What is the Future of Online Education?
For the past several years, I’ve been completely immersed in the world of online education.
What started as a search for the easiest way to earn my CPA license quickly became a lucrative entrepreneurial pursuit. As I obsessively researched the best web-based options for future accountants, lawyers, financial analysts, and engineers, I’ve become something of a thought leader in this space.
But in spite of that, I was completely blindsided by the economic ramifications of the Covid-19 global pandemic— same as everyone else. I’m fortunate to have a fantastic team behind me to keep our business running through all the confusion, but I still have several questions about the future of this industry.
Here are some interesting things I discovered while trying to answer these questions.
Online learning vs. in-person classes
Schools were first closed in the United States due to Covid-19 on March 16. At first, this was meant to be a short-term close— but over the next few days, many states decided to keep schools closed for the remainder of the academic year. At the time I’m writing this (about ten months later), 41 states are still ordered to close their schools, seven states are recommended to close their schools, and two states have expired closures. (Source)
Everything from pre-school to post-grad was essentially forced to close their physical locations. And unless they wanted to send their students on a year-long summer break, they had to transition into online spaces. Unfortunately, this was a tough transition that caused many headaches— both figuratively in the case of test scores, and literally with regards to Zoom fatigue.
Despite this, it looks likely that many institutions who’ve gone through these changes will make them permanent. If they don’t use them to replace in-person classes entirely, some have been inspired to focus heavily on their online offerings in the near future.
Unfortunately, it appears that many educators who are making this switch care more about reducing costs and less about improving the quality of their students’ education. According to one survey of over 80,000 students, only 11% of high schoolers and 15% of college students felt that their online classes were as effective as physical classroom sessions.
Updating our education
Our modern education system was largely defined by the Industrial Revolution. But after a roughly 300-year period that saw monumental advancements in art, science, medicine, and politics, relatively little has changed about this old-fashioned system.
But when you consider that literacy, standardized test scores, and college enrollment have been trending downward, even before the pandemic, I think that suggests we can do more to improve it than simply getting more smartboards and Chromebooks.
Now that we’re in the midst of what many experts are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it looks like a great time to give our education system a much-needed facelift. For the past few years, scientific journals and think tanks have discussed what changes need to be made in order to prepare the youth for a rapidly-changing workplace.
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original content source:https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/364462