The coronavirus pandemic that gripped humanity in early 2020 has led to unprecedented educational measures everywhere.
Educational institutions, from schools to universities, have been partially or completely closed in more than 180 countries. In most states, all schools were completely quarantined, while some were closed in the United States, Canada, Europe, Russia, Vietnam, and Australia. According to UNESCO, these measures affected 91% of the world’s students.
Even though the forced introduction of online education has already revealed not only the advantages but also the disadvantages of the modern academic system, experts and educators themselves are increasingly saying that the future of global education lies in online learning.
We can say that the coronavirus has given a sudden, but so long-awaited, boost to the development of innovation in education. Despite modern technology, the global academic industry, as a whole, has been stagnant for many years. Moreover, the implementation of educational innovations took place only in the most advanced schools and universities and only in the most developed countries. This has steadily increased the gap in the quality and accessibility of education for representatives of different nationalities and social strata.
Problems of online education
In saying that the future is in online education, we should not forget several problems associated with this approach. The experience of moving schools and universities around the world to distance learning has made it clear that the quality and appropriateness of such education depends largely on the level and quality of digital access.
If you think that there is nothing unusual about a smartphone, computer, and Internet access, and therefore online education is available to everyone, we suggest you read the statistics. Today, only about 60% of the world’s population has access to the Internet.
While students in Hong Kong, for example, can take full virtual classes on a computer, tablet, or smartphone, the only way for students in many countries to receive learning materials and assignments has been through primitive messengers, like WhatsApp, and e-mail. And at least that’s something because many students in Africa and the Middle East do not have access to normal textbooks, and now they have no way to study at all.
Teachers who follow classical teaching methods and have never worked with gadgets have also faced difficulties. Not surprisingly, this has affected the quality of their work, their psychological state, their willingness to teach in the new environment. As a consequence, students also do not perceive the material well, and often turn for essay help to get good grades.
How will we learn in the future?
In developed countries, where people have already studied remotely, online education will become even more entrenched, more developed, and more popular. An important factor will be the fact that for many schoolchildren and adult students the format of online learning will be much more convenient, and they simply do not want to give it up after the end of the quarantine.
The change will also affect less developed countries, it is expected that the governments of the Third World will take feasible measures to improve the technical equipment of educational institutions and expand access to online education for students from various segments of the population. However, do not think that progress will be fast and truly effective, because these countries have a long way to go to the level of educational development, which is observed in other regions of the world.
Also, we should not assume that in the near future all or almost all education in the world will move to the virtual plane. Firstly, this would require huge investments and technical developments. Secondly, not all students would want to study in this format even if the necessary conditions were in place. Rather, it is a question of each person choosing between classical and distance education.