When the pandemic hit, schools, colleges, and universities across the world took a hurried turn to online education. The landscape shifted quickly and students were attending classes from their homes. Educators were teaching and leading classes from homes as well.
The sudden shift in the learning culture brought many people to question the return of education to regular classes. When would schools and colleges begin to go completely offline? The bigger question remained. Would schools and colleges ever return to their original offline modes of education?
It is hard to tell at present. However, here are a few considerations when we try and understand just how long it may take the education sector to come back to the offline mode:-
For a long time now, the online and offline modes of learning have been blended in universities across the world. However, the main difference was that technologies and online resources were only used by educators and students to store documents.
Following the pandemic, this changed to bring major technological developments. The idea was now to incorporate technologies that will enhance the student experience and facilitate learning even when students cannot interact with physical university environments.
There was a large increase in the number of virtual labs and other virtual environments that can support learning. Even if classrooms return to the physical model, such economically viable virtual learning environments may still continue to be a part of learning in schools and universities.
The idea among educators, hence, strongly stands at a junction where the post-Covid world will adopt evolution. The advantages of online learning cannot be discarded but have to be incorporated into a new way of learning that blends the online with the offline.
Many experts believe that there really is no going back to the completely offline mode that the pre-Covid world offered. Some of the best online jobs are currently offered in the education sector. Further, the pandemic gave a boost to the Ed-tech sector which is likely to continue its signature style of online education.
At present, many schools and colleges are opening their doors to students in India. However, many parents are reluctant and students are wary of physical interaction themselves. In such a scenario, the real question is not whether offline education will ever fully return.
Instead, educators should ask themselves which parts of online education they would like to retain and nurture when physical classes finally become a routine again.
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