Tag: distance learning

Changing How We Teach In America, Starting Today

By Caleb Hicks, president, Lambda School.

Higher education is struggling to adapt to the current pandemic in unprecedented ways. Campuses across the country are shut down, students have evacuated their dorms, and instructors are scrambling to move their classrooms completely online.

It’s not just about homework and assignments — teachers are trying to engage students while re-imagining the entire classroom experiences in real-time. It begs the questions: What does the classroom of the future really look like? And how can parents, educators, and students best understand and prepare for this new reality?

It starts with the obvious: remove the barrier of physical location with remote learning options. Next is community. Foster student engagement and maintain support systems to ensure digital classrooms are still just as accessible as they are effective.

The classroom of the future will have to meet students where they are, building on basic remote operations with inventive, interactive curriculum and accessible financing options designed so that diverse communities can succeed in this new normal.

The classroom of the future is live, interactive, and entirely online. 

In 2016, nearly a third of all students took an online education course, and in the past two decades, the technology needed to offer full courses online has improved significantly.

Online learning offers flexibility and often complements in-person courses or lectures. For many students, however, remote learning is the only option. It opens up access to students who would otherwise be out of reach. In particular, students who are their family’s primary caretaker, those who live far from brick-and-mortar institutions, or those with disabilities are sometimes excluded or discouraged from enrolling in higher education without online options. Remote instruction, by design, brings more students into the fold.

Online instructors, though, have a challenge to meet: creating a learning experience that extends beyond a recorded lecture. To ensure student success long-term, student engagement and community building within a virtual classroom is critical. Impact can be easily lost behind a screen, but if you focus on live and collaborative instruction versus static recordings, students feel empowered and held accountable to play an active role in their experience.

Specifically, maintain smaller group settings, no matter how large the lectures are. Have students start and end days in breakout peer groups, where they can have deeper 1:1 discussions and opportunity for collaboration. One way we’ve utilized this at Lambda School is by using Zoom’s breakout function to seamlessly split students off into virtual small-groups during larger lectures. We also facilitate regional student meet-ups in person as well as peer-to-peer communication via Slack to maintain a sense of student body unity.

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Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 On Education

Responses from Sabari Raja, co-founder and CEO, Nepris.  

Because most schools have moved to virtual learning environments in response to COVID-19, what are the likely long-term outcomes of this?

Many school districts were unprepared for long-term remote instruction, and unexpected school closures have shed some light on the need for a robust virtual learning strategy that takes effectiveness and ease of use into account without sacrificing safety. Most districts have struggled with integrating live instruction and have so far only offered asynchronous modes of learning, which creates a huge gap and leaves many kids behind.

Technology solution providers now have an opportunity to step up and help bridge this gap. It’s clear that virtual learning will be the “new normal” moving forward. Technology becomes a must-have in supporting these new models of teaching and learning.

Will more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogether?

This experience should permanently shift the educational roadmap, with the continuation of remote learning in some capacity. Physical classrooms are not going to go away anytime soon, but small group instruction and blended models with some in-person classes, combined with remote instruction, could become the new reality. Maybe high school will start looking more like a college campus where students are not stuck to a classroom all day and all week long. They have more flexibility in what classes they take and when they take them.

The biggest issue with adapting to remote learning is classroom management, safety, and security. There is a fear of virtual classrooms due to this lack of control; however, most of these fears can be addressed with adequate teacher training. This summer is going to be a crucial time for districts to choose the right tools, train their teachers, and be prepared to continue distance learning in some capacity going forward. Adequate Teacher PD is going to be a determining factor in the success of adapting to distance learning.

In essence, what is the future of classroom-based learning and the technology that plays a role in providing instruction?

The future could be a hybrid of in-person instruction and technology-driven remote learning. We have an opportunity to use technology not just for teacher-led instruction but also to bring industry connections and real-world learning to students that traditionally had very limited access to people and places outside of their communities. Technology can also provide self-paced learning opportunities for students who don’t do very well in traditional classroom environments.

Virtual learning has been proven to offer the flexibility and adaptability for students who are balancing many things outside of school, whether it is socio-economic factors, the requirements of competitive sports, or different learning styles. These models and tools have been in practice before COVID-19 within a few groups, but now the vast majority have had to embrace these solutions very quickly.

At Nepris, our goal has been to use our expertise in virtual platforms to adapt quickly to provide distance learning tools for virtual classroom, real-world learning, and to support virtual summer events, such as internships and job shadows, while keeping in mind that successful teacher training is vital.

