With the coronavirus pandemic, distance learning has become familiar to elementary school students, high school students and university students alike. The first step in distance learning has been the introduction of video conferencing software. These services that are good per se, suffer from problems – little by little, however, software has evolved. American Zoom has developed its service enormously and gained a lot of new users. Zoom’s stock price has risen despite the moderate pricing.
Software here, there, and everywhere
Distance learning from home has proven to be challenging for both parents and children. Each teacher or school can use their own system, meaning that, at worst, the children in the family can all use different systems. From the experience of my own family, I can say that preparing even three primary school children for distance learning was challenging at first. However, the learning curve has been elevated, and young students were finally able to go to their own video lessons.
There are numerous different learning platforms for online courses. The best known Udemy and Coursera are platforms where anyone can set up a course and put it up for sale. The competition is huge: new educational software is being developed, and students and course developers are constantly experimenting and looking for the most suitable platform for themselves.
New solutions are still welcome
Education is divided into compulsory and voluntary. At a general level, compulsory study, ie compulsory education, is more challenging for teachers and learning technologies. The challenge is to maintain and increase student motivation. Technology does not yet provide comprehensive solutions. One technological feature is the playfulness of learning: it works with quality when the student internalizes key things well, depending on the subject. The risk is the fragmentation of learning so that the subject to be studied is not internalized as a whole.
In distance learning it should also be taken into account that students need a sufficiently good network connection for studying. The quality of the network connection can create inequality between students. Fortunately, students can often take advantage of Wi-Fi connections in the library or school, for example. Inadequate network connections reduce the quality of the learning experience. How should network connections be implemented nationwide to ensure that the connection is of sufficient quality for everyone? It is suspected that there are differences in network connections between different places of residence, for example in rural areas. Even in urban areas, the quality of connections varies.
The responsiveness of online courses, ie working on mobile devices, will be a mandatory feature for software in the future. Implementing it with quality is challenging. Not all programs are suitable for mobile phone study. More and more young people today are using mobile phones as a learning aid, and software that produces a quality learning experience on mobile phones is at an advantage.
The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the direction in which studies are evolving. Based on technological solutions, it is easy to predict an increase in independent doing. Universities are increasingly offering their online courses to upper secondary schools as well, and universities have been able to complete certain courses as distance learning for years. Even in high school, I am likely to see distance learning courses.
Check out our previous blog to find out how we at Eximia solve learning challenges in the future and now during the coronavirus – and not only in Finland, but also on an international scale.