The Rise of Digital Learning
Covid-19 has caused huge disruption to the method and practice of teaching for practitioners all over the world, with the UK being no exception.
Largely, this ongoing transition has been necessary but not without its challenges. Over this period, we have gathered feedback and data through research undertaken by Cosmos and our discussions with the community of teachers and practitioners who use our online learning platform – Engage.
Even if enduring challenges surrounding digital poverty such as IT literacy, broadband, and equipment have been addressed (which is not always the case), it cannot be assumed that students will be naturally just as effective at online learning as they are at in-school learning.
It is hard to assert that there will be no further disruptions to in-school learning from here on, so what are the lessons that have been learnt over the past two years? What can we implement to ensure that digital learning is not just in-school learning, but online? How can we ensure that digital learning is a fully embodied mode of learning, that centres everyone involved, and how can we ensure future transitions are undertaken with compassion and communication?
Throughout 2021, we have responded to the changing situation by enhancing both our face-to-face and digital offering to continue to support those who work in schools and colleges. This includes delivering Engage workshops both virtually and face-to-face with learners, collaborating with UniConnects to design bespoke programmes, and continuing to participate in the Engage Community of Practice.
Through these conversations and collaborations, the Engage platform has been developed to further centre student engagement. This included developing new content focusing on health and wellbeing, to help young people navigate the momentous shifts that we are all experiencing. With the Engage community, we considered how education can be transformed by digital, rather than digital being used as a placeholder for in-school learning; exploring gamification, self-directed learning, as well as incorporating core digital skills into our platform training modules. Building and developing the Engage platform over this period has taught us that Digital Learning is not just about learning with digital, but also learning about digital. When it comes to digital, there are a myriad of subtle, yet important changes to, not only how education is delivered, but how it is received, that must be considered at all stages.
A cornerstone of Cosmos’ mission is to do our part in empowering young people, by aiding their development of their skills, capacity and confidence. For us, and many others who share this mission, it is becoming clear that new, thorough, and innovative approaches to digital education are needed now more than ever.