One of the most unexpected changes to come out of the COVID-19 crisis is the growth of online learning platforms. Though these platforms certainly existed before the pandemic and they were growing in popularity, few could have expected how vital they would become once countries around the world began to consider it too much of a risk for students to meet in person. Though the pandemic is far from under control, it is important to stop and think about what the role of these platforms will be once more traditional educational options become safe enough to pursue.
Filling a Niche
It’s more than clear that online learning platforms are already filling a niche that many might not have realized existed. Though programs like Learning Cloud Australia we’re helping students to engage long before the Covid-19 crisis hit, the value of these programs has been impossible to ignore since its early stages. There are certainly some students who just learn better online and it’s difficult to imagine forcing them to go back into standard classrooms once the crisis has passed.
Changing the Way We Look at Classrooms
In fact, it may be safe to say that we are now at a point where the traditional classroom has to be questioned. It’s long been assumed by many that the traditional in-person learning environment is the only way that students can learn, but years of data gathered from online teaching have put lie to that assumption. With students now being forced to go virtual, it’s even easier to see that there are many who would struggle in a traditional classroom that are now honestly being better served by being able to take their classes in an online space.
One of the biggest roadblocks to establishing online learning platforms as the new norm is technology access. Schools around the world have done an excellent job of trying to meet their students’ needs, but there are still places where the infrastructure to support online learning is lacking. For online learning to really supplant in-person teaching as normal, a greater degree of broadband access has to be available. Given the importance of telecommunications over the last year, though, it’s easy to see a world where broadband growth becomes more of a priority.
Establishing New Norms
It seems clear that the growth of these online platforms is essentially establishing a new normal in the midst of chaos. Students are growing used to taking classes online, while parents and administrators alike are seeing valid reasons to move beyond the traditional classroom. It seems unlikely that everyone will move to using these platforms or that the traditional model is going to be abolished, but it does seem possible that more students will be given the choice to move online as this becomes more normalized. Online learning is rapidly reaching the point where it will be a societally acceptable as traditional learning, with only the availability of resources limiting its adoption.