Radical Improvements in Digital Teaching
We can safely say that 2020 has been the year of digital transformation, in so many different ways. The Office for Students annual review has concluded that more progress has been made in one month than in the previous five years when it comes to digital teaching. That alone speaks volumes, and shows how the education industry has also been impacted by the pandemic. All training providers should use this opportunity to improve digital teaching and learning.
Inequalities Have Been Exacerbated
One thing to be mindful of is that those who are living in less fortunate parts of the world have struggled with this digital shift. Children that don’t have access to the internet or the equipment necessary to carry out their studies. Unfortunately, the pandemic has only highlighted these inequalities more. Moving forward, it is important that no student suffers from digital poverty, and that the opportunities to take teaching and learning to a new level are seized.
University students have also been affected by this improvement in digital delivery. By moving all of the programmes online, more disadvantaged young people have been given the opportunity to learn which is great news. Again with this level of education, whilst the transformation has allowed digital innovation, existing inequalities will only be widened if not all students have access. As online learning grows, there must be a strong focus on the digital divide in higher education.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, according to a study published by the Office for Students:
- 52% of students said their learning was impacted by slow or unreliable internet connections.
- 71% reported lack of access to a quiet study space.
- 56% said they lacked access to the correct online course materials.
So even those who do have access to the right technology and equipment have other limiting factors which reduced their ability to study. It is important that this level of digital poverty is addressed, with all students having the same level of access to their courses.
Reviewing Digital Teaching in Higher Education
The review that we have discussed is just the start, and looking into digital poverty is a key part of this moving forward. The review will also look into how digital technology has been used to deliver remote education since the start of the pandemic, and the scalability/opportunities that digital education will provide in the future.
It is going to be very interesting to see how the world of digital education and learning progresses following the pandemic, and we will certainly see more training providers offering distance learning courses. If you would like to know more about how the courses at Brooks and Kirk are delivered remotely, and the support available to our students, please give us a call on 01205 805 155.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.