During the COVID-19 restrictions, the education sector responded to the changes and the impacts on learning. According to our research, people are very positive about a shift towards online learning. In fact, nine in ten said they are positive about an increased use of online learning in vocational training (90%), university (89%), workplaces (90%) and in school (86%).
71% of households who experienced online learning had a positive experience
When we asked those who had participated in online education how they found it, 71% said it was a positive experience for their household. This was largely due to the support provided by schools and the opportunity to spend more time with their child. The greater engagement in their child’s learning also allowed families and parents to develop a greater understanding of their child’s skills, abilities and challenges with learning.
“The school has been very supportive, and my children are enjoying the level of online education provided by their teachers and school.”
“We have more understanding of what they are learning in school.”
Schooling from home has had its challenges, however, with many finding it difficult to motivate their children, keep them focused and juggle their own workload.
Students found school from home challenging
While the majority of adults we surveyed said they had found online schooling to be a positive experience, the emerging generations were slightly less positive about online learning than the older generations. During the schooling from home period, six in ten students said they found learning from home more difficult and two thirds found it more productive to study at school rather than at home. The majority of young Australians understood that this remote learning arrangement was necessary and believe it worked fine, however 37% didn’t agree it could be something they could live with on a permanent basis. As these generations are in the formal education life stage and most likely to be participating in these online learning environments, it is important to take note of these differences in attitude.
The vital role of schools in the future of learning
Technology provides great opportunities for online learning, but it isn’t without challenges. While the online learning environment provides accessibility and flexibility, it can also be challenging and in some ways less productive, with traditional, in situ learning considered to yield greater results among students.
Even though online learning was a blessing for many during COVID-19 and 52% believe education will be delivered more online in the future, the sentiment of many students and teachers is that they looked forward to going back to school. While Zoom helped connect people during the pandemic, many suffered from ‘zoom fatigue’ and missed interacting with friends and colleagues in person. This highlights that workplaces and places of education are more than just somewhere we go to learn – they are key pathways to social interaction, connection and belonging.