How Has Education and Virtual Learning Changed Because of the Pandemic?

Responses from Nader Qaimari, chief learning officer, ISACA.

Because most schools have moved to virtual learning environments in response to COVID-19, what are the likely long-term outcomes of this?

It’s important to distinguish between true distance or virtual learning and crisis virtual learning. Right now, yes, many organizations and schools have moved to doing everything virtually, yet we are not really where we need to be to say we’re truly virtual.

We are doing what we can, but not necessarily doing it correctly. I imagine that shortly after this crisis subsides, we will see a quick pendulum swing back to much more face-to-face interaction (as we all crave it) but then people will move to having serious discussions around what this means long-term. With my kids, for example, I am extremely interested in how we will measure the efficacy of distance learning. It’s not as easy to measure as parents who are working from home right now can’t monitor their children’s progress all day, like teachers can in a closed environment. More tools to facilitate that will be necessary, and more importantly, the adoption of those tools.

Will more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogether?

At a minimum, virtual learning will no longer be viewed as some elusive, experimental aspiration, but a true possibility – with limits. We are now a few weeks into a stay-at-home order for 80% of the population and I am pretty confident that if you ask most parents, they want their kids to go back to a physical classroom setting. The physical social interaction is key and the appreciation for teachers is at an all-time high. When you move to other areas of learning, however, like corporate learning, it seems that distance learning is a true possibility. It’s more convenient, more cost-effective and more efficient. As the organizations that deliver that content improve, and the technology improves, it doesn’t seem far-fetched to say that more corporate learning will continue to move to an online-only format.

I really think that it will not happen in our lifetime. There will be options to do that as an alternative, but I don’t think that will be the norm in the next few decades. Education does not move that fast, even after a crisis.

In essence, what is the future of classroom-based learning and the technology that plays a role in providing instruction?

The goal is to recognize each for the value it brings. The technology should facilitate instruction and make it more efficient. The teacher/instructor should personalize it and make it stick. I have never subscribed to the belief that teachers would get replaced with technology. That is thinking about it incorrectly. Technology can help teachers become better, though. By removing the manual work and freeing up time, teachers can do what they do best – connect with students, engage them, and make sure they understand. That is why the classroom will be around for a long time. We crave that social interaction.

Long-Term Effects of Education and Technology Because of COVID-19

Responses from Adam Garry, senior director of education strategy, Dell Technologies.

Because most schools have moved to virtual learning environments in response to COVID-19, what are the likely long-term outcomes of this?

A: A likely outcome is that schools will realize that virtual learning should be a component of every student’s learning journey, but fully online will not work for most.  In the rush to move online, many educators are learning that what they had to do in 14 days should really take months. The K–12 school systems that already solved for access and moved toward blended learning had a much easier time shifting. As a result, we will likely see a strong push for access and blended learning going into next school year. School systems and higher education institutions will build for the future with blended environments as a core component of design and this will allow for the educator and student to have a smooth transition into fully online learning whenever they may choose.

Also, moving forward the technology leader will be seen as an essential part of the leadership team, if they haven’t been already.  Administrators are realizing that learning simply can’t happen without the support of IT and, therefore, we should anticipate technology leaders in education will have a voice to support all decisions that impact the vision and the day-to-day work.  These leaders will need to look beyond just the devices and think about the infrastructure needed to support learning anytime, anywhere.

Will more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogether?

This is a question that came up on one of our recent CIO chats that we host and the answer is maybe.  I don’t think that it will be embraced as it is being designed right now because most school systems and institutions are rushing to get something created to support their learners and likely would do things differently with more time.

But I think we will see collaborative work happen across the education spectrum to create courses and curriculum that can be implemented in ways that take advantage of face-to-face and online learning. This will allow schools and universities to redefine how they use physical space and tailor more toward the actual learning.

For example, students working in a collaborative group on a project might need a smaller space in the library with a white board, laptops, internet connection, and a screen to share. While other students are in a lecture hall getting new information via a Socratic seminar. Also, we might rethink how we use projects and playlists to support personalized learning that defines mastery with application of learning, so all learners have an opportunity to show learning in unique ways.

There will likely always be an element of classroom learning at a physical school, however, that will likely look very different in coming years as pedagogy and technology continue to evolve in new ways to empower learners.

