In 2020, an article by Channel NewsAsia stated that up to 90% of the world’s learners were affected by school closures. This number, as estimated by OECD, roughly translates to about 1.5 billion students who suffered indirectly from the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to this, many schools and educational institutions across the world have pivoted towards online mediums for teaching. Pre COVID-19 pandemic, students across Singapore sat in classrooms, and now they sit across computer screens at home, learning via virtual sessions.
The temporary shutdown and closure of schools resulted in a shift towards remote learning – leveraging the use of digital tools, educators quickly favoured more home-based learning. Digital companies were also swift to innovate and ensure that the necessary resources were provided, setting up learning software to enable educational institutions to continue home-based learning. Communication and collaboration-based software such as Zoom and DingTalk became favoured during this period, facilitating much of the shift as well.
All this considered, what are some of the challenges faced with online learning and home-based education? Are we, as a generation, fully ready to pivot in such a direction, or is this just a temporary measure in the face of adversity?
Technology is important in education and is especially so during a crisis like this. Instead of wondering when COVID-19 will end, we need to be ready to embrace some of the changes to learning in Singapore brought about by the pandemic – which are here to stay.
The key in mastering this shift towards digital learning appears to be prioritising interaction over instruction. Educators who were used to lecturing en masse have to now find a way to retain the attention of a digital generation. Long monologues no longer cut it, as interactive activities become the de facto way to engage students. Through the use of quizzes, polls, and crowdsourced discussions, educators can now captivate their students and involve them directly in the progress of each session.
As daunting as it might sound, recent research on this trend has posited that coupled with proper structure, online education actually poses more significant benefits than possible drawbacks. The average student retains 25-60% more material when learning online and requires 40 to 60% less time to master material than when in traditional classrooms.
Naturally, such upside doesn’t come without its own challenges and concerns. The most apparent being the availability of resources and inequality across demographics. Not every student might have the ideal set up for a conducive remote learning environment. Reading and learning on a 32 inch computer monitor sounds infinitely more comfortable than attempting to squint at a 6 inch phone screen.
In order for home based online learning to truly succeed, it is imperative that every single student receives the appropriate and necessary tools to learn regardless of socio-economic status.
Almost two years into the pandemic and we are still uncertain about how long COVID-19 will last and when we would be able to live fully in a post-pandemic world. Concerned parents reading this might lose sleep over the move towards computer-based learning. Many might be thinking about what they can do to help their children make the transition. Well, fret not because in Singapore, at least, most private tuition agencies are well equipped with the tools and resources necessary to deliver high quality structured lessons.
Selecting the right regime of enrichment classes, coupled with daily lessons from schools will quickly assuage any worries one might have about their child falling behind. Experience matters, and a trusted agency goes a long way in helping students adapt to online learning.
A personalised and structured program, focused on interaction rather than instruction, is the ideal way to empower the students of today to achieve their best results. Sign up today at FamilyTutor to give your children the edge they need in an ever-evolving world.
Alternatively, if you believe that you can make a difference through education, sign up as a home tutor with FamilyTutor today, and bring out the best in all your students!
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