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.
1. Learning to Learn Online
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.
3. Blending Space And Time Online
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.