“We are living in the 21st century, and technology is everywhere around us. Even before the global pandemic, virtual learning tools were implemented by both college professors and experts conducting business courses”, says an expert that wrote best TOEFL preparation reviews. However, it seems that COVID-19 has put a major focus on e-learning and conducting classes online.
According to the data provided by the World Economic Forum, over 1.2 billion children aren’t available to attend classrooms due to the coronavirus outbreak. The statistics do not exist for employees who were in the process of attending courses to learn skills. However, it is presumable there are millions of them throughout the world, and the pandemic hit them hard, too.
It seems that technology has already motivated (or forced) those involved in organizing the learning process to adapt. Now, everyone is forced to move to a virtual environment. Even when the pandemic is over, will we be able to return to the classroom learning we know from the past? Will this shift to virtual learning adjust the conduction of classes in organizations and business environments?
It seems that the number one challenge of virtual teaching is ensuring that every person attending the course needs to have the same conditions and experiences during the learning process. Those are the two sides of the equality coin when it comes to virtual learning environments.
Online courses might seem more accessible to everyone, and short courses are a great way to upskill yourself. Whether the companies or the employees are paying for these classes, the price for online-only courses is more affordable. Additionally, you don’t have to waste time and money to get to the classroom location, and all resources should be available in the electronic format, too.
But what about the hardware and software employees work with when attending the course? What if companies didn’t secure laptops for their employees? What if some attendees have outdated laptops that are slow, which affects their overall experience? How will they follow classes streamed live if their internet connection is not reliable? What if they don’t have the software required to open specific files? They might use free tools, which are not as good as premium apps used by others. Does that put them at a direct disadvantage?
Another challenge for virtual learning environments is keeping your concentration. It might be convenient if you can go through the course at your own pace, and at the time of day and night when it suits your schedule. But it takes more focus than many think to follow an entire online learning session, especially if it’s not interactive or entertaining. The online attention span is traditionally low, and the fact you are alone in the room with no one watching will only make it easier to reach for your phone or take a look at the TV. Ultimately, the pace of going through the classes will end up being slower than with classroom learning.
An article in Tomorrow’s Professor Postings asks the question if it is possible to accurately evaluate a person who attends a course in the virtual world. How certain can you be that a person you might not have talked to or seen at all understood what you were teaching?
It is not much different in a business environment. Many tutors love the fact that they can communicate face to face with the people attending their course. They feel like they understand better if they crossed the message successfully.
The social factor is imperative, too. Not only it adds to the motivation of competing one against the other, but it is also easier to enter a discussion regarding a topic in a classroom. That improves the focus of each attendee and allows them to adopt new information quickly. On top of that, you have topics and vocations ideal for distance learning, but some topics are extremely hard to teach in a virtual environment.
It would be foolish to refuse tech assets when they could help you in classroom learning. The approaches might vary, but some ways to use technology in the classroom can be applied from elementary school to business courses.
Here is how you can use technology to your advantage in the classroom:
- Add new elements to presentations – most business courses these days utilize presentations, but the trick is in making them as engaging as possible. Use videos for particular segments, and implement moments where you will stop the presentation from having a discussion with the attendees.
- Secure laptops for all attendees – it might be tricky if employees are forced to bring their own laptops because not all of them are identical. If you can afford it, it would be great to add a laptop for each attendee to use during the course.
- Make all resources easily accessible – you can consider placing presentations or live course recordings on a particular platform after the class. Every attendee should find it easy to access all resources at home or whenever desired.
- Add self-assessment tools – simple tests with questions to answer about the topics taught at the course is an excellent way for attendees to assess how well they understood the course. If the teacher has access to the results, it could inform them about which of the attendees could use extra help with a specific topic
Hybrid Learning – Is It Our Future?
It doesn’t have to be the battle between classroom learning and virtual teaching environments. It seems that hybrid learning could be our future, which implies incorporating both virtual and classroom learning elements. HR managers, directors, companies, providers offering courses, and other relevant parties need to work together to find the balance between the two. That is why the ultimate thing to consider is the goal that you are trying to achieve. Based on that, it will be easy for an organization to determine the best method to reach that objective!