The pandemic accelerated innovation in education, but it has also widened learning inequality. Educational institutions will need to address this with 3 core digital strategies to foster educational recovery.
The pandemic had a transformative effect on education, most notably as classrooms switched to digital mediums. However, virtual learning remained limited or out of reach altogether for some, deepening learning inequality for low-income households without the necessary technology to participate in virtual learning or regions without consistent internet connectivity.
McKinsey reports that students in Sub-Saharan Africa are six months behind in school, while students in South Asia are on average 12 months behind. Learning poverty has increased, as illiteracy rates for students over 10 jumped from 57% to 70% post-pandemic. The World Bank reports that today’s students now risk a $17 trillion loss in future earnings due to economic instability and school closures.
The ongoing struggle to achieve learning equality frequently gets overlooked in current media coverage of whether or not ChatGPT will benefit students. In order to help communities recover, educational institutions will need to continue to innovate with learning plans that meet students where they are. For governments, this means educational reform and funding for more accessible and adaptable schools.
Educational investments remain low
The World Economic Forum predicts that investments in EdTech will reach $404 billion globally by 2025, as institutions continue to experiment with new and adaptive teaching strategies. However, only 2% of humanitarian funding goes toward early childhood education.
Currently, government investments in education have also lagged behind investments in other sectors. Lower education budgets are a struggle for many educational institutions, meaning they need to be selective about what technologies they deploy to achieve their goals.
The future of learning outcomes
An additional struggle for educational institutions is adapting to prepare students for the changing skill sets of a rapidly evolving workforce. The World Economic Forum recommends that institutions create personalised, accessible, collaborative, and lifelong learning models to help them succeed in the fourth industrial revolution, where adaptability and problem-solving will be more important than rote learning.
In order to achieve all of these aims, institutions will need affordable technology that enables them to achieve 3 core strategies: collecting data, making learning more accessible, and keeping learning flexible.
Over one-third of countries lack assessment data for primary school reading and math outcomes. This absence not only affects individual learners but also affects the extent to which governments are able to understand the educational needs of the population at large.
The right technology can capture data about what students are interested in, what skills they need to develop, and the effectiveness of new teaching strategies. Monitoring all three will be increasingly important as curriculums modernise to include subjects like programming and media literacy.
For institutions just starting to aggregate student data, initial strategies should be simple, easy to implement, and cost-effective. This enables institutions to build on those strategies over time as they become more accustomed to data collection and analysis.
Making learning more accessible
It’s ideal to make education as accessible as possible for multiple learning styles and economic realities. Although many institutions have returned to providing in-person instruction, offering digital alternatives can promote learning equality.
Publicly available digital learning can make education more accessible for students who aren’t able to travel and for female students. Offered in tandem with in-person instruction, digital alternatives can also help students absorb lectures at their own pace.
Not all institutions will have the resources for online instruction. Starting by making student information, assessments, and appointment booking available over digital channels can help students in make important decisions about their future without in-person appointments.
Keeping learning flexible
Post-Covid, many students are at different learning stages. This means that personalised instruction will make even more of a difference than it has in the past.
Flexible, individualised learning plans are much easier to implement with technology that enables students to access the information they need rather than requiring teachers to modify lesson plans to suit each student.
Making the switch towards longer-term digital assessments rather than relying on single, high-stakes tests are another way to keep learning more flexible. Digital tools can help institutions adopt this practice without overburdening teachers with paperwork.
How Proto can help
Proto’s CX automation solution helps educational institutions centralise information and improve information access for parents, students, and teachers across over 15 local channels.
Powered by the proLocal™ natural language processing engine, it is capable of automating communications and processing information in over 100 local languages to help improve access to education for non-English speakers.
From frequently asked questions to student account support, fees, and more, Proto offers a simple and affordable way for institutions to get started with digitisation – and with more accessible education for every student. Book a product tour to learn more about how Proto can help your educational institution provide best-in-class student support.