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Will Distance Learning Ever Replace the Physical Classroom?

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a marked impact on everyday activities, educational organisations are still relying on technology to provide continuity to teaching and learning. But what does this mean going forward? Once normal service resumes will schools abandon digital learning completely or have web based platforms muscled their way in and declared 'I'm here to stay!'? In this post we are going to look at the future of distance learning post Covid-19 and what it means to have an effective blended learning system.

What is Distance Learning, and Why Does it Matter?

Distance learning is a method of delivering lessons and content remotely enabling teachers, students and guardians to remain connected and engaged. We've seen a range of obvious benefits to this approach during the Covid-19 crisis such as;
  • Continue to provide lessons, set assignments and give feedback without physically being in school.
  • Keep students engaged and motivated.
  • Encourage and provide feedback.
But what are the broader benefits of distance learning? What can we learn from this new way of teaching? Some of the benefits of incorporating web based platforms may include;
  • Greater flexibility especially for students who are unable to attend lessons for a variety of reasons.
  • Able to adapt to different learning styles.
  • Created a targeted approach and tailor lesson plans.

Can Distance Learning Replace the Classroom?

It is widely accepted that technology should support learning not vice versa. Having worked with hundreds of schools, academies and Trusts of all sizes, we have seen the best digital strategies form robust relationships between the physical and the virtual where the two are complementing not competing. This has been made even more apparent by the Covid-19 crisis which has highlighted the dangers around replacing teachers with computers. A recent study by the Nuffield Foundation found in mainstream schools that;
  • 'less than half (42%) of students returned their last piece of work'
  • 'around one third of pupils (29-37%) are not engaging with work at all'
For the full report click here.

What Makes an Effective Blended Learning System?

When it comes to implementing a digital strategy there are many elements to take into account. The
most successful roll outs we have seen have all adopted a structured and robust plan which includes;
  • Teachers and students fully engaged in system.
  • Unified approach.
  • Digital resources and outcomes aligned.
  • Availability of technology to all students.
  • Strict security measures.
  • Innovative outlook.
Technology Post Pandemic

With the uncertainty surrounding the reopening of schools and what the 'new normal' will look like, one
thing is clear; blended learning systems in some form are here to stay. Educational organisations have
put too much time and effort into setting these digital experiences up to simply abandon them once
normal service has resumed. How much or how little schools will embrace this adapted way of working
going forward depends on the individual, but keeping to a strong plan with a clear vision is essential in
making any strategy a success.

If you are interested in talking to us about your blended learning systemclick here.


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