In-classroom learning remains essential until we can solve the issue of equity. We still have students and teachers that do not have the correct devices or broadband access for virtual learning. We’re seeing schools grappling with how to conduct special education or help ESL students with a balance of synchronous and asynchronous virtual learning.

Additionally, in-classroom learning provides additional social and societal benefits including school lunches, after school programs and a safe space for children in less ideal home situations.

It also remains essential because learners are social, and the physical building creates opportunities for collaboration and learning that wouldn’t be possible if we were all working in remote locations.

In essence, what is the future of classroom-based learning and the technology that plays a role in providing instruction?

I am not sure that the vision for the future has changed; I just think we have a new sense of urgency.  School systems and institutions are still moving toward a definition of personalized learning that gives students some voice and choice in the learning process.  This requires access to technology and the internet at home. If we can solve the inequities that exist today for our learners, then we will be able to shift to environments that provide true blended learning and remove time and space as the barriers.  Learners will be involved in competency-based models that allow them to learn at their own pace. The university will become a hub for life-long learning and students will move in and out based on short and long term goals that they set with an advisor. In the end, we will utilize technology as the platform to enable great innovation and shift the model of learning to meet the needs of all learners.

COVID-19 and Education: Long-Term Effects

Responses from Brian Galvin, chief academic officer, Varsity Tutors.

Will more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogether?

While we in ed tech have been thrilled to see students engaging with interactive, personalized content, the other side of the story – and likely the bigger story – is that everyone is realizing just how integral physical schools and teachers are to daily life. We’ve seen the importance of the meals they provide to at-risk students, the way that kids crave the socialization and recreation aspects of the school day, the sheer awe that parents have for teachers having had to walk a few miles in their shoes each day. I don’t think we’ll get to the end of this and be ready to replace physical schools anytime soon; if anything it seems like we’ll have a newfound appreciation for schools and teachers.

What I think will change are a few things: For one, distance learning for supplemental education will boom. Parents are seeing even the youngest kids fully engage in online reading and math programs, fully comfortable with the technology and as a Virtual School Day kindergarten reading teacher put it ‘when they get to talk in front of classmates on a webcam they feel like little celebrities on TV.’ We’ll see online summer and after school programs surge for educational enrichment, not just for remediation. A full day of summer school, for example, is a drag; an hour of reading a few mornings per week, however – with parents not having to drive across town to make it happen – is a recipe for turning summer slide into a summer acceleration.

We’ll also see more and more assignments move online to become personalized and adaptive. When kids receive assignments that adapt to their ability level to keep them challenged but not bored or overwhelmed, homework is more efficient and much less tedious.  When programs can remember which skills a student should see again in certain increments — and serve those skills up in small but significant doses – short-term memory becomes long-term mastery. Every ed tech company that has its act together is investing in personalized learning, in creating more content to allow for more adaptivity — when we get through this period we’ll find that much like World War II left us with a surplus of manufacturing capacity, COVID-19 will have left us with lots of personalized learning capacity for schools to tap into.

And we’ll see affordable, small-group personalized learning boom, too. At Varsity Tutors we’re watching classroom teachers flock to online teaching to fill their days and bolster their bank accounts — and they love it. And we’re seeing parents grateful for free online classes and adaptive lesson plans, but craving some personalized attention on particular learning objectives.

One response we’ve had to that is to create a small-group tutoring program, where parents can split the cost of one-on-one tutoring with other families to create really affordable small group sessions. And we’re working to help parents identify other families with learners looking for the same instruction at the same level so that we can not only pass along the savings, but organize meaningful, personalized instruction. That’s tough to do without a large pool of families each seeking out particular assistance so that there are matches — and great instructors — for each. But COVID-19 has created that critical mass, and what we’re seeing is that as people see the benefit, they’re eager to continue it through summer vacation, into the next school year, and beyond.

Schools — not to mention teachers — has so many benefits to our way of life that they’re not in danger of being wholesale replaced anytime soon. This era will certainly steer schools toward more and better technology usage in classrooms and for assignments, but when that first bell rings after quarantines are lifted, most students and parents will be thrilled to get back to normalcy.

What we’ll likely see, however, is a lot of schools develop distance learning plans for things like snow days or elective classes — if a school can’t afford to offer as many Advanced Placement classes as students might like, for example, distance learning has proven to be a viable way of aggregating a handful of students from each of a dozen or more schools and offering that class where it might not have been a possibility before.  Summer school might become more of an option that way, too — much like a college student might knock out a class like organic chemistry at a local community college over the summer to avoid a stressful semester, high schoolers may add to their transcript with one class each summer. We’ll see online education supplement the classic school routine, and add a lot of benefits to students who can take advantage of more options and modalities. But that bell is going to ring to start the 2020-21 school year and people are going to rejoice.

