The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in everyone’s life. There is no one in the world who has remained untouched by the effects of the virus. Some have lost their job; some have lost their family and friends. Children across the world have lost the school-going experience. However, it may not be all bad. After all, every cloud has a silver lining. Thus, COVID-19 has a positive impact on education as well.
Rise of blended learning methods
The pandemic forced educators across schools, colleges, and universities to adopt a blended mode of learning. It is a big possibility that face to face delivery along with online modules will become ‘the new normal’. Initiatives like this are vital.
This is, however, not without challenges. Teachers have had to quickly adapt to technology and be trained in the same so that they are equipped to deal with this method of learning. This may well become a basic requirement for all teachers in the near future. Blended learning may also open up avenues for curriculum development and pedagogy facilitated by the new way of delivery and assessment of learning outcomes being adopted. This can also be seen as an opportunity for curriculum designers to improve upon the quality of the learning material.
Mental health of children
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health in a way no event before this ever did. Human beings are social animals and being deprived of social interaction for such a long period of time has taken its toll on many. Children are among the worst affected in this regard. Not being able to go to school or the playground, there have been significant changes in their behaviour. This has led many parents to become concerned over their child’s mental health and well-being. In a way, this is a welcome change from the focus on pure academic advancement.
All-round development over report cards
It is important to keep children engaged in various activities in the absence of being able to go out. Baking, drawing, painting, and gardening are some of the skills that children have picked up in the pandemic. All of these contribute to the overall development of children and thus open up the path to non-traditional curriculum.
At the same time, it is important to understand that many children do not access to such opportunities. Due to this, returning to school is important for them.
Change in expectations
In India, the pandemic forced an event that was possibly unthinkable before—cancellation of the Board exams for 12th and 10th standards. Changes like this will force the educators and policymakers to rethink the necessity of assessments in the traditional mode of learning.
The advent of blended learning and unforeseen circumstances may lead to development of curriculum which focuses not just on academics but also on resilience, critical thinking, leadership, courage, and decision-making.
Learning management systems: A booming industry
Before the pandemic, companies that were developing learning management systems were thought to be a niche as not too much mainstream learning was happening online. Its scope was mainly limited to professional learning or those who had greater access financially. The stay-at-home imposed by COVID has changed all this.
Learning management systems can potentially now grow at a very fast pace. Those companies in the sector which have already strengthened their base over a period of time will be at an advantage. At the same time, new players may arrive and even out the playing field a little. This might make e-learning more affordable. This is yet another positive impact on education as well as industry.
Collaboration: Paving the way for a positive impact on education
Teaching and learning do not need to be compartmentalized and restrictive any longer. The pandemic has presented the opportunity for collaborations between students and teachers regardless of geography, socio-economic background, or any other factors.
Is there a positive impact on education?
As per this article by the World Bank, the pandemic will be leaving a long-term negative impact on education. However, as illustrated above, there can be a significant positive impact as well.
As the human race, we can make the best out of the situation. We can innovate and improve the existing pedagogy.