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Bridging the gap between online learning and traditional education

2 Mar 2021 | Lesson Desk Team3 min read

The growth of new and advanced technologies and their impact on the delivery of education has caused a renewed national interest in online learning. The norm for centuries was a traditional face-to-face classroom with an educator directing the lesson and had students who, in turn, participate at the times and manner prescribed by the teacher. Whilst education has remained broadly the same for hundreds of years, technological advances in communication and delivery began to provide new opportunities in the education sphere and have ultimately become an essential part of everyday and classroom life.

One of the very first technological advances that has tremendously impacted education was the invention of the printing press. This allowed for mass duplication of information in the form of learning material, textbooks and reading books. Additionally, advances in communication technology such as the telegraph, telephone, radio, and film changed the education landscape even further. The quickening pace of technological innovation has paved the way for many new forms of learning to take place at a distance, away from the classroom or in a completely bespoke approach.

Educational technology has shown to reinforce the learning process due to its nature of increasing flexibility, easy access to expertise, promotion of learner accountability and collaborative learning, as well as how it can facilitate those students who cannot meet face-to-face. Yet, in many schools, we can see a clear gap between different beliefs regarding academic deliverance and what today’s education model should look like. While many educators have indicated that they use digital learning tools on a daily basis as a means to teach, other educational institutions have been hesitant to jump on board and might find it to be slightly inaccessible. This is due to educators feeling more confident in doing things the old-fashioned way as well as persisting opinions on how progressive approaches to learning is at odds with traditional education, how technology dilutes the educational process, and how it is perceived as a distraction during the learning process.

However, the world has gone digital, and technology plays a major role in learners’ everyday lives. With that being said, it’s time to bring them as well as their educators closer to technology, one step at a time. By doing so, students can also learn the basics of using technology in an advantageous way to elevate their learning experience while learning how to be good digital citizens early. So how can we make sure predominantly traditional schools, educators and learners are not left behind with the evolution of learning?

Instead of having schools entirely transition into a fully-fledged digital institution, a small-stepping, blended-learning approach is the best way forward. A number of studies have shown that the blended approach to learning’s academic delivery really captures the best of every possible learning method and, as such, is an effective way of active learning for students.

For learners, this can be done through the use of an increase in digital assessments. Having examination prep such as mock papers take place online and even implementing a more digital-based assignment and homework model is a great way to gradually and successfully bring technology into classrooms. Computer studies or subjects are an extraordinary way to also swiftly implement digital learning technologies.

Educators can also jump on the technology train and alleviate the time-consuming task of marking their students’ tests, assessments and exams with automated digital marking. Once schooling institutions become comfortable with these small but impactful technological additions, they should implement more digital learning tools to not only elevate the students’ learning experience but the educators’ teaching experience as well.

It is also imperative to take into account educators’, learners’ and schooling institutions’ socioeconomic backgrounds as this might bring about various barriers when trying to incorporate digital learning technologies into schools. While there is a gap between various teaching methods and students’ needs, there is often enough affordable, secure and inclusively-beneficial ways to upgrade schools’ traditional learning models.

For those learners who do not have access to a laptop or mobile device, schools should look into making computers or tablets accessible after core hours by placing them in their school library or computer rooms. If there are educators that are found to be struggling with the digital element of teaching or who are computer illiterate, then getting them upskilled should be the first priority. This way, learners will receive good quality education from teachers who have overcome the same digital challenges they will encounter. Funding to implement educational technologies has also shown to be a common concern for traditional schools. However, by looking into budget-friendly online learning platforms or forms of financial support such as government grants and funding, schools can easily grab opportunities to get their learners and educators on board.

Lesson Desk offers schools, universities, colleges, and tutors affordable, accessible, and engaging digital learning solutions for all schools to integrate into their current education model. Download our brochure for more information on our learning platforms or visit our website to learn more about our full range of learning solutions.