Learning Never Stops: Some of Positive Effects of Pandemic on Education Sector

Aug 14, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life as we know it all over the world. It has put a halt to all conventional forms of society as people have been forced to stay home to stop the spread of this highly contagious disease. As per the UNESCO estimates, over 1.5 billion students had their traditional method of education disrupted by the pandemic in May.

The education sector has found a way to deal with this disruption by employing new technologies through the digital world. This solution may have transformed this sector forever, giving rise to the 'new normal'.

As restrictions were imposed on mass gatherings around countries, the education sector resorted to the use of audio-visual media and textual material to ensure that the disruption to education was minimal. Distance learning was already a phenomenon pre-pandemic, albeit not a very popular one. Hence, educators had to take a relook at the principles of this form of learning to figure out how to modify their methods of education delivery so as to maximize its impact on students. For the younger generations, the shift to digital and distance learning was an opportunity to familiarize with the digital world. The young minds have the benefit of being able to grasp concepts better, especially when it comes to technology. In order to reach students from underprivileged backgrounds who are unlikely to have access to modern technologies, educators have made use of other forms of transmission such as the radio and television. UNESCO has created the Global Education Coalition, along with educational institutions, technology corporates and civil society to provide digital distance education to children.

The pandemic has enabled educators to get creative in terms of the preparation of their lessons. This in turn has created more engagement and interest among students who would otherwise elect to skip classes when they do not find the course content absorbing. With the use of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, the delivery of content has become more realistic and learning more interesting.

The pandemic has led to a large range of educational technology, or ed-tech, being developed around the world. These software and applications can help teachers supplement their education delivery, providing students with more interactive and varied methods of learning, thus increasing stimulation of the mind.

It has allowed educational institutions to offer additional courses through collaborations with other academicians and educators, thus expanding on what the institution can offer.

Educational institutions have collaborated with faculty and institutions in other countries, thus increasing the scope of learning. Collaborations with industry experts have also improved the content and application of knowledge. The educational institutions have conducted several webinars in collaboration with academics and industry experts, which has helped students improve their knowledge.

One of the major positive effects of the pandemic on the education sector has been the ability to reach a larger audience through the new modes of education delivery. Thus, a reputed university can help students in different countries and time zones be a part of the lecture and receive education through this mode of delivery. These interactions have helped educators and students feel a sense of connection during times of social distancing and isolation. Regular check-ins from teachers and mentors with the students can help students avoid depression and anxiety. AICTE, NPTEL, Swayam, EdX, Coursera and several other world class universities have developed MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) which can be learnt by learners at their own convenience and time. Many of these courses are skill-based and free of cost. Several students have used this period of the pandemic to upgrade themselves. These MOOCs have reduced the cost of learning.

The pandemic has enabled educational institutions to become innovative in their approach to content and knowledge delivery. There will be more options of learning. The traditional full-time classroom learning, digital online learning and blended learning, which is a combination of both.

The pandemic is transforming the world and society, but this doesn't have to be a bad thing. Disruption often leads to innovation, and the positive effects seen from the pandemic on the education sector are proof that change should be embraced rather than shunned.



By Dr Molly S Chaudhuri
Dr Molly S Chaudhuri (MBA, MPhil, PhD) is director of MSNM Besant Institute of PG Studies, Mangaluru. She has over two decades of work experience in academics and industry. She holds a doctorate in Knowledge Management from the Mangalore University. She is a member of the Core Team of CII for Knowledge Management and also a member of the Knowledge Management Global Network. She is currently the Division Director for Division F, District 92 of Toastmasters International.
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Comment on this article

  • Dr Mohan Prabhu, LL.D, QC, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Mon, Aug 17 2020

    A very interesting and insightful article. Distance learning has been with us for ages, but it lacks the personal socializing effect of in person classroom instruction. While the new normal would enable educational institutions to be far more pro-active in dissemination of knowledge, that cannot replace socialization at a young age which has severe ramifications in adult interpersonal relationships. Will the positive effects outweigh the social isolaton?

  • Simon Lobo, Mangalore

    Sun, Aug 16 2020

    Dr. Molly Chaudhuri,

    Well done and excellent article.

    Agree that - positive effect of the pandemic on the education sector has been the ability to reach a larger audience through the new modes of education delivery,

    however, there is a need to protect copyright issues of subject materials and on line content security implemented to protect institutional proprietary resources. The IVY League schools and major universities are struggling to meet the new security issues, since course content protection is challenging. We may see vast improvements over next few years in the content protection methods and supporting processes.

    Looking forward to read many more such articles from you in the near future. Congratulations.

  • John B. Monteiro, Bondel Mangalore

    Sat, Aug 15 2020

    Very crisp, well-packaged analyses and insightful article on a subject of current relevance. It is an interesting summation of the post-Corona scene and the means open to adoption to meet the changed academic scenario (hopefully soon). At the core of the new scenario is the possibility of inter-school, inter-university and inter-continental interaction. It gives an optimistic message: Don’t despair; when one door closes another opens. Way to go Dr. Molly.

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