There’s no denying how far virtual education has come in the past few years alone. We’ve seen widespread adoption of virtual learning technologies across the globe.
The technology education relies on has greatly evolved. And there are many more new virtual platforms, tools, and remote teaching strategies being developed. For example, within the video conferencing space, Microsoft Teams has reached 145 million daily active users (DAU), while its competitor Zoom continues to grow at an exponential rate.
Educators always want to stay up-to-date to provide the best learning experience to their students. So, it’s important to understand the shift that’s currently taking place from completely in-person to virtual learning. Because we need to know how this will impact the way students learn.
Students may return to a traditional, in-person classroom setting after the pandemic comes to a close.
Still, we’ve already developed virtual infrastructures that allow you to teach courses entirely online. We’ve also seen that virtual education can work. On average, students remember 25-60% more of what they learn online than in-person.
So, why remove the technology and pedagogical shifts that we’ve already put in place and proven effective? Students can’t learn remotely forever. But what if in the future, they could have a blend of traditional and virtual learning?
With hybrid learning, some students can physically attend class, while others log on virtually from home. And educators can teach all of them at once using tools such as video conferencing.
Now is the time to consider how education will evolve after the pandemic. Read on to learn what the future of education will look like and how you can adapt to these changes.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Traditional and Virtual Education
Traditional and virtual education both have their merits. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be so common and widespread.
And they’ll both play a role in the future of education.
But which of their strengths should we leverage and what are their weaknesses to mitigate? Read on to learn what each type of approach has to offer and what is missing.
What Do They Have to Offer?
Traditional learning allows educators and students to meet each other face-to-face.
This facilitates social interaction and enables them to know each other better. It also lets teachers pick up on physical cues that might otherwise go unnoticed in a virtual setting.
On the other hand, virtual learning provides the benefits of self-pacing, which research shows is beneficial.
Because students can access the materials whenever it’s best for them, they can learn more effectively at their own pace. And they have more freedom to take breaks when they need it.
What’s Missing from Them?
Traditional learning has inflexible hours. So, unless you’re able to attend classes during set times, you’ll miss out on learning – whether it’s due to being sick or a personal issue.
And with virtual learning, you may miss face-to-face interactions and feel isolated. You’ll also miss out on the benefits involved in being part of an in-person community.
Hybrid Education: The Best of Both Worlds
Knowing that both traditional and virtual education have their own strengths and weaknesses, which do you choose?
You no longer need to pick one of the two. In the future, you can have the best of both worlds in a hybrid learning environment.
Hybrid education combines the best aspects of both face-to-face and online education. It includes asynchronous learning elements, including pre-recorded lessons, online exercises, and in-person classroom sessions.
With hybrid learning, you can have all the benefits of virtual education. And you can keep the learning going even in the event of a large disruption.
Plus, you can provide students with the face-to-face interaction they so greatly need. Several studies show that too much screen time can lead to psychosocial problems.
So, hybrid learning is the way to provide them with the best education and tend to their social and mental wellbeing.
Why Virtual Learning Platforms Are Here to Stay
Students may soon go back to their regular classrooms so they can enjoy being a part of and interacting face-to-face with their community. But that doesn’t mean the platforms and tools we’ve put in place have to become useless.
Even though the pandemic forced school districts to switch to online classes, it also prompted them to rethink what the future of education could look like. For example, if we can effectively teach students remotely, could we make education more easily accessible?
According to Results from the First American School District Panel Survey, 10% of teachers will continue to follow a blended or hybrid learning model even after the end of the pandemic, and 20% said they would even consider offering fully remote learning opportunities.
Despite the challenges we’re facing in the early stages of virtual education, it shows a lot of promise. And the rollout of new technology is never perfect but something that’s improved and further developed over time.
Besides, it’s better to keep up-to-date with evolving technology than to realize you need it one day but not have the right infrastructures in place.
For example, 2 out of 5 households lack adequate internet access – with internet speeds that do not meet CRTC targets. But if we provide support to these households, such as a government subsidy, we could be more prepared if or when we need to switch back to online school.
What the Future of Hybrid Education Will Look Like
The future of hybrid education is one that’s full of possibilities.
Combining traditional and virtual education could allow more students to have access to education and to higher quality education. Here’s how hybrid education could modernize your school and improve the way your students learn:
- It helps ensure no student falls behind by reducing absences: 5% of students are normally absent every day, and that percentage was doubled when the pandemic started. But with hybrid learning, students can attend class remotely or watch pre-recorded lessons when they’re feeling sick or are otherwise unable to physically attend. This also helps prevent students from getting left behind because of a problem they face outside of school.
- It gives students the flexibility to decide whether remote or in-person learning is best for them: There are times when they know what’s best for themselves. And the hybrid model gives them the opportunity to choose to learn either online or in-class on a subject-by-subject basis. For example, if they find that they can focus more at home, they can opt to take a course online. Or they can attend a class in person to clear their doubts about a certain topic.
- Exams can be taken remotely, making them more easily accessible: The average commute students take is over 14 kilometers and 45 minutes long. Some students have to commute long distances and have trouble reaching a test center. Providing the option for these students to take exams remotely can help ensure they’re able to smoothly complete these important tests. It would also help reduce their stress levels during this crucial time.
- A virtual platform gives schools a technological infrastructure they can further develop: If you have the right infrastructures in place, you can keep adapting to new technological advancements. That way, you’d be using the most up-to-date technology to provide your students with a better education.
Help Bring Your School into the Future with Edsembli
It’s clear education is facing a milestone event. Forward-thinking school districts are rapidly modernizing their infrastructure, software, and processes to support the future of education. An investment in digital education shouldn’t be seen as replacing traditional learning, but rather as an important tool that enables innovation heading into the future.
Hybrid education should be seen as a transformative approach that offers the best of both worlds. And with Edsembli’s digital education-first platform, that’s exactly what you get.
Our software meets the modern needs of today’s school districts and it is our mission to meet the constantly evolving needs of education. We do this with innovative technology and unparalleled customer service.
Want to be prepared for whatever disruptions or changes the world of education may face in the future? Book a live demo of our dynamic cloud-based platform today.