In essence, what is the future of classroom-based learning and the technology that plays a role in providing instruction?

There’s no doubt that 1) the world is having educational technology forced on it right now and 2) the vast majority of people are going to really like it, or at least really like certain portions of it. So this era will leave a legacy, to be sure. But while we’ve been talking about the flipped classroom and the completely online high school for years now, the research shows that the standard school experience is still more effective in most cases and we’re also seeing the societal benefits of in-person schools, too. So for the near and medium term, we’ll see technology enhance and supplement the traditional school experience – but not replace it.  Technology offers immense opportunities for personalization – whether adaptive assignments, small groups focused on similar ability bands, or diverse offerings to fit interests and abilities – and we’ll see school districts avail some of that potential and lots of parents tap into the supplemental education aspect of it, as well.

The Future of Online Learning

Responses from Adrian Ridner, CEO and co-founder, Study.com.

Adrian Ridner | CEO and Co-founder of Study.comWill more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? 

Absolutely. It’s paving the way out of necessity. This situation forced schools and districts to consider how technology can work hand in hand with teachers. I don’t think online learning will replace the in-person, teacher-student relationship, but we are seeing how it can extend learning beyond the classroom. Stress-testing system capabilities for the future including the infrastructure and specifics like Single Sign On are now fully utilized and tested – creating habits of how to evolve learning moving forward.

If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogther?

We won’t see physical classrooms disappear, but a blend of synchronous and asynchronous learning will take place. I’ve heard from districts that say online learning is really helping the students blend the two as students can do things now like rewind their teacher to hear a specific thought again. Also, I think you will see platforms expand their accessibility by offering multiple modalities. For example, Study.com is a mobile-first platform, but also provides more traditional learning tools such as downloadable worksheets and transcripts. Video-based online learning will continue to expand, whether that is a web conferencing tool such as Zoom that allows teachers to virtually interact with students or curriculum that is packaged into engaging video lessons.

I don’t believe online learning will completely take over in-class learning, but it will continue to become a vital part of how students learn. I think this current situation challenged schools and districts to not only provide short-term solutions for virtual learning environments, but to consider how to implement a hybrid classroom approach utilizing technology and human interaction. The mass adoption that has been enabled by this situation will break down barriers and make schools less apprehensive to adopt technologies moving forward – something that prior to this had been a slow moving process.

These new ways of learning are creating access, personalization of learning and new technology to help teachers and parents, creating opportunity to re-imagine the classroom learning and give teachers more tools in the tool kit. Technology can really bring lessons to life through video-based learning. This pandemic has shown that it’s time to re-imagine what you can do with a physical classroom.

In essence, what is the future of classroom-based learning and the technology that plays a role in providing instruction?

The future will be a lot of mix and matching of the best of both worlds. There are ways of learning and discussions that are better designed for in the classroom, but now everybody has more learning technology to fuel lessons taught in the classroom. For example, history lessons in a video format are much easier to visualize and become stickier for the learner than a textbook or lecture.

There are also a lot of considerations including equity, quality, flexibility and adaptability. Fourteen percent of households with school-aged children do not have access to the internet, and creating technology, such as a mobile-first platform that can be accessible to these families will be paramount. This situation has forced the education industry to work on closing the equity gap – providing 1:1 student to device access.

Virtual Learning Environments In Response To COVID-19

Vikram Savkar

Responses from Vikram Savkar,  vice president and general manager, medical segment, Wolters Kluwer’s Health Learning, Research, and Practice business.

Because most schools have moved to virtual learning environments in response to COVID-19, what are the likely long-term outcomes of this?

Time in the classroom, small group interactions, labs, and so on will always remain an important part of the medical school experience. But medical school faculty have long employed an online component to their classes by capturing their lectures and posting them online and recording narrated PowerPoints for students to consult. And the current crisis is significantly expanding the demand for digital tools.  Many students left campus in such a hurry that they did not take textbooks home with them. As a result, we have had many schools that had not already subscribed to our digital learning tools inquire about how they can quickly get access. Wolters Kluwer responded by offering 90-day free access to these collections to help medical schools and students navigate through unprecedented and painful disruptions.

