Covid-19: The impact on digital learning trends
Covid-19 presented unprecedented challenges to countries throughout the world. With the need for “social distancing” imposed in the space of weeks, schools and education providers worldwide had to find ways to deliver most of their learning activities online.
The demand for online learning for primary, secondary and university students and training has accelerated, but has this changed the way we learn and how education is delivered for good?
There’s no doubt online learning was already increasing pre-Covid-19. Over recent years, here at Alternative View Studios, we have seen changes in digital learning trends and a rise in requests for education-based animation, video and games content.
One example is a series of games we created for Cambridge University Press’s (CUP) Cambridge One platform, which offers easy access to teaching and curriculum-based learning materials. The customisable HTML5 game templates are easily edited and include various game types that can be adapted to a wide range of learning outcomes and age groups.
Kerboodle is Oxford University Press’s (OUP) online teaching, learning and assessment service that works alongside student’s course textbooks. They seamlessly integrate quality digital resources into lessons. As with all Kerboodle resources, the KS3 history animations we developed for OUP can be accessed both in school and at home – encouraging remote learning.
What about digital learning in groups?
Shared learning experiences are indeed beneficial to many students. Throughout the pandemic, in attempts to maintain curriculum delivery within group learning environments, teachers’ classrooms relocated to living rooms and kitchens. Staff embraced various online teaching tools and methods: Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, to name a few. However, vast numbers of UK children and young people found themselves without access to digital devices and technology to complete their homeschooling.
This situation is not unique to the UK. Even in the wealthiest EU countries, social and digital inequalities persist. Beyond Europe, some 50% of people (more than 600 million individuals) in India don’t have access to the internet, and in many African countries, the percentage is much higher. For these millions of people, remote working or education is little more than a fantasy. In India, classes have been delivered by a loudspeaker in some rural areas*.
Mobile learning opportunities
In developing countries, mobile presents huge learning opportunities to connect with communities. At the end of 2019, 477 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa subscribed to mobile services, accounting for 45% of the population. The region’s mobile market will reach several significant milestones over the next five years: half a billion mobile subscribers in 2021, 1 billion mobile connections in 2024, and 50% subscriber penetration by 2025**.
The increase in mobile users in Sub-Saharan Africa means educational content can be more easily accessed by members of rural communities.
Using animation for health education and training
Medical Aid Films (MAF) uses innovative media and digital channels – including mobile – to transform women’s and children’s health and well-being around the world. We have been creating training animations for MAF for fourteen years. This most recent project – supported by the British Medical Association – provides valuable information on Covid-19 to communities in the UK.
The animation shares important information on medical rights, protection and self-care strategies during this time of great uncertainty. One of the many benefits of animations is the option for the content to be translated into different languages. As well as English, the film is translated into three languages with subtitles (Punjabi, Urdu, and Arabic).
Another practical approach to digital learning is using interactive infographics; they allow multiple layers of data to be displayed in a visually engaging way. Pre-Covid-19, we created an animation and two interactive infographics for the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Disease Outbreaks in Low and Middle-Income Countries course for people working in or studying global health. The Disease Outbreaks course is available for free on the FutureLearn*** platform.
The long-term outlook and digital learning trends for online learning were undoubtedly accelerated by Covid-19. But the future doesn’t have to be about PowerPoints accompanied by voice-overs or pre-recorded classes. Professional, effective and engaging learning tools and resources – for individual and group learning – can be created quickly and without breaking your budget.
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***As well as offering MOOCs (massive open online courses, run entirely online, with multiple numbers of people learning at the same time), FutureLearn hosts academically and professionally accredited programmes and entire online degrees.
Want to find out more?
We’ve been doing this for 20 years, working with international clients including BBC, Cambridge University Press, News UK, Medical Aid Films and Friend. Your creative projects will be in good hands with Alternative View Studios.