Covid-19 and the Future of Education

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

The Global Accessibility of Virtual Learning

Seismic changes are afoot. Covid-19 has altered the landscape of daily life for virtually every industry and institution on Earth, and yours is no exception. While society at large cannot operate as before because of the threat to public health, that threat brings with it the chance to rise to a new challenge. Adapting to a future where virtual learning is a more streamlined, globalized process to the benefit of educators, employers, and students begin now.

The End of Physical Barriers to Education

In businesses and colleges around the world, the shift to virtual learning was already well underway. Training for the workforce or upgrading your employees’ skill sets was as likely to take place in the digital space as in the physical, but the pace of that shift was determined by the changes in technology and the attitudes of employers and educators. Now, it’s being determined by safety needs amid a global pandemic, and a once gradual process has been shifted into high gear by those looking to remain relevant.

What does this mean for you, the business leader looking to recruit the best possible talent for your organization even as you re-evaluate operations? It means that the best option may no longer be the most prestigious institutions, but those with the best IT infrastructure and adaptable staff. In the long run, this actually is good news for you, since employees and potential recruits can learn from anywhere in the world to work in your digital space.

The Accelerated Shift to Virtual Learning

Competition has always existed between colleges, as well as other institutions of continuing education, to provide up to date training. Now and for the immediately foreseeable future, the relevance of educational programs will depend on their flexibility. Which instructors are technically literate enough to handle these new challenges? How much of anyone course can be carried out without direct, in-person instruction? Institutions with experience in hybrid courses, capable of adapting a competency-based learning model to what was previously a digital environment of mostly MOOC’s, will excel in this era of socially distanced skills training. Others, sadly, will fall by the wayside.

The transformation to digital has been described as a form of risk mitigation, as institutions are liable for the safety of staff and students, as well as for the inherent risks of operating in these uncertain times. Those that create the digital capability to react not just to this crisis, as well as future emergencies, will be most likely to survive, thrive, and impart to your staff the agility to do the same. Institutions all over the world will be looking to stay competitive, and new forms of training are likely to become available at rates that reflect the demands of our new reality.

Reaching a New, Global, Business as Usual

The rule book for where work and training can come from is being rewritten on a day to day basis. A worldwide re-imagining of possibilities is taking place. Where there is undoubtedly suffering and hardship, there is also a promise. Individuals or firms for whom certain forms of training were out of reach due to geography and institutional costs might now find new opportunities. Educators who have lagged in adapting to digital media, counting on the prestige and apparent longevity of face to face education, will struggle to keep up. Those institutions now adapting rapidly, or who already have the advanced infrastructure in place, will find the world’s students and firms flocking to their digital doorsteps.

Every crisis brings with it both the need and the opportunity to self-evaluate. Firms and colleges the world over are now engaged in that process, asking themselves how Covid-19 will shape things to come, and what they can do to weather the storm. No one can know exactly what shape the future of education or business will take, but virtual learning stands to be a key component. With this far-reaching digital shift comes the potential for greater accessibility to education and a potentially wider pool of skilled recruits than ever before.

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