Both teachers and students alike have had to adapt to the new reality of distance learning and find new ways to connect, communicate, and motivate.
However, like the hybrid working trend, the pandemic has revealed new opportunities for innovation and improvement.
A new report Reimagining education with high-quality audio (pictured) by Frost & Sullivan and commissioned by EPOS reveals there are “opportunities to enhance modern learning to become more connected, digitised and efficient.”
The immediate and long-term benefits are clear
EPOS says for millions of students and educators, “the abrupt transition to remote learning has been complicated but at the same time, the new normal presents new benefits.”
While the move to distanced learning risks widening the digital divide in some instances, it’s also been found “that remote learning can level the playing field”, meaning that “education becomes more universal for some of the most vulnerable and marginalised population groups.”
Clear cost savings have also become apparent and made possible by” reducing reliance on physical resources and minimising travel time.” By saving time, students can learn at their own pace and are able to catch up or revisit a topic with ease.
For educators, “going digital can improve the quality and relevancy of their curriculum by updating resources and materials in real time.”
With education institutions around the world investing and improving their educational technology to better facilitate and provide online and distanced learning, longer-term benefits are also emerging.
Learning and collaborating online is helping “to prepare students with the kind of organisational acumen, emotional intelligence, and self-discipline needed for modern careers.”
Although the shift to remote education has caused initial disruption, educators and students “are happy with a shift to a more hybrid approach long term.
According to the report, two-thirds of US students would welcome more online classes post-pandemic. Of the students surveyed, 61% responded that online “courses can be just as legitimate as face-to-face courses, when well designed.”
Poor audio exacerbates learning fatigue
Effective learning relates to student engagement regardless of where the learning takes place, and while “video and content sharing are significant components of the education experience, audio quality is often overlooked.”
EPOS says excellent audio technology can play a pivotal role in helping students retain focus and engage whereas poor audio can have a serious negative impact.
Poor audio experiences have serious implications. According to the report, “35% of those surveyed often feel frustration, irritation, and annoyance due to bad audio, 25% experience stress, and 15% feel embarrassment or a lack of confidence.”
The study found these experiences “could affect students’ ability to focus, engage and actively contribute to lessons.”
Without the immediate guidance of teachers and a physical learning environment, “it is easy for learners to become distracted. Poor audio can dampen students’ emotional and mental well-being.”
Whether it’s audio delays from bad internet connectivity or multiple participants speaking at the same time or background noises, audio challenges can increase stress levels.
For teachers and other educators, poor audio could be disastrous if critical information is missed. Hearing multiple voices, recognising who is speaking, and engaging learners are all crucial parts of teaching. Without good audio, teachers risk missing out on crucial information and consequently might provide a less effective learning experience.
Investment in good audio is essential to long-term hybrid learning
Fortunately for many end-users, having effective audio goes a long way to optimise the hybrid experience.
According to EPOS, “37% of people feel that the right audio tools can reduce miscommunication, 40% feel that they would significantly reduce the need to repeatedly clarify information and 37% believe good audio would prevent participants from missing critical information.”
As the COVID-19 will soon come to an end, the shift to a more hybrid approach will remain. For EPOS, remote learning has made it five times easier to recruit teachers. As a result, the percentage of senior leaders and teachers planning to leave the profession had halved since 2019.
Meanwhile, two-thirds of students say they would welcome more education online post-pandemic.
Jeppe Dalberg-Larsen, EPOS President, comments: “Remote learning means that students and teachers can be anywhere on any given day—whether in the classroom, at home or on the go.”
He declares that “the future of learning is already here.”
According to Dalberg-Larsen, students and educators in a virtual classroom can miss what they’ve heard can become 100% concern.
“To ensure that hybrid learning remains effective, educators and students must recognise the importance of optimizing concentration and comprehension by utilising high-quality audio tools”, he concludes.