Despite the coronavirus crisis, everyday life has continued. We somehow get along and, above all, we have been able to study. We’re going to face revolutions too – we just don’t know yet what kind. Many industries have been in misery, but not all are struggling.

Namely, companies that develop video conferencing software have been doing well. They compete over whose service becomes the most popular and which service rises to the commercial standard. Increasing telecommunications are also putting pressure on data networks, and new capacity needs to be put in place. Google and Microsoft have lowered the prices of their distance learning and conferencing services and are catching more users. Education and training are changing. The question is how much.

The challenge is the lack of support

Distance learning has become familiar to all of us, especially schoolchildren. Adapting to the new part has caused gray hair for some students. It is clear that the youngest students would, of course, need more practical guidance, adult presence and support. Older students in the upper secondary school also face the challenges of distance learning, and not everyone gets their studies started when no one is watching and demanding, as in classroom teaching.

The coronavirus causes frustration and increases the challenges for underperforming students. For few students results have improved with a couple of hours of daily distance learning and subsequent independent work. Distance learning affects those who have had challenges in studying and concentrating in the past. In many cases, therefore, the problem spiral is deepening. Social students who are used to interacting also suffer. These problems should be solved through better inclusion or other means. Good, self-directed and adaptable students, on the other hand, suffer less and even benefit, as they can study at the pace of their own and optimize their use of time better.

Help from the future technologies?

Despite the challenges, everyone understands that distance and self-directed learning will increase in school. The results can be appalling if schools do not find the right ways and means and, in particular, appropriate technologies to improve learning. Succeeding in distance learning also requires new technological solutions. The share of group work and individual project work may increase, but nevertheless the traditional teacher-led study remains. The drive for ongoing student review has increasingly been on the agenda, although it can be difficult to implement. This requirement, too, will increase the uptake of appropriate technologies for monitoring lifelong learning. The role of technology is therefore increasing all the time.

Distance learning has also come across an interpretation of the law. In the spring, upper secondary school teachers pondered organising the exams remotely with the students’ computer camera on. It was found that students could not be forced to keep the camera on. At the same time, many teachers reported that during lessons and lectures, some students kept the camera off, leaving only a black box in place of the picture. The professors’ opinions about the lack of video were divided according to the situation: if the focus was on the research, there was no harm. However, in the lectures and in the training of inexperienced research groups and researchers, the disadvantage was obvious.

When another legal expert put forward the view that demanding the video could be seen as trespassing, the hassle was ready! At the same time, universities struggled organising the entrance exams. At least the communication should have been petrified in many ways. When practices change on a fast schedule, the law is quickly out of date. In such a situation, we should have the possibility of legislation in the public interest, which could, in an emergency, be introduced quickly to ensure the functioning of society.

Now and in the future, after the coronavirus crisis, increasingly “wiser” solutions will be introduced in independent distance learning. Artificial intelligence solutions come and enable even in-depth learning and provide students with information about their own skills. In addition, they provide teachers with facilitation in their work, while providing a new way to monitor the development of students’ skills and maturity more comprehensively.

Check out our previous blog and see what kind of solution Eximia has developed to meet the learning challenges of the present and the future!