Unquestionably, 2020 has taught us that nothing we thought of as certain is guaranteed. The unexpected effects of COVID-19 took many people by surprise, although experts had warned that, uncontrolled, it would spread. The pandemic changed the face of higher education.
While many students previously thought of distant education opportunities as an inferior option, there has been a paradigm shift in that thinking. It is becoming a popular alternative with a growing number of converts. Here are some predictions about online education in 2021.
Less traditional study options will gain popularity
Remote and online learning are newcomers to higher education when compared with brick-and-mortar universities and colleges. However, their rapid growth in previous years indicates a need for such educational opportunities.
It shows that education is evolving, and technology is largely responsible for driving these changes. Growth was already significant in the years preceding the pandemic and is expected to accelerate in its wake.
Will skeptics keep asking is remote learning effective, and can it replace the traditional classroom approach? No one is arguing that what has worked for hundreds of years continues to be necessary, especially in fields of study where practical work is essential, such as medicine and science.
However, entire study fields do not require students to be onsite when they cover the course content remotely, provided tools for students, such as guidelines and textbooks, remain available. With resources like writing task check sheets, more students can manage their studies without physically attending classes.
Both the teachers and students gain better experience by using digital resources and study apps. It enhances the learning experience and ensures fast communication and effective delivery of education modules. Students can better the quality of assignments and use plagiarism scanner to make the papers better and teachers can use video platforms to deliver lectures and provide feedback. Students can save them and rewatch them anytime they need to make the whole experience a better one.
Distance learning puts higher education within the grasp of thousands of students who might otherwise never obtained any formal tertiary qualifications. The first significant reason for this is financial.
Distance learning costs less than attending college or university onsite. Providers do not need to maintain buildings and campuses, which cuts their costs. Additionally, the show can go on with few disruptions when a student chooses distance learning, with no class time or money wasted.
These savings are passed on to students who can better afford to study than they might if they had no distance learning options. Given the economic slowdown and financial pinch it has caused for thousands of families, online learning might become the only way they can put their kids through college.
Students have better time flexibility when utilizing remote learning opportunities, enabling them to have full-time employment and earn an income while they complete their higher education.
With artificial intelligence in education, pedagogy becomes more qualitative. Even a small app or tool that includes study organization apps plagiarism checker tool by Edubirdie to check written assignments, the work for teachers and students becomes easier and fast-paced. It simply means more can be achieved in lesser time.
Students with different needs are acknowledged
Each year, thousands of students drop out of college for various reasons. For some, the challenge lies in college teaching methods. They do not respond well to lectures in a classroom and find it difficult to adapt to higher education. Many find attending classes difficult because of disabilities or learning challenges, such as ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome.
Such students are perfectly capable of understanding course material, but they do not function well in a classroom or lecture hall environment. They find distance learning preferable because it better suits their needs.
Another factor that favors them is that some remote learning institutions do not place rigid timeframes on course completion, giving students the chance to work at their own pace. Now that the concept is more acceptable, far more students will opt for it and complete their qualifications.
The average age of higher education students will change
We associate college with high school graduates. However, distance learning makes it possible for anyone to study, regardless of age. Many people are using remote learning to upskill and seek promotions.
They are attracted by time flexibility and the idea that some courses are short and highly specialized, meaning that they gain specific knowledge and skills. For example, who wants to learn social media marketing does not need to complete an entire marketing degree.
During the pandemic, thousands of people who lost their jobs have turned to distance learning to gain new qualifications, enabling them to seek alternate employment in new fields.
Since many institutions are offering MOOCs (Mass open online courses), there is a growing demand from international students who want to obtain qualifications. Therefore, the world economy can expect to see a ripple effect from distance learning.
There remains a perceived disparity between traditional and distance learning, with the former viewed as being of better quality. But the fact that brick-and-mortar colleges are now offering distance learning options shows that the potential for remote education seems limitless. They have partnered with recognized online learning companies to make courses more accessible and offer students alternatives to attending classes where spaces are limited and financial constraints remain a challenge.
Paul Calderon is an expert IT programmer currently working with a SaaS startup and he is mainly involved in developing education apps. He’s also known for his high-quality thesis and dissertation writing that he does while working part-time for an academic writing service. His free time is for his hobbies that include bike riding, watching wildlife documentaries and reading sports magazines.