How Edtech is Making Distance Learning Easier for Everyone | D2L Asia Pacific
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How Edtech is Making Distance Learning Easier for Everyone

The importance of leveraging technology in education while acknowledging the potential risks that come along with it is necessary to future-proof education. It is even recognised in the third National Education Policy of India proposed in July 2020. Holistic edtech solutions are needed to support this plan by providing a platform that is responsive to the needs of educators and learners, such as with a learning management system, or LMS for short.

Active learning, a form of learning where students are required to participate in tasks and engage with the material as opposed to merely consuming theory, is an evidenced approach for students to learn better. Rather than observing, students are put into practical tasks and can interact with their newfound knowledge. When online learning is involved, there is a misconception that teaching can only be passive and remote. Since schools were forced into virtual classrooms, educators have been struggling with different methods of boosting interactivity and incorporating active learning in the online classroom. Enter LMSs, an innovative solution that leverages technology to offer a customised and curated educational experience while aiding teachers with the resources for robust content delivery.

When it comes to online education, there are challenges that surface every now and then. However, it still remains as a very useful and valuable tool for educators and learners alike. Edtech solutions can also be used to curb these challenges if used right. Institutions can find that a well-structured LMS will help in ways such as revenue, quality programmes and scaling. This article explains why it is important to leverage technology in education.

Interface is designed with the user in mind

The global shutdowns that forced schools and corporations into a remote function rendered in-person learning and training inaccessible for a good part of this year. The adjustment was counterintuitive for many who struggled to find suitable conferencing platforms to cater to the large groups. This sudden adjustment invited a swarm of glitches, software errors and technologically unsavvy educators and learners have found themselves struggling to navigate the abrupt shift to online learning. This opened a new opportunity for industry leaders to pave the way for user-friendly softwares to accommodate the masses, such as with D2L’s Brightspace LMS. The system works closely with instructors to develop and enhance online lessons and provides immense support with 24/7 customer and community support to ease users into the world of digital.

Accessibility for all

In the past, students can be restricted through means such as geographical location, unsuitable schedules or physical disability. Students may be unable to pick their desired field of study or have been prohibited from attending face-to-face lessons for an array of reasons. An LMS brings the classroom to everyone, regardless of time-zones, oceans, and quarantines. Everything is conducted on a cloud-based system, so all it takes is a working internet connection. Now, students would not need to leave their home to connect with their peers and teachers with video sharing.

Accessibility in education means that there will be an increased student registration and remote educator hiring and a more attractive system. Users can keep connected across any device, a defining factor for students who may need adapted technology. For some, distance learning provides them with a meaningful and equal opportunity to education.

An engaging platform

In India and some parts of the world, the education system is planning to move away from the heavy implementation of rote learning. Instead, goals have shifted to a more holistic approach to develop and promote deeper understanding through innovative methods. An LMS can aid educators in constructing assessments and lessons that are optimal for students to retain information. The features in Brightspace LMS include drag-and-drop content and gaming design to facilitate in the creation of engaging and interactive course material. Technology is used to imitate popular video-game designs that encourage active participation from students. With the right tools, engagement can be pushed across all age groups and demographics, learning becomes more fun and adaptable to individual needs. D2L recognises the different ways of learning that vary according to age groups and the learning environment face-to-face and works around it similarly in eLearning. The need for a vibrant lesson plan spans across remote and in-person learning to motivate and give students an extra boost.

Creating an online community to motivate students

With the shift to remote learning, peer collaboration and socialisation can be limited. This is where an integrated LMS comes to the rescue to encourage peer interaction on the platform for not only students but instructors.

Sally Morgan, a Course Development Coordinator, said this about Brightspace LMS: “The elementary discussion boards are unbelievably vibrant and fun to visit. The students are posting videos of their little science projects and encouraging each other, which is great to see. It means that students not only engage in learning more but also get another valuable opportunity for both social and academic contact with their peers.”

Research has shown that learning comes from both teachers and peers. Users can instil a sense of community and have a fruitful sharing of knowledge through discussion boards and interactive group collaboration tools in Brightspace LMS.

A scalable and sustainable framework

Out of the numerous benefits of digitisation, scalability is arguably one of the most experienced advantages. Epidemiologist Dr Emily Gurley’s online John Hopkins’ course, “COVID-19 Contact Tracing,” one of the earliest developed programmes for training contact tracers, has over 644,205 tracers currently enrolled online. Online learning services can help institutions to scale by expanding a niche course into global participation. This can lead to an increase in revenue that schools and colleges can use to fund objectives.

With face-to-face work and traditional schooling certainly facing challenges for the foreseeable future, schools and businesses in the education sector should recognise that the transition to remote learning is here to stay post-pandemic. Blended learning has also gained popularity since the pandemic, with benefits to implementing LMS learning to supplement in-person education.

To ensure success in the virtual classroom and overall education system, platforms like the Brightspace LMS can strongly support this drive with interactive and customisable learning tools. Choosing a platform like the Brightspace LMS provides interactive online learning tools without compromising on continuity in learning. In trying times like these, when there are bigger priorities like health and staying safe, essential education plays a part in being easy and accessible instead of being taxing on students and educators. An LMS alleviates this stress by allowing the continuation of coursework with a framework for the continuation of coursework and safe learning from the user’s own home. With technology, distance is no longer a setback.

This article was first published in The Hindu.

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