COVID-19 may have started as ‘just another flu’, but seems to be now dominating the entire world. The situation that continues to develop for all industries as we speak, has certainly not granted any excuse to the education sector. While most of the schools and universities across the world have been shut down, online education has emerged as a savior in these trying times. So, how exactly is digital transformation in education going to be the next big thing after COVID-19? 

Are students ready for online education?

The global education community is now going through an experimental online education phase as a result of COVID-19. Online learning is not new to us, and we have seen a few online learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy and Edureka for some time now. While we are accustomed to the occasional use of these platforms for skill learning, bringing the concept of online education mainstream to students as a complete alternative to offline education is an experimental concept that we are forced to try.

As much as we have been trying out online education, one thing we need to understand is that the schools and universities are now filled with Gen-Zs aged 6 to 18 years, who have not seen the world without technology. So as much alien as the concept may seem to us, we wouldn’t have any difficulties in making them cope with the new reality of online education. In fact, a study shows that 60% of Gen-Z likes to share and collaborate their knowledge online and 93% of Gen-Z students feel confident as they understand technology well[1]. So, Yes. Students are ready for online education.

How would online education change the future of education?

In a world where any information you need is just a mouse click away, it is time that the education sector evolves too. Let’s see how online education can change the future of education.

The Digital transformation in online education speeding up:

The world does not run on pamphlet and paper posters today. We are rapidly going through a phase of digital transformation now and education which was once all paper and pen is now going digital. Not only schools and colleges but even the coaching & tuition centres that have always been operated and marketed offline are moving to digital marketing to reach students and parents online.

This poses another difficulty. Online education is a two-man job and as much as the students need to be skilled to use the current technologies and the internet, the educators need to be upskilled and adapted to learn these things. You need an online education platform to make the students learn remotely and you need educators who can teach students via those online education platforms and have the skills to operate it efficiently. This would bring about a revolution of upskilling educators on various digital platforms that enables them to experience the possibility of technology and the digital world so that they can do things with more flexibility and greater understanding.

This is also equally necessary because, the phase we are going through now, is all set to change the way students learn and get educated. This means apart from standard educational institutions like schools and colleges, new private coaching and learning portals will emerge. With a knowledge of the internet and digital marketing, tutors and teachers can even improve their online learning portals with customized learning experiences for each student.

Technology gets a boost:

The e-learning market is growing across the world, especially in India where it’s current worth is estimated to be around $3 billion. However, we all can agree that while there are multiple players in the market catering to various audiences, there has been a lack of enthusiasm in terms of adoption from their traditional counterparts. While this was the case a couple of months back, a lot of schools and colleges are now waking up to the idea of harnessing the power of technology to create an online platform and promote remote learning to enable the students to learn from their home.

As a result, many schools and universities are conducting online classes via video conferencing apps like the Zoom Meeting app and Google teams. This is not only limited to just one-to-many teaching experience, but these institutions are also making full use of these platforms by conducting online tests, assigning students with home works that are graded online, seminars, and almost every function that an educational body has to offer.

Students have also taken this situation excitedly and are adapting to this new norm of learning online. In fact, most schools claim that the student’s attendance in online classes is more than that of the offline classes. This shows how online portals for learning, e-learning websites, and video conferencing apps are rapidly changing the nature of what appears to be the future of learning and education. The post-pandemic knowledge and understanding will change our views not only on school planning, learning and education, but it will also leave us with a knowledge of skills we need for facing the future, a digital world full of technologies and the numerous possibilities that comes with it.