Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic pushed more than 1.4 billion learners out of the classroom. Schools, colleges and universities around the world were obliged to provide alternative ways to deliver education, while ensuring the safety of staff and students.
Many institutions turned to online learning to ensure safe, continued education. Without already-existing systems, institutions were often left scrambling to patch up mistakes caused by the switch.
COVID-19 has put business continuity high on the agenda for all sectors. Lessons have been learned and a blended approach is now key for those wanting to ensure that students’ learning goes unhindered.
The reasons for, and tools needed to implement a solid education continuity plan are numerous, however, we’ve outlined a few key points below.
Creating a System
Uninterrupted instruction is hugely important even when students, or staff, can’t physically be present. This has been thrown into sharp relief by COVID-19. Nonetheless, addressing the need of business continuity in the classroom extends beyond the current pandemic. Here are other elements your plan should cover:
- Unforeseen Circumstances
Disruptive events or disasters, including outbreaks of other communicable diseases, severe weather, and major power cuts could well lead to similar situations in the future. Being prepared will allow you to face future challenges head-on, and reduce disruption to lessons. This extra security also helps build trust, as students and staff won’t have to make the choice between safety and continuing their education/work.
- Academic Purposes
With a set system in place, travel for academic purposes will be easier, allowing teachers and students to seize opportunities as they come. Taking part in conferences, intra-school competitions, or educational fairs and presentations no longer has to mean missed classes. Similarly, students applying to internships or academic volunteering roles can choose positions without worrying about travel time or make-up assignments.
- A Changing Field
With the rise of e-learning, the structure of education as a whole is changing. When students and staff are presented with high-quality alternatives to in-person lessons, learning becomes more accessible. Individuals will increasingly seek out institutions that offer such alternatives, and having this flexibility will allow you to keep up with advancing times.
Tools for Success
The system each institution creates to deal with the unexpected will be unique, reflecting the individuality of its users. Here are some of the fundamental tools everyone needs.
- Highly Reliable Internet Connectivity
As e-learning occurs on digital platforms, fast, reliable internet is paramount. A lagging, or irregular connection can cause interruptions in lessons. In turn, this can lead to lost time, decreased clarity, and mounting frustration. A high-quality and stable connection ensures smooth, efficient classes.
- Video and Audio Conference Ability
The ability to hold video and audio conferences allows for real-time interactions between students and teachers. Video lessons are the closest thing to face to face learning. Students can ask for clarification in the moment, and teachers can see how their lessons are being received.
- Recording Software and Equipment
Sometimes, the circumstances mentioned in the previous section might prevent synchronous learning. Allow students the option of learning on their own schedule by recording and releasing classes.
- Textual Community Hubs
Apart from video and/or audio interactions, forums, blogs, and other discussion spots can provide students and teachers with another way to connect. Textual community hubs are low-pressure and allow for interactions on-the-go, at times when it might not be possible to connect in another way.
If education continuity for your learners is high on your agenda, speak with HM Network for a friendly, obligation-free conversation about the options available to you.