How COVID-19 has changed the future of online training

How COVID-19 has changed the future of online training

Since the beginning of the pandemic, our daily learning, training, meetings, and work has gone from strength to strength. Engaging videos and podcasts are now part of training resources. Discussion boards that allow students to communicate and share ideas seem to be a new standard of schooling. Long after the lockdowns are over, technology continues to evolve and change the future of education in many ways.

A Shift in Common Learning Environments

With the rise of COVID came the e-learning boom, making education and training even more accessible. With face-to-face training, students and instructors are often tied to a specific time or place. Online training on the other hand, allows students to access classes anytime, anywhere, through different types of mediums.

The shift in standard learning environments has also ushered in a new way of managing schedule, holding to deadlines, and maintaining attention during each training session. It can be challenging at times– and was particularly so at the beginning of the pandemic.

Some students (and trainers) found themselves in less-than-ideal environments for concentration. However, now that we’ve had time to adjust, some are finding themselves most relaxed at home, in comfortable outfits, learning and teaching in our own space.

The Redefinition of Engagement

Back when in-classroom learning was commonplace, it was fairly easy to gauge a student’s engagement and enthusiasm level. Are they making eye contact? Actively listening? Asking questions? Awake? All of these were readily apparent to the teacher or trainer. Now, in online learning situations, it’s become a challenge for trainers to redefine what engagement means and how it can be measured.

Despite previous definitions of student engagement in the physical classroom, student motivation can now be measured and presented in various statistical forms, with just a few clicks. Numerous analytical tools have been used to measure student’s attendance, dropouts rate, and participation levels during classes.

Many trainers may have struggled at first to observe the entire class through a computer screen. However, as time has gone by, teachers and trainers have developed their own ‘new’ ways to track student engagement and participation during online learning sessions such as:

  • Asking that all videos be left on during zoom calls
  • Hosting live poling and quizzes
  • Gauging student participation on the message boards and/or live chat
  • Paying attention to who answers and asks questions during digital sessions
  • And many more

A Change in Instruments

The shift to emergency remote learning during the lockdown required the swift development of (and utilisation of existing) web-based technology and digital devices. What once felt like a far-off future for many is now an everyday reality.

Beyond COVID-19, continuing advances in technological devices and digital learning platforms will become an undeniable part of ‘the new normal’ in education. With the right combination of tools, online students can easily achieve the same learning performance as when they were while physically in class.

Today, schools and RTOs are still using different learning management systems, such as Blackboard and Canva, even after the lockdowns. Learning Management Systems (LMS) and Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) have become more popular than ever before. Not only are they considered cheaper and easier to manage, but for many trainers, it also means being able to reach out to more students from a long distance.

Final thoughts

The future of online learning looks exciting and promising after the pandemic. With advances in technology-driven by necessity, online learning will only continue to become more accessible and more inclusive to all people. Shifting to digital mode is surely an unstoppable trend that will affect the future of education, recruitment, and our daily lifestyles forever.