The world is changing rapidly, and with it, remote learning and remote teaching are becoming a new and vital part of the lives of students at all ages.
A year and a half of uncertainty, coupled with a rapid need to adapt, has led to some huge changes in education. When the news first broke that learning would be moving online, the reaction of the average teacher was likely a sense of bewilderment. Because how could it possibly work? Teaching new skills to a class is a tough task in itself, never mind doing it through the pixelated lens of a webcam. However, over the past 16 months, it has turned out that remote learning is not only possible, but in many ways it’s genuinely improving the learning experience, both for teachers and students.
1 - Creating a newer, better business model
Over the course of the pandemic, many educational businesses have felt the need to take their business model online. As a result, many of them have managed to not only continue as normal during the last year, but have fared even better than usual. Of course, remote learning isn’t perfect – there are many creases to iron out still! – but below we’re going to take an optimistic look at all the ways in which remote students can benefit and thrive.
2 - Feedback is faster
For decades, the only way in which parents and teachers would ever interact is through parent-teacher evenings in school, which were only a couple of times a year (remember the nerves of being a child sitting at home, wondering what gossip was being shared?). The colossal change of the past year has totally reinvented the way parent-teacher contact is made.
In many schools in 2021, apps are used which allow parents and teachers to communicate far more freely. In some primary schools, for example, specially-designed learning apps allow teachers to share videos and images of their students beavering away in the classroom, or enjoying themselves on school trips. Parents can therefore closely follow the progress and behaviour of their children, and may even be able to witness a side of their child they’d not seen before.
This benefits not just parents and children, but educators too. Where once upon a time, the only way of getting information on a student’s behaviour to a parent was via a note (always at risk of being ‘misplaced’), today teachers can quickly and easily send a message directly to the parent, thereby ensuring it’s read and responded to.
3 - Students can find all learning resources in one place
Whether your student days are only a decade behind you or half a century, you’ll likely remember the days of stumbling home after a day’s learning with arms and a backpack brimming with workbooks, notepads and photocopied papers. And, of course, when it came to revision time, they were never quite where you left them.
Cloud based learning has come a long way in a very short time, to a point where now, businesses and schools alike can share vast amounts of information with large numbers of pupils spread all around the globe.
4 - You’ll spend less time on admin, and more on teaching and learning
There are some processes that don’t make sense to automate: for example, the act of teaching itself is always better with a human being than with an algorithm. However, algorithms set up to ease the admin behind remote teaching can free up a ton of invaluable time that can be spent on developing new, fun learning techniques and exercises.
In fact, a recent client of ours, Mesh Learning, had this very problem. See case study: Mesh Learning
Mesh Learning is a business offering tutoring to students up to Year 12, in a range of subjects. At the time Mesh Learning got in touch with us, they had been facing issues with learning software that was buggy and lacked important features.
We performed a thorough analysis, and set about repairing the bugs in the programme. From there, we implemented the features that were lacking in line with Mesh Learning’s requests: the ability to copy question sets, import student data easily, a maths editor function, and more.
As of July 2021, Mesh Learning has launched full remote learning capability. The previous iteration of their software was based all around iPads and face to face learning, however with our technical help, they have launched a fully integrated web application which offers even more options for learning and development.
5 - You can browse the best talent available
Whether you’re a teacher looking for students or a would-be student seeking a teacher, the move of education online opens up a world of opportunity. Just as remote working now means employers and employees can seek out the best of the best around the world, the arrival of remote learning means it’s possible for students to seek out teachers that are not necessarily based in the same location.
In fact, they could be based anywhere in the world. Demand for remote learning is skyrocketing all around the globe, and the remote learning market is purported to reach $370 billion by 2026. Whereas in decades gone by, if you’d wanted to learn French or how to play the piano, you’d have been severely limited by the teachers in your immediate area. Today, it’s completely feasible to learn to play Beethoven’s greatest hits remotely, instructed by a master of the craft who may be based in another city, country, or even continent.
6 - It’s enjoyable
Learning apps like Duolingo offer a learning experience that expertly taps into the reward centre of our brains. There’s something about those clean menus, simple module layouts and little green flashes when you get an answer correct that is just so satisfying.
For Millennials and Generation Z, who had largely been raised in a society obsessed with tech, this manner of learning is both second nature and highly gratifying. Just as notifications badges on social media generate little serotonin boosts and keep us coming back for more, the congratulatory beeps and green flashes of education apps can make learning feel like a positive and stimulating experience, particularly for students who may at times struggle with their concentration.
7 - Communication is more direct
Whether you’re teaching one to one or an entire remote classroom, remote learning has given students the means to express themselves to teachers in a way that they may not feel at ease doing in a classroom environment. Video calling apps with integrated messaging, such as Zoom, give pupils the opportunity to message their tutors directly with any questions they may have, rather than risking embarrassment by raising a hand in the middle of class.
In response to this, teachers are able to offer tailored support using a wider range of resources than might otherwise be possible – for example, by using videos, a range of articles, or various learning apps to try and explain a complicated issue in various, more interesting ways. After all, each of us learns differently and at different paces.
Technology and remote learning: The conclusion
It’s easy to debate whether remote learning should become the new ‘normal’ permanently, with some circumstances, and even certain subjects, more difficult to learn in a remote setting. For example, alongside remote learning (versus in-person learning) often comes a struggle with discipline, especially for schooling in younger children. When parents are working from home, it can be a constant juggle of homeschooling, remote learning and their own working life - which can make learning for younger children difficult to manage. Although children may be viewed as being more adaptable, at a young age, children can thrive from being in a busy, classroom environment.
However, there are always two sides to every coin. There are a ton of ways that remote learning and remote teaching is changing the way we learn and develop for the better. Many education businesses and schools are looking into ways of mixing in-person learning with remote learning, as a hybrid model designed to combine the best of both worlds. For adult learners, or students where in-person learning just isn’t an option, however, remote education can still be an immensely productive and gratifying experience.
At Lokava, we work closely with businesses to improve their efficiency and effectiveness by solving issues through innovative software solutions. If you’re an educator or education business and you’re ready to take your business model online, get in touch today and let’s talk through everything we can do for you – including all of the above, and much more!
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