Although federal officials are urging colleges and K-12 schools to re-open for the fall, many institutions plan to continue virtual instruction or adopt a hybrid model that blends in-person and online learning.
And while much of the news surrounding the coronavirus is somber, some education experts think the expansion of more flexible learning options could be a good thing, particularly for postsecondary education.
In fact, according to one 2014 study analysis by the US Department of Education, blended instruction was more effective among college students than “strictly face-to-face or online instruction,” according to a recent Education Dive column.
“One of the great things about online and blended learning is that it provides the opportunity for students to benefit from the flexibility of pace and time of when they work,” Bruce Friend, of the Aurora Institute told Education Drive. The organization, based in Vienna, Virginia, studies competency-based education and personalized learning.
And as students access more of their lessons online, they also gain important skills, such as time management, Friend said.
Of course, the model is far from perfect. Curriculum needs to be adapted to fit the new format, experts say. And this spring, many low-income students who lacked a computer and/or internet access at home were unable to complete online coursework.
But as the coronavirus crisis has illustrated, the time is ripe to re-imagine how students learn.
“I don’t think that the local school building is going away,” Friend told Education Dive. “But I think people have been awoken to the idea that ‘going to school’ doesn’t mean I must be dropped off at this physical space Monday through Friday.”
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