What faculty and students alike are discovering during this disruption, out of necessity, is that online medical education can be surprisingly effective. They are realizing that illustrated textbooks, quizzes and exams, medical board preparation, case studies and so on are all available through online tools, and in many cases these tools can open up new educational benefits.

Some products, for instance, allow instructors to assess how students are performing, and to zero in on students who may be struggling to grasp a subject, so that quick remediation can be employed. Even anatomy classes – which one might suppose could not possibly be virtualized – are being transitioned rapidly during the disruption to powerful visualization digital tools, and the instructors we are speaking to are surprised and delighted by how effective they can be.

When this disruption is past, and med students return to their classrooms in the fall, I doubt classrooms will fully return to “the way things were.”  My assumption is that, in the wake of COVID-19, medical schools will have begun a path of willing transition toward robust integration of digital learning tools into the curriculum, a path that will play out over several years but constantly accelerate.

Will more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogether?

The medical school curriculum has already undergone significant changes in recent years, incorporating team-based activities, problem-based learning and a flipped classroom approach. And as mentioned above, I do envision that uptake of online tools will now advance gradually beyond online lecture and narrated PowerPoint to encompass digital textbooks, assessment solutions, test prep tools, visualization platforms and so on, all of which will push some of the basal learning elements of medical school out of the classrooms and into the students’ private study time.

This transition will enable time in the classroom to be used even more than today as a forum for discussion and assessment, and a place to learn by doing in order facilitate mastery of advanced content. It may even free up more time for early-stage students to get practical, hands-on experience with patients, which is an increasing area of focus across the medical school community.  But all of this simply represents an evolution toward balancing the timeless strengths of classroom education (direct contact with expert instructors, peer learning and so on) with the benefits of digital tools (personalization, self-paced learning, immersive study).

As for pure distance learning, that is a more complicated question. I do think most medical schools will set up digital webcasting capabilities moving forward, so that if there are further disruptions and periods of social distancing, they will be able to rapidly and effectively transition classes to a distance mode. But I don’t envision many medical schools making a significant move toward pure distance education in the near future except during periods of massive disruption like the one we are experiencing now.  As I’ll cover in more detail below, the classroom and campus aspect of the medical school experience is core to what medical students learn and how they learn.

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Long-Term Effects of Education Because of Coronavirus

Jon Roepke - Director of Product Management - Belkin International ...Responses from Jon Roepke, director of product management, Belkin International, Inc.

Because most schools have moved to virtual learning environments in response to COVID-19, what are the likely long-term outcomes of this?

The impacts from COVID-19 are yet to be fully understood. Among them, we are already experiencing changes to emergency planning protocols and training, planning for students, families tackling challenges to distance and online learning.

Although there are promising shifts toward experimental virtual learning efforts, the pandemic is forcing quick adoption of virtual learning on a wide scale out of sheer necessity. It’s one massive experiment where we’ll see the ways it can work, and the ways it doesn’t such as ensuring students actually show up to (virtual) class! One thing is for certain, students are going to become Zoom experts.

Another related outcome that we see signs of is a new wave of technology innovations and services catering to an always-on-virtual learning environment. Investors and VCs are re-evaluating where to put their money in this current climate and are adjusting investments to companies addressing core infrastructure issues. Education definitely fits that bill.

Will more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogether?

We’ve ramping up distance learning adoption over the past decade. Challenges are largely tied to income and technology disparity where private or charter schools are able to more readily support this model. While distance learning could bring new and engaging ways to conduct a classroom, it also opens up broader questions about what will replace in-person social activities, virtual group projects, and more. Socialization is still an important part of growing up and education.

What’s next for education?

Over time, we will likely move to a hybrid mode. In-classroom learning serves a multitude of purposes that include crucial learning but also a place for kids to socialize with other children. If everything moves virtual and online it would still require some sort of supervision depending on the age group. There are successful virtual classroom models that work with smaller groups of students, resembling an alternate type of home schooling.

In essence, what is the future of classroom-based learning and the technology that plays a role in providing instruction?

The future has to be interactive. We’re already seeing momentum in edutainment with VR and AR experimental learning. We expect this to increase and have heard from teachers all across the country who are very excited about the educational potential these technologies can provide. No longer are students and their imaginations limited by what’s in the textbook – why read about the pyramids when you can be transported in front of them for a virtual field trip? VR headsets and gear will become as common as Chromebooks and tablets already are in the classroom.

