Will Online Learning for Higher Ed Stay after the Pandemic Is Over?

Will Online Learning for Higher Ed Stay after the Pandemic Is Over?

Online learning is here to stay.  In the 1990’s eLearning started to take off in the corporate world.  At the time, eLearning was met with skepticism. Instructors feared being replaced by online courses. Learners did not like online learning. Still, despite the negative rap, online learning survived. Why? The benefits outweigh the dislikes.  Here are five reasons why online learning is here to stay after the pandemic. 


There is less brick and mortar upkeep. 

Buildings are expensive to maintain. Old buildings are more expensive to maintain.  Yet, schools offering online learning can run courses without having students in the building. Likewise, with less students on campus there is less demand for classrooms, facilities can be shut down. This enables universities to remodel their facilities. This lets colleges update lab equipment. Heating, cooling, and utilities costs can be cut. Administrators can run multiple courses in the same building at the same time on different days. Staff can teach in class one day per week or one time per month. 


The courses are portable. 

Besides that, with online learning administrators can schedule in-class days off-campus anywhere. Instructors can easily lift the program to offer classes at corporate sites. Classes can move to another campus building. Still, this portability gives schools an opening to partner within their community to build degree completion programs. Besides that, this portability lets colleges reach more students. At this time, many non-traditional learners work in remote jobs. The ease of online learning lets students stay enrolled in a course, even if their job takes them across the globe. Also, traditional students may be leery to attend crowded lecture halls for some time. Health concerns may continue to quarantine students in their homes. Yet, online learning lets schools teach these students.


Students love the convenience of online learning.

Besides that, students love the convenience of online learning. Also, for many learners, the pros outweigh the cons of eLearning. Students’ expectations have changed during the pandemic. Students expect to be able to learn anywhere at any time. Instructors may find themselves recording lectures to share with students who missed delivery due to sickness. The expectation that content will be offered to download and view at a later time has been set. Learners are used to meeting in online rooms. Yet, students and staff are better at remote learning. 


Virtual literacy has increased. 

Still, both students and instructors have found how to learn online during the pandemic. Online learning works best when schools use a hybrid approach. Besides that, blended classes are favored by both instructors and students. Hybrid courses offer students time in the classroom and time at home. Blended courses let instructors refine their courses. Yet, these students may find the hassles of traveling to and from classes intolerable. Teachers may find bugs in their materials. Still, technology keeps evolving. 


Ed tech is improving. 

Yet, ed tech tools continue to evolve. The shortcomings of current solutions are being addressed. Likewise, developers have listened to the unique pain points of teachers. Instructors need to live stream from their classrooms and reach remote students. Teachers need to grade students. Districts need to be able to provide materials offline. Besides that, not all students have Wi-Fi access. Communities now understand why connectivity needs to be addressed. 

In sum, online learning will survive after the pandemic ends. Over time the benefits of online learning programs will outweigh the complaints from the student body. The expectations of ease, time, and reach will win over students. Schools offering a hybrid approach will satisfy students seeking the advantages of eLearning and social connections in real life instruction.

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