To say that the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the way we live is an understatement. Parents and children alike have their share of woes as we began threading early last year these unprecedented times.
In the education sector, the spread of the virus caused worldwide hasty mandatory shutdowns of educational institutions. To keep education going, schools resorted to digital solutions such as video conferencing tools and online management software.
The sudden shift to e-learning last year only emphasized the global challenges in adopting digital learning and tech-enabled education. Inadequate access to the internet, insufficient funds for infrastructures, and resistance to change are some of the barriers highlighted.
Although some schools and educational institutions have reopened, the majority still opted for either a hybrid or full-remote learning mode for the 2020-2021 school year. And even with the promising vaccination results, the possibility of another shutdown should not be dismissed.
Considering all of these, the education industry continues to explore ways to utilize technology to bring a better learning experience. Let’s check how technologies and other related industries shape the global education landscape in the post-COVID world.
#1 Greater Access to Online Learning
Remote learning has been around for many years already. However, following the outbreak of the pandemic forcing schools all over the world to temporarily close, the online learning industry was given a sharper focus.
Students, teachers, and parents scrambled to comprehend remote learning operations. Luckily,ed-tech companies readily intercede either in collaboration with schools and colleges or as independent replacements.
Even with learning institutions that have chosen to return to face-to-face instructions, quite a lot prefer a hybrid approach.
Apart from the formal learners, the last few years have seen a spike among adult and post-education learners opting for online learning. And, the outbreak of the pandemic facilitated the spike in this trend.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs) and recognition of prior learning courses (RPLs) are seeing renewed interest among adult learners. These courses provide a convenient avenue for individuals wanting to strengthen their skills or acquire new ones to pivot their careers.
#2 Virtual & Augmented Reality Engagement
Though often interchanged, the terms VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) are quite different. While virtual reality immerses the user in a 3D environment which he/she can explore, augmented reality adds digital elements like sounds, visuals, or texts to a user’s surroundings.
Nonetheless, both technologies are proven to be useful in the field of education.
VR is useful to enhance learning and engagement through direct interaction with the material. Highly technical fields such as medicine and the military could benefit greatly from this. A military professor could create his own expedition through Google Expeditions for his students to experience.
Another benefit of VR technology is the help it provides for students with learning difficulties, particularly students with autism. In one study, it was discovered that autistic students’ skills in a virtual environment could effectively be applied in the real world.
Correlatively, AR technology has a comparable application across education. HoloAnatomy, an AR application, is used in one university to teach about human anatomy through 3D holograms. Another AR technology, Aug That!, interactively teaches K-12 students concepts to increase engagement and retention.
#3 Biometric & Facial Recognition
Apart from being useful in detecting COVID-19 cases, biometric and facial recognition technology helps set security and safety measures on the campus. Scanning body parts like thumbprints are useful in tracing attendance and notifying parents if their child did not arrive on time.
Facial recognition technology helps facilitate online testing with students’ webcams acting as the exam proctor. Various software platforms could be used to verify the exam taker’s identity to ensure that it is the student who is actually taking the exam.
Furthermore, facial recognition technology is extremely helpful in preventing mass shootings and stopping sexual predators.
Facial recognition software is used to capture the faces of individuals who enter and exit the school through different cameras inside the campus. These faces are then compared to the listed “persons of interest” of the school, such as sex offenders in the area, people with restraining orders, and employees prohibited from visiting.
#4 Gamification for Interactive Learning
Various studies have pointed out that online learning is not as effective as in-person classes. Students are more prone to distractions with minimal, if no supervision, given to them to help retain focus.
But with the help of gamification, game design elements are incorporated in distance learning to increase students’ motivation and engagement. These game design elements include problem-solving, storytelling, badges, and levels.
Students are more likely to retain information when they are engaged and having fun during the lesson.
Education Landscape in the Post-COVID World
The education sector is clearly behind when it comes to technological innovation. Nonetheless, hopefully in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will see more acceptance of digital technology in the education industry.