Whether you are a school teacher, a corporate trainer, or simply studying a new language on the side, the past two years will have been dotted with sprints of remote or hybrid learning.
Admittedly, not all changes were positive; for many institutions, the initial rush to adapt to a difficult set of new circumstances exposed a rather fragmented adoption of high-quality education technology (EdTech). This can largely be put down to the fact that before the pandemic, higher education significantly lagged behind other industries in becoming more digitally driven – less than 5% of college budgets were dedicated to IT spending, according to a 2018 report. Thankfully, the education sector has already come a long way in embracing all things digital.
Indeed, following a slow, two-decade march towards digital transformation, the education sector has now been transformed from one of the least digitized and most people-intensive economic sectors, into one that centers around technology. As universities and platforms like Coursera have launched new massive open online classes (MOOCs), corporate enterprises too have turned to elevated training solutions to ensure that employees are still achieving their professional development goals in the remote climate.
So, when it comes to the many solutions adopted throughout the pandemic, have they lived up to expectations, and perhaps more importantly, will they survive the pandemic hype-cycle?
Expect EdTech to stick around
We would argue that the answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Even before the pandemic, already there was high growth and adoption in EdTech, with global investments reaching $18.66 billion in 2019, and the overall market for online education predicted to reach $350 billion by 2025. Naturally, app-based solutions such as Codeacademy have been popular amongst younger students and adult learners alike for a while now, while virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, and online learning software have emerged as truly disruptive platforms over the years. Clearly, these developments were just the beginning for EdTech.
Much more than a passing fad or a means to an end to survive the pandemic, recent changes have prompted a major shift in the education arena towards online, lifelong learning. Although the classroom will always be the focal point of knowledge exchange, hybrid education initiatives which employ both in-person instruction and remote tuition will no doubt continue to grow in popularity, thanks to the increased flexibility and added benefits they offer learners.
Whether this means learning at your own pace from home when completing a professional development course, rather than fading into the background in the classroom, or simply improved opportunities to revise for mid-terms, learners have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Is online learning more effective than in-person education?
Some encouraging news for educators and learners to be aware of, then, is recent evidence to support the idea that online learning can actually be more effective than in-person learning in a number of different ways. Some studies show that on average, students are able to retain 25-60% more material when learning online. This is compared to just 8-10% in a classroom. Largely, this can be put down to the fact that learners are able to learn faster online; an exclusive look at our own research even reveals that the majority (62%) of learners believe that online learning is much more convenient than in person study.
Likewise, more than half (52%) also said that these initiatives promote more in-depth learning than when instruction is delivered in the traditional classroom. As students can learn at their own pace, they have vital opportunities to revise material by re-reading, skip over sections they are already aware of, or accelerate through concepts as they choose.
Here at Soffos, we’re proud to say that we have been far ahead of the curve when it comes to advocating for EdTech that gives people the opportunity to elevate their education. Recently, we’ve been making some noise about the launch of our new web app, TestMe, which will bring study materials to life, helping knowledge-seekers understand essential concepts in minutes and put their understanding to the test.
You can give it a try for yourself here – powered by advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP)capabilities, we’re confident that solutions like ours will surpass all expectations.