By: Cesilia Faustina
In the midst of a pandemic, more institutions are turning to online education to ensure that students can still continue their education like normal. This has been a major concern ever since quarantine all over the world started taking place. Most schools are now shut down and parents are concern about their children’s future.
The situation doesn’t stop educational institutions though. Many institutions are already starting to utilize technology to support their teaching programs even before the coronavirus wave started, and now that we’re here, people are looking at digital technology as the main tool for education distribution.
According to a report by Technavio, the global digital education content market size will grow by USD 22.97 billion during 2019-2023. Surely, this number would probably increase seeing the current state of the education sector. With more and more institutions looking to digital education to help them through these tough times, demands for digital education tools and platforms are on the rise.
Even UNESCO has provided a list of digital learning management systems during time of school closures. The need for a digital learning system is becoming more real, and let’s be honest, nobody knows until when the pandemic will last, which means students and teachers need to start getting used to a digital learning situation.
A global transformation
This shift may be seen everywhere, with countries like Estonia sharing their digital education tools for other countries to use, which actually is benefiting the start-up scene in that sector. While in China, many schools are resorting to mobile apps. As the pandemic is affecting the education system on a global scale, many people are starting to wonder whether this will be the new standard of education systems?
Well, an online platform sure makes things a lot easier, students don’t have to waste time or money on commuting, in addition to any physical resources that may be needed, like paperback books, backpacks, writing utensils, etc. Through an online or digital platform, all learning materials and learning process can be done through just that, an online tool. This by itself will save time, cost and provides opportunities for students all over the globe to receive access to education.
On the other hand, some might argue that digital education might also experience various setbacks when it comes to practice, from technical difficulties to lack of digital devices. This is also a true fact, not all students can afford a mobile device or even internet access. In China, students complain that the lockdown has made it hard for them to still receive a proper education, in particular those who do not own mobile phones or share a mobile phone amongst the family. In the US, students with special needs are having trouble receiving proper education through an online system. Parents may see this method as putting a setback for their children.
That said, could digitalization really be the key for troubling times? The answer is a simple yes. No doubt our understanding and processing of the education workflow through technology may not be a very generalized thought, but whether we like it or not, it is the future. Through digital platforms millions can still receive education and stay productive in times of crisis. Just because the world is in chaos doesn’t mean you should stop trying to achieve a better future.
Having a digital platform that will allow students to receive quality teaching materials, as well as any necessary internal and external information about the institution and the learning process creates a conducive environment to receive a proper learning operation.
That said, this is why learning management systems are the future of the industry, especially in times of crisis, like our current COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to remember some benefits as to why going digital for the education sector may be a plus, especially now.
Digital education is much more accessible for students all around the world. It is true that not all students may have access to internet or digital devices, which continues to be a problem that needs to be solved, but digital education is providing access that does not usually account for in times of global pandemic or natural disasters.
Most public schools now have access to internet and many are starting to implement learning management systems, while the global online penetration rate is at 59 percent as of January 2020, according to Statista. Technology needs to be made more accessible for people of all social and economical class, as this may be the best way of providing education in today’s society.
Ease in documentation
Having all data available through a digital system means student records, grades and administration may be completely documented through one digital platform, which means they can be easily searched for and accessed any time needed. This will save time when looking through students’ records and handling all documentation.
It also means no more manual searches and paper filing, so you would not only be saving time, but also any wastage.
The thing about technology is the ability to integrate and connect with other programs/systems, which makes conducting the everyday tasks of educational institutions into a simple and direct process. Ability to integrate also means that you can easily insert any additional add-ons that may be needed in the future without disrupting your whole system.
With so many institutions on the line and a global need for education, flexibility is highly needed when adopting a digital process.
These are just a few of the benefits a digital education system can help more than ever in these times. The more challenges faced in our world, the more it is safe to say that technology is becoming a huge solution point to many of our problems, and perhaps it is just what we need in the midst of change.