Lincolnshire (UK), July 2020 - One day we will return to our pre-coronavirus lives, and Covid-19 (and 2020 in general) will just be a painful memory. However, it's going to take a while, and some things might never be the same, including the learning sector. Why do we think learning will have changed forever? The disruption to the sector and the enforced changes that have had to be made have given educators all over the world the opportunity to think about how learning is delivered.
In this feature, Shane Traill, Director of First Media, discusses six ways he thinks learning will never quite be the same - ever again.
1. The arrival of tech in learning
It's strange to think that before Covid-19, many education providers and businesses rarely utilised tech in learning. Even though there have been some meteoric advances in technology, schools, colleges, and businesses still largely favoured the traditional face-to-face delivery. However, lockdown meant that everyone responsible for delivering learning had to totally embrace online learning - almost overnight. There was literally no alternative, and with technology becoming more and more part of life for young people, it's hard to think that tech won't have a more prevalent role in education going forward.
2. Redefining the classroom
Until now, the traditional classroom hasn't changed much since the Victoria era. However, Covid-19 is forcing educators into thinking how to best use the classroom in the future. We think that education will embrace more of a blended approach, and the classroom will look very different when the restrictions are lifted. Blended learning had already emerged as a far more flexible model for learning. It allows students to work at their own speed (even in the classroom), in groups, or even from home. It even frees teachers up to provide extra support to specific students if required.
3. The demand for new skills
Society now needs the workforce to have the kind of skills that will help to see them (and the economy) through another situation like Covid-19. Modern organisations would benefit from people knowing how to work from home effectively, manage stress, balance wellbeing, and have a better understanding of health and safety measures. Also, softer skills like resilience, adaptability, creativity, communication, and teamwork will perhaps be more important than ever before. Learn about how we can design digital training for you on any topic.
4. For some, flexible learning is here to stay
There's no doubt that classroom learning works for younger children. Ask any parents who have had to home school their kids during lockdown, and I'm sure they'd agree, but what about mature learners? Students over the age of sixteen sometimes have to balance work, a family, or other commitment with their learning. Does the rigidity imposed by classroom delivery work for that group of learners? Flexible eLearning allows mature, self-motivated, and busy students to work their learning around day-to-day life, and this could be a real shot in the arm for mature learning.
5. More distance learning
If there's one thing lockdown has taught us, it's that most things can be done remotely. Obviously, there are some exceptions, but overall, learning can be now delivered online. Most educators and learning developers have been quick to find the right platforms, technology, and tools to ensure people are getting the training they require. So, who can see learning returning to the way it was pre-Covid-19? By the time the world returns to "normal", organisations will have adapted to online learning, invested in new solutions, and learned how much more cost effective it can be.
6. Wider and better choice of courses and content
Most training resources have moved - or are in the process of moving - online, and this means that people will have more choice than ever before when it comes to choosing their learning. You could find local businesses working more with national providers, while others may even look internationally for the training materials for the first time - all because the way learning has traditionally been delivered has changed because of Covid-19.