How corona outbreak could transform future of online education forever

Within the blink of an eye, corona virus (COVID-19) has altered traditional education, its consumption and practice. Concept of remote learning is not new. It’s been around since the time internet was born. Over the last two decades, educators and policy makers from formal and informal sectors have slowly woken up to the need of eLearning. Everyone tom-tommed how edtech met disruptions or otherwise. But what this new pandemic has caused – an unprecedented disruption, one of its worst in the history of mankind –crushed and deformed all the customs of traditional education and its practices.

Now we don’t have a choice but to distance socially. We can’t help but see in despair, across the world, how tens of thousands of colleges and universities are cancelling in-person classes, shutting down campuses, emptying dorms and hostels. As a result, not only 300 million children are going to miss their classes but also millions and millions of adults and the corporate learners too. Business houses who have set up large training schools to train fresh graduates, mid-level and leadership executives in thousands are vacating campuses, transporting candidates back to their homes. Businesses have to figure out quickly ways to stay productive. They can’t stop capability building programs. Virtual learning is way to go. Here we are assuming how coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is likely to change and transform future of online education:

Mandatory, massive adoption towards digital learning: Effects of the epidemic has emerged on workplace learning as one of the earliest and hardest-hit business activities. With the start of business disruptions and work-from-home, L&D leaders across industries have started exploring remote training opportunities. By throwing traditional inertias of remote education over the fence, L&D leaderships are enabling tactics and strategies to build capability, quickly.  

Re-evaluating remote learning policy: So far, for most organisations, remote learning is just one extension of their education policy where rules and mandates have been half backed. To bring governance and clarity while dealing with work-from-home challenges like isolation and mental sadness, more evolved, etched out, all inclusive, documented policies will be born. By keeping predictive learning outcomes in mind, policies should define transparent decision points. 

Developing, trust based culture: Less control, less tracking and more trust will give birth to a trust based, collaborative culture. Regardless of industry, size or management style, a high trust and high outcome, high accountable culture will be able to secure better performance from the more accountable work-from-home workforce. A culture like this brings the best out of employees.    

Behavioural shift towards learning from home, self discipline: As employees re-calibrate their minds towards remote working and remote learning, they will become more accountable and take stock of their new responsibilities. 

Financial, logistical and other benefits: Remote, digital education is cheaper, scalable and fast to execute. It saves organisations from incurring expenses around infrastructure, logistics, conveyance including visa, travel and hotel arrangements. A large number of students can be enrolled for a live interactive training within a short notice if the need be. Advantageous for students and teachers as they save energy, resource, time. Great for ecological balance as it cuts company’s carbon footprint.


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