The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to practice strict social distancing and isolate at home. Yet, life continues, and if there’s one thing we can’t stop doing is learning the skills and knowledge we need to develop for life and work.
Unsurprisingly, the demand for EdTech is increasing in all professional and academic settings. Institutions of all sorts—from elementary schools to universities to well-established companies—are quickly joining the trend. There’s never been a greater need for video-based learning tools.
But with so much happening around us, it can be hard to adapt. Many people are still a bit sceptical about the introduction of educational videos into their own fields. There are multiple reasons for this, but at the bottom, they suspect that EdTech platforms could never be a real substitute for the traditional teaching methods in terms of quality and dedication.
For that reason, we’re taking up the task of demonstrating—with actual examples—the beneficial impacts of EdTech during the pandemic. Take note of the strategies we’ll point out along the way—you’ll find them useful for your next venture or startup in this exciting and growing industry!
The Sudden Dependence on EdTech Because of COVID-19
Before we found ourselves in the middle of a pandemic, we had been learning through EdTech platforms for quite a while. Think about how many of these resources (and countless others similar) you have used in the past:
- When you ran out of easy meal prep ideas, you rely on popular YouTube channels such as Tasty and Food Network to learn how to cook fast and cheap.
- You used Duolingo, Babbel, or some other app to become fluent in a new language from the comfort of your home.
- Platforms like Coursera and Udemy brought university-level courses to virtually everyone with a computer or smartphone in the world, regardless of language barriers.
- We can even gain knowledge and skills from world-class figures such as Samuel L. Jackson, Bill Gates, and Anna Wintour from services like Masterclass and TED.
No, EdTech resources are not something entirely brand-new. But what the pandemic has brought to the forefront, though, is the need to make everyone feel at home with these tools and scale them up at a faster rate to make them widely available.
How have some countries acted in the face of these challenges?
How the World Is Handling the Shift Toward EdTech
The world wasn’t totally unprepared for dealing with a situation like the one we’re going through. A recent UNESCO survey reports that as many as 78% of member states already had a flexible capacity to offer long-distance educational programs.
Yet ‘many’ will never be enough in the movement towards universal, high-quality education!
What about those places in Asia, Africa, and Latin America—and for that matter, everywhere around the world—where many people don’t have access to reliable Wi-Fi and the latest technology? Is the drive towards more digital learning leaving them behind?
That doesn’t seem to be the case. Take India, for example, which is setting a world example when it comes to spreading digital distance learning to all corners. They have developed a tech platform called Swayan that hosts more than 1900 courses for all levels of education, from elementary school to postgraduate courses.
But although many students in rural areas cannot access online, they still have an equal opportunity to learn. The government created the Swayam Prabha group, which distributes educational content via scheduled television and radio broadcasts.
Innovations like this attest that the opportunity to migrate to virtual classrooms is not a fantasy, much less a luxury available only to a few elites. They also give credence to the crucial importance of audiovisual content in EdTech, which we will focus on now.
Transforming Learning & Education for the Digital Age
Certainly, learning via EdTech platforms will never be the same as sitting in a classroom. But that doesn’t mean that video-based learning is less beneficial!
There are a few aspects, though, that are important to keep in mind at this moment when we are moving towards more digital education.
- Design your content specifically for a digital format. Rather than repurposing raw offline lectures for your course, it’s a better idea to create content tailored to virtual settings. Offering unique personalized videos ends up fostering an engaging learning experience.
- Encourage greater learner autonomy. Part of the appeal of e-learning is that in an online setting, students are responsible for defining their own pace: they can go back to the lessons and material as much as they want, focusing on the concepts that they find more challenging and interesting.
- Offering support is crucial. As much as EdTech depends on the learner’s independence, you need to encourage regular communication between participants. Supported engagement can come in the form of personalized feedback from the teachers, as well as forums where students can discuss the lessons and exchange their ideas.
Promoting Your Courses with Video, The Right Way
To help you create the most engaging educational videos, let’s review some of the key types of videos popular in e-learning today. This will give you clarity on how to best use video for a memorable learning experience.
Videos don’t necessarily have to assume the task of fully explaining a topic or idea—they are also an excellent resource for advertising your course to targeted audiences. You can use videos as teasers, in order to introduce the course, its units, and the goals it aims to achieve.
You can think of promo videos as a type of film trailers—they exist not to give a summary of the movie, but to inspire people to watch the full product. Make your course video introductions enticing enough by generating questions and expectations in people’s minds.
This is the type of video you want to use for explaining relevant concepts and problems. By combining animation, music, and storytelling techniques, you can approach any important (even serious!) subject-matter in an engaging way.
Explainer videos encompass many different styles, from whiteboard animation ―which resembles traditional classroom settings ―to colorful motion graphics and friendly character videos that frame and simplify any topic.
One of the reasons pushing some people back from EdTech is that they think that, while the video is highly effective in explaining concepts, it falls short when it comes to teaching practical and technical skills to students. It’s a very reasonable concern, but a solution already exists: ‘How-To’ videos to illustrate the step-by-step guidelines to produce something.
These types of videos are great at breaking down processes of every level of complexity into simple units. They can be used for anything from informing students how to navigate your platform and using functions like in-app notifications, to learning how to set up a computer program.
Getting your former alumni to comment on their personal experience with your course may be the best video promotional tool available to you. For beginning students, real-time stories from graduates are a great way to know how they can hope that taking the course will improve their lives.
You can also record testimonials of experts and mentors in the field reviewing the course’s content and talking about their importance. Their professional insights will be highly valuable to newcomers.
Final Thoughts: What Will Post-COVID Look Like for EdTech?
At this point, perhaps it’s too early to establish what will the future of EdTech be and whether this will become the ‘new normal.’ Still, it’s safe to say that online and video-based learning will be here for a while, so we must work hard to improve it.
Part of the situation right now is that our reliance on EdTech is causing us to reconsider our established notions of legitimate formal education. But what we’re seeing is true democratization of learning, unstopped by any economic and social boundaries—not even by the fact that not everybody has a computer at home!
But there is further work to do. The move that will make EdTech the ‘new normal’ requires deep changes in the basic learning skills and teaching methods that govern traditional academic settings. This is a great opportunity for startups and entrepreneurs, who will have ample opportunities to innovate on the new critical thinking and adaptability tools that students need to develop today.