The COVID-19 pandemic has affected various parts of global economies and sectors. Some have experienced devastating effects and cease to exist. Although the pandemic has persisted for some time, society has transformed drastically and conformed to new systems. The uncertainty towards the ultimate effects of the pandemic affects social orientations. Particularly, education sectors, from function effectively (Kang, 2021 (The COVID-19 Pandemic).
As a result, developments and innovations on digital fronts improve access to educational resources despite problems arising. COVID-19 reshaped society but exposed the level of stakeholder involvement in education. Consequently, inequality, and conditions of learning facilities such as classrooms. Through distance learning, e-learning, and changing stakeholder roles, digital transformation continues to shape learning.
Digital Transformation (The COVID-19 Pandemic)
Digital transformation encompasses distance education and education technologies. Before the pandemic began, American schools were already contemplating shifting to e-learning platforms and adopting new education structures and techniques. As a result, distance education brought about by school closures compelled education stakeholders. More so, to explore and implement new learning systems (Kang, 2021).
Although distance learning presents some benefits to educators and learners, it exhibits shortcomings. Therefore, learning institutions should embrace digital transformations compounded by internet-based learning involving online courses and online interactive sessions (The COVID-19 Pandemic).
Distance Learning and E-Learning Impacts
Distance learning refers to learning away from educational centres, while e-learning defines electronic tools that facilitate remote learning activities. Before COVID-19 ravaged global educational systems, interaction among students and teachers was a regular norm (Kang, 2021). However, the pandemic has brought about a new trend, school by screen.
This approach towards learning has been necessitated because students can access learning materials and content through computer devices and internet-based resources. In the US, remote learning emerged after schools remained closed due to high infection rates and increasing COVID-19 case. Moreover, this trend seems not to end anytime soon. The benefit of this approach is that it meets the diverse needs of students and educators and increases access to less common courses.
As much as remote learning remains adopted broadly, connections at home becomes possible. Connectedness between the vast majority of students stays necessitated through electronic tools and devices and made possible by connection to millions of devices and linked hotspots(The COVID-19 Pandemic).
At the end of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had done significant damage to global economies, and education systems, and uncertainty of remote learning became a concern: would it persist? (“3 ways the coronavirus pandemic could reshape education”, 2021). Government support through funding and reliefs has since boosted learning, particularly e-learning platforms and resources, and no major disruptions have occurred.
Expansion and Development of Technologies
In most parts of the world, schools are finding new learning approaches to improve the quality of education. This is because the quality of learning is greatly determined by the level of digital access by educator and student. In the US, access to learning technologies has allowed education stakeholders to partner across divides to improve learning amid the pandemic (Kang, 2021).
In contrast, developing countries experience low-level development in terms of resource access and use; students are dependent on class lessons and assignments that can only be accessed through email and WhatsApp. Since the pandemic began and schools closed in March 2020, education has witnessed increased textbook digitization and utilization of IT devices and teaching materials. EdTechs, including learning management systems (LMS) and artificial intelligence-based tools, has been adopted widely.
COVID-19 Concerns in Education
The COVID-19 pandemic caused some unfavourable conditions in the education sector. Many learners and educators were directly and indirectly affected by prolonged school closures and lack of access to educational materials. Compared to traditional learning, distance and digital learning exhibit subtle shortcomings pertinent to educational inequality. In the US, racism, ethnicity, and marginalization prevent some groups from accessing learning platforms compared to others (“3 ways the coronavirus pandemic could reshape education”, 2021).
These disparities often arise from poor motivation management whereby students are not encouraged to learn, and neither do they receive adequate support from institutions. Moreover, negative influences of digital technologies have exposed learners to foreign online content, most of which erode the character and encourage unethical behaviour(The COVID-19 Pandemic).
Public-Private Educational Partnerships
Stakeholders in the education sector include professionals, publishers, telecom network operators, technology providers, and governments. The onset of COVID-19 has changed the way of doing things, especially utilizing digital platforms to solve learning and business problems (“3 ways the coronavirus pandemic could reshape education”, 2021).
Future projections signal a shift towards digital technologies through partnerships with service and financial providers in other fields. In China, the ministry of education partnered with the ministry of industry and Information Technology to develop a new cloud-based online learning and broadcasting platform. As a result, upgrades to education infrastructure have improved as well as accessibility to learning resources.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it has presented devastating effects for economies and institutions at equal measures. Most changes in the education sector focus on digital transformation and its tenets of distance learning and associated technologies such as computers and internet-based resources. However, challenges have been eminent in pulling back efforts to attain optimal success. Therefore, resilience in educational systems is necessitated.
3 ways the coronavirus pandemic could reshape education. (2021). Retrieved 19 May 2021, from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/03/3-ways-coronavirus-is-reshaping-education-and-what-changes-might-be-here-to-stay/
Kang, B. (2021). How the COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the education service. The Future of Service Post-COVID-19 Pandemic, Volume 1, 15. doi: 10.1007/978-981-33-4126-5_2