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How Covid-19 has forever changed the online learning landscape

Besides the overuse of the word “unprecedented”, there have been quite a few changes that impact us all, especially in the Educational space. In February, when countries across the world began to contemplate the risk an unknown virus posed to their societies, some began planning while others wrote off the possibility of any serious damage. In March, when schools began to close, many still told themselves that their children or themselves would only be out of the classroom for a week, two weeks tops. Many students never went back, and the 2019-2020 school year ended unspectacularly, with shoddy virtual instruction, substandard engagement, and severe repercussions being the norm. Now, at the end of July, it appears that many won’t go back for the upcoming school year in many parts of the world. In the US, students are poised to continue distance learning in some regions until a vaccine becomes available – which, realistically, has a very unclear timeline for delivery that’s likely longer than the current optimism suggests.


What students, families, schools, and governments all need to realize is that Covid-19 isn’t going away, and planning as if it wasn’t going away is in their best interest. Focusing on the latest developments, the upticks in cases, and the ever-changing school and governmental plans for reopening is maddening. And, for our students, it obscures what’s most important: Their development and well-being. Covid-19 is here to stay and will continue to run our lives in substantive ways. The pandemic has altered how learning happens because of the necessity for learning to continue, and many think some of the changes could go on well past the arrival of a vaccine. Our best advice for students and families is to treat these changes as if they’re permanent. Virtual classroom and online tutoring are the norm for now. Embrace them, and get the most out of the education you can in the present reality.


What are some of the ways Covid-19 has forever changed the learning landscape? 


Students – at varying levels of ability, privilege, and maturity – are being forced to think for themselves in ways even many high schoolers haven’t fully embraced as virtual classrooms struggle to find their rhythm. There’s been a profound effect on the mental health of students, yearning for the camaraderie of their peers and trying their best to replicate it through virtual classroom instruction and other methods for connecting with those their age. Some families – in light of their school’s education leaving them wanting – have assigned additional work for their children through sites such as Khan Academy. Some are also seeking to replicate the classrooms of last year by grouping their children in ‘pods’ – groups of families with pacts to only see each other. Online learning via virtual tutoring has also become a prominent option to give your student the education they deserve in this uncertain time.


College students across the globe are grappling with being in the best years of their lives and trying to gauge what the correct level of carefulness is to both meet their personal needs and to stay safe. Bars and young people have been the sources of major outbreaks, and universities are assuming in most instances that enough of their students will remain unsafe. Online instruction is becoming the norm at many universities, while some are requiring at least one in-person class to legitimize their excessive price tags. College students in this environment are being forced to become more independent or face falling behind.