The pandemic has turned the whole world upside down and brought incredible changes in all the life spheres. People faced the need to adjust their lives to new realities last spring and accepted new rules of the game. Education couldn’t stay aside and wait when everything would get back to normal again because nobody could say for sure whether it would ever happen at all. Thus, when academic institutions were forced to shut down last year, they tried to quickly switch to remote learning, doing their best to adopt modern technologies and digital capabilities. The more time passes, the better people understand that it is still unclear whether we can live the life we had before the pandemic. And since people were talking about the drawbacks of the traditional education model and its inability to meet the modern life pace requirements long before all these events, it was a matter of time when the ice would start breaking up. The pandemic has just become a trigger of huge changes, after which there is no going back.
If you compare education with many other industries, you will see that this sphere trails far behind in terms of the development and involvement of digital technologies. Before the pandemic, only a small part of US college students tried their hand at e-learning. In contrast, others preferred to adhere to the traditional academic model that suggests listening to campus lectures. Thus, when the whole world was forced to stay home on lockdown, educational institutions couldn’t but went online since there was no way out. Statistics showed that this economic sector got tremendous edtech investment, about $4,6 billion at the beginning of the pandemic. Thus, the industry has finally got a financial boost that can help it keep up with other life spheres.
Usage of machine learning and AI
Online learning became pretty common last year, but most academic institutions organized only live Zoom classes that don’t differ much from video conferencing designed in the late 1990s. However, since education has turned into a multi-million market, many companies have started working on creating advanced platforms and technologies based on AI, cloud computing, etc. Colleges have followed the example of platforms that use machine learning to interact with their learners.
While people talked about the possible usage of AI technology for some educational purposes back in the day, it has already become a reality today. They have started using AI for the optimization of student services and customer support. Following the writing services, colleges have started applying mixed and completely AI-based chatbots to answer the most common questions. All these innovations help students access up-to-date info about admission, enrollment, and course due dates. In other words, colleges have taken a big leap into the future, so it is not surprising that the number of academic institutions that switch to online learning grows with each month.
Most colleges didn’t want to reject time-tested ways to deal with educational records and transcripts. Still, the last changes have made the shift to digital credentials that make it possible to see the whole picture of someone’s academic performance, including achievements, skills, and competency. In general, the modern market forces colleges to broaden their horizons and not treat a bachelor’s degree as their key product but replace it with cheaper digital options aimed at preparing skillful specialists.
Anyway, now, people have to constantly work on their personal and professional development to keep up with the labor market trends and requirements. Thus, colleges are aimed at moving away from a one-off degree to constant upskilling. So, not only students type the search query “write an essay for me” but workers from different spheres throughout life when they need to improve their skills and officially upgrade qualification. They hope that such an approach will help millions of people who cannot climb a career ladder and get higher-paid jobs only because they lack this notorious bachelor’s degree.
Adding new online programs
Colleges have coped with mental stumbling blocks that online education is something weird and ineffective. After the end of a so-called test run last year, a bigger number of academic institutions have started offering diverse online programs. Shifting to online education allows colleges to broaden their influence and attract students who cannot physically attend campus for various reasons. Thus, they don’t need to lure local students and rely on their attendance only. And the unstable epidemiological situation encourages colleges to pay more attention to online programs and their convenience for students. They say that even if everything gets back to normal to some degree and colleges reopen in the fall, the chances are high that they will adhere to the blended learning model.
Experts claim that most students will make online education their first choice since many have become satisfied with the results obtained and the advantages e-learning has provided them with.