How Online Learning Is Changing Education Due To Coronavirus

In February and March 2020, a global pandemic emerged which affected all industries. This includes the education sector which resulted in the closure of schools all around the world. Consequently, over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries were not in a classroom learning important academic content.


The Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said that “7.2 million pupils were estimated to be attending schools” in the UK in September of 2020 and many more school children around the world are faced with the same reality.


This led to the big question of how millions of children around the world could receive a good education when they were not in school. The big answer for many people was moving towards booking sessions with online tutors in order to keep a consistent amount of learning. 



So what is online learning and how is it going to positively affect the face of education as we know it?


Online learning, also known as distance learning or educational technology, is an alternative route to face-to-face teaching. It enables students and tutors to meet virtually via technology to ensure students can still learn key academic content. Not only does this make students productive, but it can also allow students to build confidence out of the classroom for upcoming exams.


Online learning platforms such as Sherpa have enabled students to catch-up with their education from their own homes. Tutoring at Sherpa works through our online interactive whiteboard which allows both parties to share their screens, draw and present work and upload powerpoints. The whiteboard offers many other functions to ensure the preferences of the student can easily be met in all online lessons.



The rise of online learning

Even before coronavirus, there was a high adoption in education technology with some global edtech investments reaching $18.66 billion in 2019. On a longer term scale, the online education market is expected to reach $350 billion by 2025 which signifies the potential for how large the online learning market could be. 


Whether its language apps, virtual tutoring and online learning software, there has been a vast surge regarding users since coronavirus. This not only includes the education sector, but 40% of the Fortune 500 companies now use online learning to help train staff. 


On top of this, 81% of students have said online learning has helped them achieve better grades. Research is suggesting that online learning has been shown to increase retention information with learners. Online learning has very much become the new norm for many people; and with grades being improved; it could very much be the new way of education for many people. 


What does this mean for the future of education?

Given the data and current situation, many educational experts state that a new hybrid model for education will emerge regarding both online learning and face-to-face lessons in school. This is very much possible; as this is what has been happening mostly since the pandemic began. This includes universities in the UK having face-to-face lessons for subjects that require it; while other subjects have been taught online 


Such successful transitions have been occurring with world-leading universities. For example, Zhejiang University managed to have 5,000 courses online in just two weeks after the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. 



Issues for Online Learning 

95% of students in Norway, Switzerland and Austria have a computer to use for their schoolwork. On the other hand, only 34% of students in Indonesia have access to a computer, according to OECD data. The digital divide means that students in developed countries have a much greater advantage over students in developing countries. This causes issues including equality gaps and worsening grade trends between rich and poor countries. 


In the US, the gap between privileged and disadvantaged backgrounds is significant. Essentially all privileged background 15-year-olds have access to a computer for education whilst only 25% of those from disadvantaged families have a computer.

This is a great problem faced by governments and education systems as a whole.


Is online learning effective?

For those students who have access to technology, there is overwhelming and sufficient evidence that online learning is more effective than face-to-face lessons. Such research has shown that students who use online learning retain 25-60% more material when compared to the low 8-10% from a classroom environment. This is likely due to students being too accustomed to a classroom environment; and a new way of online learning has made many students develop a new form of motivation for revision and studies. 


Furthermore, online learning provides interactive user experiences which enables students to learn faster online. Studies have found that 40-60% less time is required to learn online rather than in a traditional classroom setting. This is down to students being able to work at their own pace without the distraction of other pupils around them.


Will online learning keep students safe?

In short, yes. Isolating students within their own homes allows for their own independent study time. In addition, students are able to learn from Sherpa’s expert tutors and to have their preferences tailored to each individual session. Online lessons with Sherpa tutors are always one-to-one; so this ensures a student in a session is able to ask all of their questions without interruption from other students. 


To find your tutor at Sherpa, click here to perfect your studies and build your confidence academically. 

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Ethan Carter

19th October

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