Education has undergone sweeping changes over the last year. Pandemic learning has forced schools, colleges and universities online, meaning that remote learning has become the norm. Although there are encouraging signs on the horizon in the form of vaccinations and restrictions easing, there’s still a long way to go.
Even when the pandemic has come to an end, the changes that took place within the education sector (and in such a short period of time) will likely have far-reaching consequences.
Remote learning is king
When the pandemic struck, the majority of learning shifted into the digital world. That meant a boom for remote learning platforms like thinqi.com alongside video call software like Zoom. Although remote learning will never fully replace the classroom environment, institutions are already making plans to maintain it in some circumstances.
Remote learning is much more accessible to students who might otherwise struggle to get to school or college. It’s also a useful way of providing supplementary support outside of usual timetabled hours. This is certainly one change that’s likely to stick around.
Mental health will be prioritised
For many, the pandemic exposed the lack of adequate mental health services in universities, schools and colleges. While Covid-19 didn’t necessarily create these shortfalls, it showed a system that was underfunded and creaking at the seams. All that will change post-pandemic. There’s even a suggestion that some colleges will adopt so-called “mental health days” whereby students are given time to focus on their psychological wellbeing.
Mental health will be valued just as highly as grades, and there’s no doubt that students will receive far more support in the future. Better services, trained counsellors and routine assessments are just some of the changes we’re already seeing
Emphasis on value
If mental health services are suggestive of a more student-focused future, there will also be a pragmatic slant on education post-pandemic. The huge amounts of cash pumped into education to support it through the pandemic has put the idea of value for money into sharp focus. Lawmakers and voters alike will want to know what their money is paying for and whether investment in higher education benefits society.
That might mean reassessing the value of certain courses and even tweaking levels of funding in the future. It will almost certainly alter the structure of the curriculum and encourage institutions to focus on programs that promise clear civic benefits.
Timetables are becoming flexible
Homeschooling and remote learning were never ideal, but they did reveal how flexible timetables can be. Remote learning allowed students to determine their own schedules, and parents often crammed lessons into necessarily shorter periods of time than at school. This raises a number of interesting questions, not least whether academic timetables need to be as rigid as they are.
We’re already seeing the effects of this. Gone are the fixed timetables of old, in favor of more flexible schedules to suit individual students and circumstances. If anything, the pandemic has taught education to be malleable, to adapt to the individual, and that’s a trend that will certainly continue.