The Future Of eLearning Submit-Pandemic
The future of eLearning after the pandemic
The pandemic brought about the greatest disruption to the global education system in human history. Schools everywhere were suddenly forced to close, and teens, teachers and parents were pushed into a form of learning few had experienced before. According to the World Economic Forum, because of the pandemic at its peak, 94% (1.6 billion) of school-age children in the world were absent from the classroom and studying remotely from home. And 63 million teachers came into unplanned contact with their students on digital platforms, often with little training or time to prepare.
All of this, of course, led to widespread fears that eLearning would result in a bad experience for teenagers.
And such fears were justified. In its report on polls in ministries of education on responses to COVID-19, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) estimates that children in 108 countries lost an average of 47 school days (a quarter of the school year). And the World Bank  predicts that without effective compensatory measures, there could be a loss of $ 10 trillion in income over time for this generation of our young people.
The response to school closings
Of course, when schools closed, governments responded by providing access to distance learning opportunities, usually on digital platforms, and sought to improve access to the connectivity and devices necessary to effectively access those platforms.
How effectively the switch was made depended on many things, not least on the prosperity of the countries involved. This was confirmed in the UIS surveys, which showed that while no high-income country rated online learning as ineffective, 22% of low-income countries did.
A survey conducted in the US in March 2021 on “Parents’ Opinions on eLearning During the Pandemic”  found that while only 16% of parents had previous remote experience of their children’s online learning, 61% were satisfied or very satisfied with it, and 55% would now see it positively and would like to continue in some form. At the time of this survey, of course, significant resources had been devoted to making distance learning far more effective than it was in the early stages of the crisis. And the teachers themselves had gotten better at harnessing the power of digital tools.
What could the future hold for the provision of educational facilities?
Needless to say, these efforts have led to a major rethink in education provision and UNESCO surveys show that distance learning via digital platforms will continue to play an important role in education. Over 90% of the 200 participating countries report that hybrid models combining distance and face-to-face learning continued when schools reopened. In addition, these hybrid models are to remain in place in the future in order to build resilience and enable the education systems to adapt to future shocks.
This raises many questions about the future of all aspects of teaching and learning and the need for everyone involved to constantly monitor and measure how effectively educational systems are integrating new digital technologies.
There are fantastic new ways to work together in education. Teachers have had to work together on a new level – locally, nationally and globally – to improve their online teaching methods, open new avenues for creative solutions, and develop a willingness to learn from one another and experiment with new approaches.
Simultaneous silent written exams have been discontinued and replaced by more creative assessments, which in the future could even be tailored to each individual through the inclusion of AI.
Address the drawbacks and close the digital divide
However, the transition will be much more successful if the shortcomings of eLearning are recognized and addressed. The March 2021 survey found that a lack of social interaction is the biggest disadvantage parents face for online distance learning, with 79% viewing this as a significant disadvantage of the format . Education is a social experience. Hybrid models need to enable students to interact with each other, actively participate in their own learning, and more easily receive and provide feedback, possibly based on cohort learning models used by higher education companies such as Esme Learning.
The EdTech sector has seen tremendous growth in both startups and investments during the pandemic – with over $ 10 billion in venture capital investments around the world. During the pandemic, many of these organizations offered their services for free to assist and encourage remote teaching and learning. To coordinate their efforts, it would be great to see the educational equivalent of COVAX (a facility established by the World Health Organization to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines) with the aim of closing the digital divide and joining schools and universities to help adapt and develop, and to ensure that all of our young people benefit from it.
The lessons of this crisis must not be wasted and the apparent willingness of parents to embrace a new approach to education must be used before it dissolves.
In the words of Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education of the World Bank:
This shock can have lingering negative effects, but it needs to be an opportunity to accelerate and not go back to where we were before. We will reach a new normal with a different understanding of the role of parents, teachers and technology. A new normal that should be more effective, more resilient, fairer and more inclusive. We owe that to our children.
 COVID-19 could result in permanent learning losses and trillions of dollars in lost earnings
 We surveyed 500 parents to find out their thoughts on their children’s e-learning during the pandemic.