Lessons From Online Learning That Should Stick After The Pandemic

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One of the numerous changes brought about by COVID-19 was an almost instantaneous shift to online learning. In this article, I have shared the “Lessons From Online Learning That Should Stick After The Pandemic”.

Institutions hurried overnight to keep education moving while bridging the physical divide between teacher and student.

Traditional educators made heroic efforts to adapt to the digital age by recording lessons, posting videos, and setting up breakout rooms with whatever equipment they had at their disposal.

These initiatives resulted in internet-enabled technologically mediated physical classrooms, not online education.

These two options may appear to be the same, but they are distinct. Using technology to bridge physical distance does not address the additional modifications needed to meet student needs.

It is not possible to build a guided, collaborative, and supported learning environment by simply posting materials online and recording lectures and discussions.

So, what have we learned about online education in general? So, what are we going to do now?

Online learning isn’t a new concept, and there are lessons to be learned from previous research and experience.

Over 28 years ago, Athabasca University, where we are all academics, pioneered the world’s first online MBA, M.Nursing, and M.Ed programs. It is now one of Canada’s most prestigious online institutions.

Learning to learn online, structuring online education with purpose, integrating space and time online, and continuous disruption with AI are four unique characteristics of online learning that should stick post-pandemic, according to online pioneers’ experience.

Lessons From Online Learning

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1. Learning to Learn Online

The pandemic demonstrated how one-size-fits-all educational practices fail to meet the needs of students. Younger students may seek out physical settings to foster socializing, as long as they are supervised and receive material from a teacher.

Others, such as Athabasca’s largely older students, like the flexibility of being able to communicate with classmates and professors online at their leisure.

Online learning is plagued by common injustices such as poor internet connection, a lack of financial resources, and a lack of digital competency.

Online education, on the other hand, provides access to students who are unable to attend traditional classrooms due to geographic barriers, and further issues of inequality are addressed through multi-modal distance education, financial support structures, and orientation to learning to learn online.

Students and program differences were ignored in emergency online education, which used blunt-edged devices. The pandemic reaction underscored the significance of all students, whether online or in a physical classroom, being prepared to learn.

2. Designing Online Teaching With Purpose

Whether for traditional or distant education, good teaching and learning design must include active, engaging roles for individual students.

Teaching that is meaningful varies by environment and necessitates a variety of ways. Learner-centered rather than content-driven online course and teaching design supports active learning by incorporating high involvement in collaborative learning groups.

Producing excellent online course materials takes months rather than weeks and involves collaboration between instructors and professional course developers.

The course materials are meticulously comprehensive, with everything the instructor would say in a live classroom written down, all course prerequisites clearly described, and links to readings, videos, and internet resources for students.

Instructors were forced to transform classroom delivery into technology-mediated delivery as a result of the epidemic; while this worked for some, it was difficult to adjust to specific learning needs.

In conjunction with online educational techniques that improve active, collaborative learning and learner-generated choices, technological tools, together with independent and joint working opportunities, should be brought back to the physical or hybrid classroom.

online-education

3. Blending Space And Time Online

The terms “synchronous” and “asynchronous” learning were popularised by pandemic education.

Asynchronous meant working alone, usually with materials created for a physical classroom, but synchronous meant replicating actual classrooms through real-time, digitally mediated education. We must consider how timing and presence affect learning in the future.

At Athabasca, mixed, collaborative, synchronous, and asynchronous online learning brings students together in time and space. Instructors work with students one-on-one at their own speed.

This is in contrast to traditional undergraduate courses, where students are expected to absorb information on a set schedule.

Our graduate programs feature paced programming, which requires students to work independently while engaging in an active online conversation on a regular basis.

Students can receive instructor assistance when they need it with more flexible teaching. Instead of real-time reactions, synchronous, collaborative learning allows for reflection.

4. COVID-19 Began The Disruption, AI Will Continue it

After instructors were forced to look for novel ways to improve student learning results outside of the physical classroom as a result of the pandemic, the pandemic demonstrated how education practices might alter.

We were able to start a co-op program in the thick of a pandemic at Athabasca because of a virtual co-operative program.

Regardless of location, students had access to a timed simulated job experience. While working on an assigned project, they were able to practice teamwork, problem-solving, conflict resolution, ethical reasoning, and leadership.

An AI coach provided students with quick, thorough feedback, allowing for considerable experimentation and revision to understand concepts polished in reflective dialogue with the instructor.

According to research, implementing online and AI tools requires planning, as well as a supportive digital infrastructure and quick student support.

These stages, when carefully planned and implemented collectively, improve on traditional methods by making education truly open, accessible, and inclusive.

Lessons From Online Learning That Should Stick After The Pandemic

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