The accelerated ascent of online learning

Think Digital College believes that with the correct approach and focus, online learning can effectively provide digital platforms for education at home

For Think Digital College and Think Digital Academy, online schooling is their specialty, and their sole focus and passion.
For Think Digital College and Think Digital Academy, online schooling is their specialty, and their sole focus and passion.
Image: Supplied/Think Digital College

As the world responds to impact of Covid-19, our children’s education  has been knocked by the closing of schools. Globally, an estimated one-billion children are now at home, expected by their governments to be taught by parents who often have no knowledge of teaching methods or little free time. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that public schools would close from July 27 to August 24, with a few exceptions. Grade 12 will return to school on August 3 and grade 7 on August 10.

As parents and school systems realise the long-lasting impact of a child’s education being put on hold, an alternative solution was needed, and quickly. Online learning, with the correct approach and focus, can effectively provide digital platforms for education at home. 

Research suggests that when thoughtfully developed, placing an emphasis on pedagogy rather than the technology itself, the increased learning outcomes for children are bountiful. Such benefits include a student’s retention of information, ability to think critically, and the improvement of time-management skills. 

Before the worldwide pandemic, educational technology was steadily improving. In response to the sudden and unexpected surge in enrolment, online education providers had to react by quickly staying ahead of the demand to welcome all students to a new and effective learning environment. The challenge immediately became, how? 

Think Digital College (TDC), an online school that provides both the CAPS as well as the British international curricula, doubled its student enrolment compared with pre-pandemic student learners. TDC has effectively bolstered its capacity to provide a full-array solution for both teachers and students. TDC’s mission became to swiftly facilitate the increased demand for, while guaranteeing the quality of, learning for all students.

As a result, the global server infrastructure was fortified to ensure seamless connectivity, and TDC has expanded its reach to serve a global community. Think Digital Academy, a new branch of TDC, was launched to offer the same opportunity for a quality, at-home education to students around the world. 

The education community expects that the surge of at-home learning will become the preferred choice for many students and parents. When the traditional schools rushed to make the transition to online learning, many parents were disappointed by the inadequate user experience, failing bandwidth and lack of research for the overall approach. 

Alternatively, for Think Digital College and Think Digital Academy, online schooling is not a new and untested concept: it’s their speciality and their sole focus and passion. Janessa Leita, CEO of Think Digital College, believes a new model of education will evolve. “I am confident that the integration of information technology in education will continue to accelerate and that online learning will become an integral component of school education.”

Many parents and teachers are already touting its benefits. Elaine During, an educator at an independent school in Johannesburg, has been using Think Digital College’s platform to teach her students. According to During, the platform has reshaped the way we teach. 

“TDC enables me to connect with my students more efficiently and effectively through chat groups, document sharing, allocating work and monitoring assessments. My students find the system easy and enjoyable. I believe traditional face-to-face learning and online learning go hand by hand,” says During.

Covid-19 has disrupted an education system that was already declining in both effectiveness and relevance.

“Traditional schools continue to focus on rote learning (memorising through repetition) rather than critical thinking skills and adaptability, which are far more valuable to students living in the Information Age. We believe this global pandemic will embrace a new, more effective way of educating students,” says Leita. 

Though some parents are concerned that the rushed move to online learning may have hindered their children’s learning, many intend to make online learning part of their new normal after experiencing the benefits first-hand. For many parents, the combination of an effective home-learning experience with the assurance that their children are safe and healthy at home, is nothing less than ideal.

This article was paid for by Think Digital College.

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