve. According to a survey published by the World Economic Forum, 65 per cent of today's primary school students will work in jobs that do not yet exist.
Vaccinations have become available as we enter the first full school year since Covid-19, and it is natural to hope that things are returning to normal. But the truth is that some aspects of our lives have permanently changed, and this needn't be a bad thing. When thinking about the future of education, we should consider how the epidemic forced educational leaders to broaden their horizons and stimulate innovation; when it came to helping students, teaching, and learning dynamics, administrators, professors, instructors, and other educators adhered to and engaged in best practices.