Distance Learning In the Era of COVID-19

Learn, School, Student, MathematicsResponse from David Wills, educational consultant, www.ielts-teaching.com.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak first garnered attention in January 2020, the world has undergone immense changes, with an increasing reliance upon software such as Skype and Zoom affecting many industries. Education is one of those fields, and many are asking – quite understandably – whether this will become the new normal, or whether it is just a quaint fad.

All around the world, students of all ages are being forced to take to the digital classroom as their schools are temporarily closed to prevent the further spread of the disease. It has become suddenly apparent that it is possible to have a single teacher in a remote location teaching students scattered across vast geographical areas. This raises of the question of whether – once the COVID-19 crisis finally ends – there is any need to go back to traditional modes of education or communication.

Certainly, it is understandable that many might now think this. COVID-19 has forced us to reconsider many aspects of our lives and rely increasingly upon the internet and other modern technologies. We are left to wonder what will happen when this is all over – will things go back to normal, or will we be forever shaped by this pandemic?

As millions of students around the world begin learning online, people are asking whether this will become the standard way of learning. It is a reasonable assumption. After all, the cost and convenience of learning via Skype or Zoom is a massive boost over more old-fashioned approaches. But don’t go thinking that in-class learning has gone the way of the dinosaur just yet. We are a long way from being ready for that sort of huge societal shift.

Even if it were possible to conduct all classes via the internet, one still wonders whether it would actually be desirable. Say every high school and university on Earth was able to immediately convert their curricula to be taught entirely online … Would parents, students, or teachers find this to be at all beneficial? From a cost standpoint, yes, but from every other standpoint, no.

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Long-Term Effect of COVID-19 On Education and Technology

Responses from Stewart Elliot, CEO, Modo Labs.

Because most schools have moved to virtual learning environments in response to COVID-19, what are the likely long-term outcomes of this?

There will be many long-tail outcomes of moving so much online so quickly.

We’ve noticed two. One is the urgent need schools have to keep their community informed and connected in real-time and the need for one source of truth. There are many communication channels, and messaging can quickly become fragmented.

They need to quickly distribute, get quality information directly into the hands of students, staff and community members with no delay and no technology hurdles. The app becomes the hub for everything in a distributed model. Schools are learning now that if they don’t have the central campus experience in an app, they need one. They need a very strong communications system in place for mobile devices, systems that use approved, branded, established applications.

The second is related. No matter how residential a campus was, everything is distributed now. Schools have academic, community and social needs they never imagined they’d have. With school professionals and students spread around the world, being able to make that feel like one unit still, in a way that reaches everyone but does not overwhelm anyone is very important. That lesson is not going to fade either – the need to be able to have one global community no matter where they are.

Will more schools embrace distance learning once we’re beyond the pandemic? If so, what will that look like? Will some educational entities move beyond physical classrooms altogether?

Distance learning will continue and the campus app will be the cornerstone of learning. Connecting students to the information they need to be successful will continue and it will be more important than ever, as we are seeing now. Keeping students motivated requires real-time dashboards and personalized communications that will automatically nudge them to stay on track academically. Online learning will surely be accelerated post-CV-19 and there will likely be a deeper integration of tools that enable a modern, asynchronous approach to online learning. The mobile app—not the website or LMS—will be the critical connection of systems.

Online learning tools will change in that they need out-of-the box functionality and customization options, along with the ability to easily integrate with learning management systems, enrollment, and finance systems. We will see the app as the bridge between academic and campus life. A good app is as useful off campus as it is on campus.

Could in-classroom learning go the way of the dinosaur or is that panic-stricken hype?

It is too early to forecast that outcome, but I will say that we value community and the experience of being on a college campus. An app can build some of that campus experience digitally, and we have examples of those at Penn State and the University of Central Florida and a hundred other campuses.

But college is a life experience, and learning is still a human experience that we all crave. It is probably a safe assumption that in-classroom learning will return because of the genuine benefits to face-to-face engagement and team collaboration.

In essence, what is the future of classroom-based learning and the technology that plays a role in providing instruction?

We think things will become more connected, more personalized, and generally faster and more efficient. That has been the path of technology generally and we’ve seen it in education too. Soon, not only will class schedules and dining menus be customized for you, your learning will be, also – tailored based on your interests and past performance.

You’ll be able to study on your phone, take a test on your phone, ask professors or classmates questions and find out where to park for the basketball game, all in the same place, all in your unified experience. That’s where we are headed. Some campuses are pretty much there already.