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COVID-19 and the Shift to Online Education

In the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the world has seen a massive amount of change - some good and some bad.

Online education - Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

For instance, the U.S. labor market has experienced some of its most severe repercussions since the Great Depression. With businesses all over the country forced to shut their doors, millions of Americans had to file unemployment claims and many started seeking alternative ways to make money in lockdown. COVID-19 has also led to a significant shift in the education sector. Seeing as schools needed to close their doors to comply with social distancing and lockdown requirements, there has been a boom in online education.

From virtual tutoring to video conferencing tools to online learning software, there has been an uptick in the use of various online learning platforms since the pandemic began. The growth in the online education industry is not expected to slow anytime soon; in fact, the overall market for online education is projected to reach $350 billion by 2025. Evidently, this sector is expected to present a great deal of opportunity.

This global transition to online learning has come with its fair share of challenges for both educators and students. Teachers are facing the additional burden of having to incorporate technology in their instruction, a skill that is not widely possessed. Other hurdles for both teachers and students include a lack of internet access and poor student-parent readiness for the technological requirements associated with online learning. Research shows that blended learning – a combination of online and face-to-face instruction – is only an effective learning method if both students and teachers have adequate skill and experience in using the technology.

Clearly, adjusting to digital learning hasn't been an easy process for many students; however, it does seem that online learning is one part of the "new normal" that's here to stay. As a result, many high school students planning to attend university or those looking to return to school for postgraduate study are exploring online programs. While there are several schools offering programs administered entirely online, it can be difficult for students to choose which program and which institution is right for them. There are a number of factors to consider when making this decision, including your resources, the accreditation of the schools you're considering, and how much time you have available to commit to your schooling.

The world of online education is forever changed as a result of COVID-19. While there is a projected boom in the market and a significant amount of opportunity projected to arise in this sector, there have been a number of challenges in this transition period. Both educators and students alike have been forced to adapt to increased technological requirements, which can be difficult for those with limited experience. Similarly, students may also have trouble choosing an online program that meets their educational goals. However, in demonstrating persistence and conducting relevant research, teachers and students can adjust to the new normal of online learning and reap its benefits.

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