Remote learning in education: how does it work and why is it important?
Within the realm of higher education and in a school environment, remote learning has been a hot topic for quite some time – is it feasible, and will the average student and teacher respond well? However, over the past year, it became even more vital to answer those questions, as the COVID-19 pandemic rendered remote learning more popular and completely necessary within nearly every higher education organization.
But now, as we move towards campuses reopening completely, organizations are looking to their long-term plans and finding out how they can implement distance learning effectively in the future.
This article will look at what remote learning is and why it has become prominent across education. We will also explain how online learning works within higher education, how this can help students, and explore how you can make remote learning successful within your own higher education organization.
Remote learning is, by definition, the process of learning when a student and teacher cannot be in the same classroom together.
Traditionally, this has been carried out using technology to support distance learning such as VDI, virtual desktops and Remote Desktop Services. This has continued throughout the pandemic and led to organizations looking for more permanent and effective online learning technologies.
Why has remote learning become so prominent?
Even before the pandemic, remote learning was a popular tool that could be used across all levels of education from school through to higher education. Over the last year, teachers of younger students have provided an online learning experience to large groups using online platforms to recreate the classroom environment, allowing students to connect not only with their teacher, but with each other.
Distance learning has mainly been used in higher education to provide students with the materials they need and create a space and the resources to study and complete work wherever they are. Virtual labs can provide remote learners with access to all of the software and apps they require and which are owned by the university without needing to be physically present in a computer lab.
Overall, remote learning is now prominent due to the flexibility and how it allows for continuity of education for students at all levels and in all fields.
Within higher education, virtual learning is a vital component of the student experience. It allows the student and teacher to connect even when they are not physically present in the classroom environment during some of all of the school year.
Typically, it has been used for periods of illness, when students are unable to reach their campus for personal reasons or in emergency situations, as over the last year.
Remote learning allows for students to work off-campus whenever and wherever they want, either from their own device or from one provided by the organization. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this has allowed for continuity of education that would be nearly impossible to achieve otherwise, keeping students connected to their learning.
Flexibility is key
Remote learning makes education more flexible for students, allowing them to work at their own pace more than they would have the freedom to do inside a traditional classroom setting. It also allows them to work from wherever they happen to be, which means that they have better continuity of education, even if they cannot get to campus.
Personalisation of education
Distance learning also provides students with a more personalized space in which they can engage and interact with their courses as they wish. For example, rather than having to wait to work in a room on campus, or a computer lab, they can enjoy working in different areas, from their own home to a library and even a coffee shop. This can help with student engagement and allow them to get hold of the resources they need without having to travel to campus.
Emergencies are covered
In the event that a higher education organization has to close its campus for any reason, online education provides a quick and effective solution to allowing students to work away from campus. Student satisfaction levels can falter as they feel they are missing out on their education, but online learning allows organizations to maintain the student experience with ongoing classwork, providing an overall higher level of satisfaction.
While a remote learning environment was essential during the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations were forced to implement quick solutions, and they must now seek ways in which to make remote learning more successful going forwards.
Ensure technology is accessible
Successful remote learning policies involve implementing the right technology and replacing quick solutions with longer-term options. Organizations will need to look at the size of the student body and how they learn to decide which digital tools are right for them.
As well as doing this, providing students with the best access is essential. With solutions such as AppsAnywhere, software and apps owned by the university have become more accessible. This allows students to access a range of applications by streaming them on-demand, rather than having them installed onto personal computers.
While this is an excellent way to ensure that students can access everything they need for remote classes, higher education organizations must be sure that students have this access quickly and know what technology is available to them.
On the other hand, tutors must also be able to use technology to provide the proper instruction and that the IT department keeps this technology up to date and working well.
With all of this in mind, it should be far easier to make the leap from traditional classroom learning to a long-term remote learning model or even a hybrid option that lies somewhere between the two. As long as the organization works to keep students interested and engaged in classes, there is no reason why remote learning should not be a great tool to have at your disposal. Remote learning should not be reserved for use solely during emergency circumstances but be used to provide greater inclusion and a better experience overall.
Please get in touch with our expert team to find out more about remote working solutions or how remote learning could work within your organization.