COVID-19 Impact On E-learning

The Impact of COVID-19 on E-Learning

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed the entire dynamic of the way we live, work, and even learn. While workplaces have had to make the shift to virtual work, teachers and students have had to learn how to adapt to virtual instruction. COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the industry of e-learning - and not entirely for the worse. Below are some of the ways that COVID-19 has changed online learning for the better. 


The Benefice Of E-learning

 Despite common opinion, there are actually a multitude of benefits that e-learning has over in person instruction. For starters, studies have shown that students who participate in virtual learning experience an increase in retention of information; that is, they remember what they’ve learned for longer periods of time. Additionally, participating in asynchronous classroom discussions, such as discussion boards, encourage the development of higher-order thinking as students are allowed more time to think about the question and pose an answer.


 Participating in e-learning additionally forces students to develop skills such as self-regulation and time management, extremely valuable skills that they will need for adulthood. Attending school in person takes this away from students, as they are forced to live by the school’s schedule and focus during times that they do not choose. Consequently, it is difficult for recently graduated 18-year-olds to self-regulate and develop time management skills, leading to lower job retention and an increase in college dropouts.


There are also the obvious benefits, which reflect the exact same reasons why an increasing number of college students choose to get their degrees online. E-learning is flexible, takes less time, and can be completed at any time, anywhere. Students can take family vacations and continue to complete their schoolwork. If students are most productive in the late afternoon to evening, they can choose to complete their work during this time instead

Made more accessible

As e-learning has become a priority - and, in many cases, the only available option - teachers and school districts have made online instruction more accessible for all students. Entire school systems have banded together to provide routers and laptops for students who live in low-income or rural communities, so that everyone can have access to an appropriate education. Previously, students who wanted to participate in online instruction or who would have benefitted from it could not even access it as an option for this exact reason. 


 COVID-19 has forced everyone into virtual learning, whether they have the skills and resources to take it on or not. Consequently, virtual learning has had to adapt to meet the needs of these learners, transforming the industry into something that is more accessible for all students, not just those “best suited” for it. This is a step forward similar to the adoption of IDEA in 1975, although without the same legal backing. IDEA brought educational accessibility to students with special needs; COVID-19 is bringing accessibility to virtual instruction to low-income and rural students.


Introduced Creative Virtual Teaching Methods

 With no other available options, teachers are having to come up with creative ways of teaching remotely. This leads us to approach a similar problem across the board: how do we teach this content in such a way that is backed by research, but without access to physical manipulatives and face-to-face interaction? This has led teachers to creatively problem-solve and come up with more developments, more discoveries, and more innovations within the field of e-learning. Educators everywhere are coming up with more ways to make the content accessible, and provide students with access to “hands on” activities, even through a screen. 


 It has also encouraged software developers to create more online games, activities, and systems that can be utilized for instruction. For example, in my classroom of all Deaf and hard of hearing students, I needed a way to teach them the concept of magnets in a way that was hands-on, yet also virtual. This led to the discovery of a game where students can drag and drop objects over a virtual “magnet” to see if said items were magnetic. Then students could sort these items into categories and discuss what characteristics they had in common. Students were able to determine that items with iron in them were magnetic.


 Companies such as Zoom are finding ways to solve the problem of small group work by allowing classrooms to form “breakout rooms,” where students can be paired up into small groups and teachers could pop in to observe from time to time. Games such as Kahoot and QuizWhizzer can be utilized to conduct fun, game-like activities that can double as quizzes, exit slips, and formative assessments. As teachers adapt to COVID-19, so do technology and teaching methods.


E-learning has gone through huge changes and adaptations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it may remain a popular option even long after all of this is over. Virtual instruction has a variety of benefits, and the way that companies, schools, and teachers have adapted to using it has only increased those benefits. If nothing else, COVID-19 has made virtual learning more accessible to students everywhere, regardless of their circumstances.

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