For decades, countries all around the world held a unitary approach to education. Teaching was almost entirely class-based, and even practical aspects of education had to be conducted in a class or some other formal set up.
With the tech boom of the last two decades, the face of education has completely changed. There is now a greater percentage of the population that has access to learning material and tools at no cost, a feat that was almost impossible in the early 2000s. With just a laptop and a reliable internet connection, you can complete a degree, attend class, take exams, or submit an assignment.
The global coronavirus outbreak has revolutionized online learning even among some of the more prestigious education institutions. While MIT and others have long posted their curricula for students learning online, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, online learning has moved to a new level, even allowing students to study everything from home-schooling to full university degrees.
Here are 5 ways in which technology is changing our approach to education:
Digital Learning Programs and MOOC’s Have Been Embraced
Many colleges and universities now have distance learning programs and the so-called Massive Open Online Courses or MOOCs. Some of the most popular of these programs include Edx, Coursera, Khan Academy, and Iversity.
These platforms and numerous others have millions of free courses that are taught by professional and qualified instructors. This means that the material provided is actually university accredited and is probably just as good if not better than what you pay tuition and attend classes for.
Some of these MOOC’s such as Edx and Coursera, actually provide a certificate once you successfully complete the course, which can be a great addition to your resume.
By far, one of the biggest and most unprecedented revolutions tech tools brought to education is YouTube. Nowadays, it is possible to be self-taught and quite proficient in a subject without ever having to attend a class or university.
YouTube has millions of free videos on virtually any subject you’d like to learn about. The best part is that most of these videos are practical and are usually taught by experts who might themselves want to grow their channels or subscriptions. Thus, you may end up learning both theoretical and practical stuff.
One of the best parts about YouTube is available for multiple devices and across all platforms meaning billions of people can access it. Content can be downloaded for later as long as there are appropriate permissions for it. YouTube is also a sharing platform, meaning you can interact with and learn from other users or subscribers to a specific channel who are watching the same video in the comments section.
Corporate and Educational Webinars
Webinars have provided a great platform for universities, businesses, research institutions, and other content creators to educate the masses on their products. Some of these may be free, while others may be premium. Some might also be accessible on YouTube, while others are specifically hosted on private platforms, company servers, and other individual websites.
Webinars are set up to allow a limited number of people to participate and interact in a live session or event. They are popular, for example, where companies want to unveil a new product to a target group, or where lectures are preferred online.
With regards to education, webinars are important as they build understanding and interaction among the target group. Sessions can be recorded; questions can be asked live or discussed later when the forum is re-opened or continued. In fact, webinars are an important tool for students in graduate school, specifically those in MBA programs.
Availability of Online Tutoring
The internet has enabled tutoring to become remote. No longer does one need to pay for an expensive tutor to come to their precinct physically. It’s now easy to get reliable assignment help from the comfort of your dorm room.
Getting remote help with school work has long been contentious, plagued by issues of plagiarism, scams, and a general feeling that it promotes laziness amongst students who seek such help. However, it can be an extremely useful tool if used correctly.
For example, an ESL student can get help with their essay writing by purchasing an original sample paper, which they can then use to understand their own work better. There is little need to plagiarize once you understand the requirements of the assignment with the help of a well-written sample, or with personalized help from a professional writer.
Digitalized Learning Material
Gone are the days when you actually needed a visit to the library to access an important book. With your Kindle, iPad, or other e-readers, you can store and access all your e-books quite easily without the need for carrying around the paper.
These e-books are also convenient as you can make edits such as annotations and highlight parts of the text that you feel are quite important.