The year technology permeated all the world's education
Lluís Vicent, director at Postgraduate Course in Data Management
About three decades ago, online education came about. The proliferation of online programs, exclusively online universities, and even online "shopping" portals has spread very notably over the last thirty years.
However, a large majority of educational establishments at all levels have been outside the revolution that education technology entails, incorporating at most some learning management system used basically as a repository of content.
The pandemic has turned everything around. It has forced schools and universities to look for ways to use technology as a substitute for what was prohibited: presence.
Recently it has been published in the Changing Landscape of Online Education Report, one of the most important online education reports in the United States. This year it is particularly relevant because it contains the most important impacts that the pandemic has brought us, and I will summarise it below.
72% of educational center officials point out that they will transform many teaching programs online, as teachers have gained experience in remote teaching.
- Contrary to the general view that the university is a mastodontic institution that is difficult to move, we have seen that higher education is agile. 4,000 higher education centers passed from one day to another from pre-school to remote education.
- 63% of people claim that they have made extra investments to be able to offer remote emergency training during the pandemic, and that they will profit from it in the future.
- 72% of educational center officials point out that they will transform many teaching programs online, as teachers have gained experience in remote teaching.
- Video conferencing will continue. Synchronous remote learning sessions have been the fundamental tool of transformation. Eighty per cent of those responsible point out that they will include this learning channel in their curriculum.
- The pandemic will accelerate the growth of online and remote education. Eighty per cent of those responsible for educational establishments have said that they are launching campaigns to increase their programmes and remote pupils over the next five years.
- An extra 7% has been invested in free open content. There is an awareness of the inequalities between countries and educational establishments and many universities have offered more open programmes, for free use by everyone.
- Remote does not mean international. Most schools want to meet the demand for online education of geographically close people, and they see it difficult to compete against large multinational companies.
These conclusions probably do not surprise us. In Spain, the pandemic has affected in a similar way. The UPF Barcelona School of Management has made a major investment in adapting its classrooms to hybrid teaching, to save periods of confinement, but also as a future bet on giving new services to students.
The pandemic will accelerate the growth of online and remote education. Eighty per cent of those responsible for educational establishments have said that they are launching campaigns to increase their programmes and remote pupils over the next five years.
But the pandemic has also brought us some risks that need to be taken into account: many students and teachers confuse online education with videoconferencing education they have experienced during the pandemic. In a survey by Insidehighered students value very negatively the emergency educational experience experienced during the pandemic.
If this model is associated with online education, designed by professionals specifically trained for this educational model, and conducted by teachers trained to train online pupils, the bad reputation is served. Universities must be aware that teachers, whom we have to thank very much for their more than valuable efforts by transforming their presenceal classrooms into remote ones, must be trained to take the final step in online education.