As day-to-day life is put on hold due to COVID-19, commercial organizations are finding new ways to support customers and communities. The coronavirus outbreak has placed unprecedented pressure on certain industries, such as the medical and pharmaceutical sectors. As essential service providers scramble to find new ways to operate in challenging environments, other industries remain locked down.
In response to the pandemic, businesses delivering non-essential services are unable to operate. Although this guidance is designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the nation, there has been significant confusion over what constitutes an essential service and whether firms need an external classification in order to continue operating.
While some businesses can clearly be described as vital and others are unequivocally non-essential, millions of organizations fall somewhere between the two. This gray area means millions of businesses that aren’t necessarily critical and able to continue operating. Amongst them are a whole range of entertainment providers. From TV networks to streaming services, production companies and media creators are keeping the public informed, entertained and educated amidst lockdown.
Schools and Colleges Switch to Online Classes
Educational institutions were one of the first venues to close their doors following the outbreak of COVID-19. Understandably, the volume of people attending schools, colleges, and higher education institutions meant that the virus could spread throughout campuses quickly and with ease. However, the temporary closure of educational buildings hasn’t meant that learning has ceased.
In fact, the impact of COVID-19 on the educational sector has meant that millions of people are embracing new learning methods. Millions of people are relying on education programming on network channels, Freeview boxes and streaming services to provide them with course content, for example. Similarly, eLearning portals have expanded their platforms to cater for an influx of new online learners.
As well as making information available to students who are stuck at home, online learning platforms are also hosting a considerable number of live lessons. Being able to stream a class in real-time ensures students can gain first-hand information from their teachers and professors, which maximizes their learning opportunities.
In addition to this, the potential to collaborate with other students in a virtual forum, ask questions and gain feedback from instructors is invaluable. While these elements of education are often overlooked in a classroom setting, the current restrictions highlight just how important they are.
The Future of Education
Every industry has been affected by COVID-19, just like almost every country in the world has been impacted by the outbreak. While people are keen for things to ‘go back to normal’ as quickly as possible, the changes we’ve adapted to in recent times will undoubtedly affected how we approach the future.
With schools now open to new, dynamic ways of learning, there is more scope for flexible learning environments. What’s more – the willingness of people to actively seek out these opportunities may indicate an increased demand for eLearning amongst the wider population in a post-coronavirus environment.
For colleges and universities, however, this innovative new learning arena could be a double-edged sword. Many students are so impressed with the level of education they’re receiving despite the restrictions that there have been calls for schools to lower their fees and deliver online-only programs. Although some schools do already offer online learning opportunities, the demand for a wider course selection and access to accredited programs is likely to increase significantly.
Using Technology to Aid Learning
Technology has always been at the forefront of education, although a substantial number of publicly funded institutions are limited on what they can access. As the lockdown restrictions show, innovative learning methods can be effective when technology is used to connect people. As the tech industry continues to evolve, new concepts could propel the educational sector forward at an even faster rate.
Current online learning portals enable students to share resources, for example, while video conferencing enables students and teachers to communicate visually in real-time. If newer technology, like 3D printing and CAD software, becomes more widely available, students could potentially create the equipment and materials they need at home, without the need to spend any time on campus at all.
There’s no doubt that technology was always destined to play a major role in the future of the educational sector. As more schools, students and organizations have been forced to embrace technological innovation amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s easy to see just how integral it will be to tomorrow’s teachers, students and creators.