The past 2 years have been filled with uncertainty for many young people, especially for students who have gotten used to the routine of spending a good chunk of their weekdays in school. Not everyone has expected the pandemic to last for as long as it already has, and not everyone has foreseen its capability to disrupt every aspect of the education sector.
Now, much of the world has started to come to terms with the changes brought about by the pandemic. Many educational institutions made the best of the situation by using it as an opportunity to test new strategies that will enable them to provide their community of learners with top-notch education, no matter if they’re in a formal learning environment or staying in the comfort and safety of their homes. The wider adoption of these new teaching tools and techniques will play a significant role in the education trends that many students, educators, and parents will observe this year.
Here are some of the changes that many schools and academic institutions are expected to implement in the coming months.
The Adoption of e-Learning Channels in Traditional School Settings
In the past years, many governments and schools resorted to remote learning as a strategy to protect the health and wellbeing of their students and staff, as well as to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19. Now that some countries, including Singapore, are starting to treat COVID-19 as an endemic disease, it’s a lot less likely that students will be required to attend remote classes. Still, many of the academic institutions in the country are revamping their teaching strategies and materials so that they can easily accommodate the students who want to stay on top of their lessons, even if they also need to remain at home for the time being.
Many of the leading local academic institutions and even the top international schools in Singapore have found a way around this by designing modules that enable students to smoothly transition to and from on-campus and online classes. One such school, the Stamford American International School, even offers an e-learning preparatory course for students who want to improve their mastery of the English language, who desire to experience IB-style education, and who want to ensure that they’re ready to make the most of their online classes.
Dealing with the Students’ Decreasing Attention Span
Many students relied on their smart devices to access learning materials and attend classes at the height of the pandemic. While this certainly afforded many of them with the best chance to keep up with their lessons while they’re confined to their homes, the use of smart devices for learning can be a double-edged sword. Aside from enabling students to do their research and attend online classes, smart devices can also be used to access distractions from schoolwork. The constant stimulation from the use of smart devices can contribute to the reduction of one’s attention span. This is an issue that parents and teachers should educate children about as soon as possible. The use of more engaging teaching materials is one way to capture the attention of digital natives and ensure that they can better retain the lessons they learn in their classes.
Emphasis on Resiliency, Creativity, Coping Skills, and Other Soft Skills in the Classroom
More than just academic competence, many companies are looking for prospective employees and team members who can showcase resiliency, creativity, and coping skills, all of which are qualities that play a big role in enabling employees to succeed in work-from-home setups. At the same time, many companies are also looking for people with critical-thinking, problem-solving, and people management skills, as such qualities will help them adjust to sudden changes in their work environment and managing styles. The higher demand for these soft skills among employers is influencing higher education institutions and affecting the way educators facilitate in-person and distance-learning setups. Academic institutions that can successfully cultivate these soft skills among their students provide a competitive advantage and ensure higher success rates for their alumni.
Lifelong Learning Becomes Accessible to Professionals
The use of digital solutions in education not only benefits young students; it’s also a boon to professionals who want to continue their education and remain lifelong learners. The use of smart devices in education and the growing popularity of distance learning channels mean that many professionals also have the option to continue learning despite their busy schedules. They can sign up for classes online and attend their lessons during their free time. Companies that want to introduce new technology in their organization can also use smart devices to acquaint their staff with the new system. This can save businesses extra man-hours and empower employees to seek opportunities for self-improvement at their convenience.
Smart technology and blended-learning setups, without doubt, will continue to be popular educational tools even when there will be little need for school closures in the future. In a way, these tools and strategies will bring with them new challenges for students and educators alike, but those also come with more exciting opportunities for making education more accessible to everyone.