The world is undergoing massive shifts in how we operate. Several factors are contributing to this, not least of all our current situation of being stuck in our homes.
Obviously, this has a significant effect on how we do work. In the educational field, it is not a situation which is particularly unique, nor should it bring any significant number of new challenges as distance learning is already established as a common mode of education. The option for its usage should come as no surprise to educational institutions.
This is not to say traditional modes of education should be made completely obsolete and replaced by more modern methods.
There is still space for traditional methods, and in many cases, they are still preferable methods desired by many students as well as teachers/lecturers. The need to be flexible and to be able to adapt is necessary, however, for any educational institution to survive in a world that is increasingly reflexive to modern technology, institutions need to investigate and incorporate distance learning into their curricula.
This is easily done with mobile learning where education can be transmitted and received via devices connected to the internet. It is not enough to rely on traditional methods of instruction. Students (and parents of students) will seek education facilities that can offer more.
The most apparent addition is the shift from a physical to a non-physical space for learner-to-facilitator/lecturer contact.
Employers and/or Managers of individuals undergoing training will need to take this into account when realising the dynamic. A number of factors need to be considered for implementation, such as Platforms (computer programmes) need to be selected and optimised for specific contexts, teachers/facilitators need to be trained to use these platforms, students/learners need to be able to access the virtual classrooms, and staff are required who can provide technical support to both the end-user. Importantly, this doesn't mean an overhaul of the entire business.
Employees need not worry about losing their jobs. Teachers/Facilitators who are used to teaching in traditional ways do not need to be replaced but simply retrained in order to teach via a different platform. There is also an increasing number of applications (apps) and bodies of information that are available to streamline the process of digital transformation.
Of course, as with all enterprises, there is also the consideration of budgets to consider. As noted in the realm of education, mobile learning is cost-effective (for both the learner and the education institution) and has the potential to create more profit than traditional methods. More detail has been provided in a previous opinion-pieces titled: Support for Mobile Learning in South Africa and Internet Access and related Challenges for Mobile Learning in South Africa
The COVID-19 lockdown continues to test the resilience of our businesses and our society. We are unclear know how long the lockdown will last, however, if we are to find success in this time, we have to embrace digital options. Nowhere is this more important than in the field of education. Distance learning in the form of mobile learning is evolving from an interesting option into an imperative.
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