When we look back at this time of the pandemic, one thing is for sure. We will see it as a time when online learning because more of the “norm” for everyone, from kindergarten through college students. Due to this, schools have had to ensure their online learning platforms are easy to use and intuitive for students to learn on, whether they have a lot of experience online or not. The majority of colleges and universities have had to move their in-person classes online, and this has had a significant impact on how knowledge is being delivered and learned.
What Will Fall Learning Look Like?
As we look toward Fall, many are wondering how schools are going to handle this pandemic and the needs it brings with it. Are students going to be able to return to campus for learning? If not, how will this affect whether the students will choose to stay at that school, rather than one that focuses on online learning, and may be more affordable? Many students choose schools for the campus experience, and when they don’t have that, will they decide to change schools entirely?
Strong Online Learning Programs Will See Gains
Colleges and universities with strong online learning programs may gain ground if this occurs. Online learning is projected to grow from the levels it was at pre-COVID. Pre-COVID saw over 1/3 of postsecondary students taking at least one online class and 30% of graduate students being taught exclusively online (Campus Technology, n.d.). This number is expected to increase, especially if college campuses are forced to cancel in-person classes.
Learning to Pivot
The longer we are encouraged to practice social distancing, the more traditional colleges and universities will put additional financial resources into their online course platforms. The other part of this is that some of the institutions will not be able to afford this investment into their online learning segment, which could lead to school closures and the merging of some smaller schools. Being able to think ahead and pivot will have a significant impact on a school’s future.
Change in Culture
One of the most significant challenges in online learning revolves around changing the mindset around schooling. From needing more discipline to be successful with online classes to faculty pushback over the change to new learning metrics and more, the learning culture will need to change somewhat for online learning to replace in-person classes.
At this point, no one knows what will happen, but one thing is for sure. Learning has changed. Whether it be for a just for the spring or moving into the Fall, COVID-19 will be one thing we will all remember. Hopefully, universities and colleges will learn how to meet their students’ needs and keep their doors open for many years to come. It will take some change in mindset and in distributing knowledge, but students will adapt as they always ha
Campus Technology. (n.d.). Retrieved from campustechnology.com: https://campustechnology.com/articles/2020/04/30/covid19s-ultimate-impact-on-online-learning-the-good-and-the-bad.aspx
By Janis Rodgers