Le take a close look at how e-learning worked and works for students, educators, and adults. How the rise of distance education has been positive in some areas and dubious in others and we examine how it will be incorporated into education in the future.
With the onset of the pandemic, teaching quickly went from being in classrooms to being activated online to accommodate social distancing.
But in the future, will e-learning have more weight in education? Or will we see a return to class, to face-to-face teaching?
Online distance learning is not a particularly new method, but its inclusion in various sectors has accelerated due to the pandemic.
We have visited one school in Dubai Hills, like many others, most of the children went back to class at the start of the new term, but now they receive a mix of face-to-face and distance learning.
Mike kraher, Professor of Mathematics at GEMS International School explains his experience: “For me, personally, it has been a learning curve. I faced social challenges, to be honest. I missed my students. I missed teaching, I missed the classrooms. I think the lessons themselves were great. What I definitely brought into the classroom is technology. When I teach with the iPad, I try to integrate all the technology into the classroom. It has good things and great advantages. “
In many schools, students and their parents agreed to prioritize learning at home. According to the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education, in the 2020-2021 academic year, 17 percent returned to classroom teaching, while 83 percent chose to continue distance learning.
Simon Herbert, director of the GEMS International School has an opinion formed about the last months: “I believe that distance learning has a role, that we have all learned a lot. But there is a precaution to take: This is not a panacea. I mean, in education, you often say, ‘This is for the best, this will solve everything.’ And, of course, there is no such. It’s about realizing that we have the ability to learn from each other and share it around the world. “
But with the outbreak of the pandemic, teaching switched to connecting with students’ homes to accommodate social distancing.
But in the future, will the internet predominate or will we see a return to the classroom to learn alongside classmates and teachers?
In some fields, blended teaching is already working effectively. This program aims to equip students and educators with new skills and abilities for the future.
Raya Bidshahri, founder and director of Awecademy assures that_ “Even long before the pandemic we tried to defend that innovation in education is not just about putting content online. You have to innovate the curriculum, teaching methods, even the way classes and activities are structured. Here we not only innovate at a technological level, we also do it in the design of study plans and alternative assessment methods. “
However, many are concerned about the impact distance learning has had on children by having to stay at home.
Universities have traditionally offered distance education, with several reporting an increase in demand during the pandemic.
Tariq Qureishy, founder and director of Xponential & Futurist sees that what was exceptional in the pandemic because of its novelty, has come to stay: “What used to take decades to do now happens in a matter of weeks: five hundred million people have connected to learn. E-learning is amazing. Technology is great, but it doesn’t replace human connection. As we learn more, we also need to connect on a human level in terms of relationships, empathy, love, compassion, trust. “
Dubai has long offered internet learning and innovation, but the pandemic accelerated its widespread spread. In this new era, we see as we move forward that students, parents, and educators are faced with many unknowns, ultimately, as always.