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The education industry was one of the most affected by the pandemic. Schools had to completely transform their methods almost overnight, with little to no preparation and low budgets. The adoption of new technologies became a necessity. Here is how the virus accelerated the impact of tech on the sector. 

Online Learning

When the pandemic hit back in March 2020, the education industry had to solve the problem of how to keep operating in a matter of days. That’s why they resorted to online learning platforms. In most cases, they only had a basic platform that could barely meet their needs, or they had to organize classes through Zoom. Teachers and students had to get used to the new modality from one day to the next. This new, completely digital learning experience has created new needs. 

That’s why many edtech companies took advantage of the growing need for their services. An example of these services is learning management systems. These are software programs that help teachers schedule classes, share materials and resources, and do the grading all in one place. 

Another example is open online courses that are available on multiple platforms on the Internet. For most courses, students can go at their own pace and learn the skills they are most interested in. You can learn any skill you can imagine, from coding to technical writing. If you want to learn something, the chances are that there is already a course available for it. With the increase in the availability of courses online, it is much easier to gain the skills necessary and become just as competitive as someone with a college degree. The beauty of online learning is that you can go at your own pace. You aren’t necessarily limited by the pace of a class or a professor. The power is in your hands. You get out what you put in.

You can also find coding bootcamps online. Some of them even opened up their courses for free during Covid-19 to help people reskill for the future. Bootcamp Rankings has a list of the best online coding bootcamps in the country. Bootcamps are a great way to show employers that you are serious. A lot of bootcamps have connections to companies and help their students find jobs.(For more info on why you should switch to tech, check out this article.)

These new advances in online learning makes it easier for those without college degrees to learn new skills. 

In the future after the pandemic, the education industry will probably move forward with a hybrid modality that combines on-campus and distance learning. But, without a doubt, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital platforms. As a result, something that would have taken years in another situation, was adopted in a few months. Use this to your advantage. Employers are becoming more open to accepting alternative forms of education and learning.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is already changing the way we operate. The technology has still has a lot of room for development. But with the things that can already be accomplished, we are seeing big differences in our society. In the education sector, institutions are using AI to create personalized experiences that adapt to each student’s needs. 

For example, a company called Knewton offers adaptive learning technologies for educational institutions. The platform adapts to the level of the student with each interaction. It recognizes when the student is having difficulty grasping some concept and gives them more materials and examples.

Also, let’s not forget the very handy chatbots. These AI-powered bots are serving as teacher’s virtual assistants to answer the basic questions a student might have. It optimizes the teacher’s job because they will only help students that have complex doubts. Another thing that AI can do is data analysis. 

With the increase in online learning, the amount of data collected will increase. Companies and institutions will be able to optimize a lot of its processes by analyzing all the information about student engagement, performance, and more. It also means that jobs relating to data will increase in the future

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

With the need for distance learning during the pandemic, a lot of institutions struggled to find ways to keep students engaged. This is even more challenging in the case of pre-K and primary students. That’s where VR and AR can help by making the classes interactive. 

Virtual reality is when the user immerses him or herself in a virtual world. Augmented reality, on the other hand, is when they see digital objects in their surroundings with a headset or smartphone’s camera. Both of them can be used to create interactive classes that will fascinate any student no matter their age. 

Google Expeditions, for example, is a mobile application that allows students to explore over 1,000 VR experiences and 100 AR. This technology is already in use in some institutions around the world. But, with education changing because of Covid-19, we will probably see more institutions adopting it. 

In Summary

The education sector has been slow in adopting new technologies. But with the Covid-19 pandemic, institutions around the world had to move to online platforms overnight. This increased the need for new technologies to optimize distance learning processes. Artificial intelligence and VR/AR are only a few of the technologies that will increase student engagement and improve the overall experience. 

Colleges have not had an easy transition. Use this to your advantage. Take advantage of the changing environment. Showcase how you are resilient and can adapt with the times. After all, that’s what will set you apart from other candidates.


Image by Ismagilov via Canva.


About The Writer

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.