A version of this post was originally published in District Administration, on April 15, 2021.
Since March last year, schools, colleges, students, and teachers have been on a roller coaster. They have seen traditional education methods turned upside down with school closures. As a result, everyone had to quickly adapt to the new remote learning environment and teaching practices.
However, the available technology has enabled students to thrive and continue learning despite the changes in dynamics and challenges. It is not only students who have been able to flourish due to the ever-growing and improving edtech resources; educators and educational institutions have also benefitted from the support these resources have offered.
The traditional routine of going to school and sitting in a classroom all day has gone out the window under Covid-19. Students have had to adapt to new teaching methods through online resources that they can access remotely to continue learning.
Change is a challenge for all of us, not least young people. Learning can be difficult enough without the additional twist of having to self-motivate to learn at home. However, the resources available to students to continue their learning throughout the pandemic have more than proven their worth.
Many schools turned their attention to learning management systems (LMS), through which they could set lesson tasks, receive assignment submissions, provide feedback, as well as live stream lessons. The lessons were also available at a later date if a student was unable to attend a class or simply wanted to revisit it. This is great for helping students to reinforce their understanding of a topic. Critically, it enables teachers to monitor student attendance and keep track of their progress, ensuring students follow a schedule and engage with lessons.
Remote learning also helps develop independent learning skills. In virtual classes, students will often have less one-on-one time with teachers.
Gamified learning has also grown in popularity and proven hugely beneficial for students learning independently as it is based around the idea of building a growth mindset. Students are encouraged to overcome challenges despite initial failures, which supports and promotes independent learning.
For example, students can learn about a complex math topic, such as algebra, in a fun and interactive online game that encourages them to complete quizzes for rewards. In doing so, they are more incentivized to continue practicing through the game than learning about algebra in a textbook. Exploring alternative learning methods can be an effective way of reaching students who struggle with conventional classroom methods.
Online learning pioneers often declare that if there is one good thing to come out of this difficult time, it’s a growth in edtech awareness. It has also presented students and educators alike with the opportunity to reimagine what education could — and should look like — to provide the best learning experience for students.
Despite this growth, however, the pandemic has not been plain sailing for online education providers. The sharp increase in demand in such a short period of time meant organizations had to swiftly adapt. Many were concerned about meeting the growing demands and whether the systems they had in place would provide their students with the necessary resources to cope.
However, just as technology has supported students during the pandemic, it has also helped those who provide the resources.
Learning Management Systems have enabled online education providers to grow their offerings and meet remote teaching and learning demands. For example, as the student numbers increased, so did the need for a greater variety of courses, whether at different levels or subjects. Learning platforms have further enabled educators to add new courses to meet the general demand and the demand for new classes.
LMSs also contain features that allow you to build quizzes and tasks for students, adapted to different subjects. In this way, educators can quickly develop new tasks and resources. Some also have an equation editor feature which helps to write questions and build maths challenges for students. These quizzes and the feedback can be provided on the platform, where progress is monitored, and parents are able to easily see how their child is doing in class.
All in all
The many different LMSs provide educators with more freedom and time to deliver personalized learning support for students. They can plan and schedule specific content more efficiently and, as a consequence, have more time to offer individual support.
As hybrid learning gains popularity for teaching during the pandemic and beyond, schools need an LMS that helps them do this effectively.
Graham is the CEO and Founder of CYPHER LEARNING and NEO. He is a serial entrepreneur, e-learning enthusiast, published author and educator.