Pandemic promoted virtual learning

Experts suggest preparing for post-Covid-19 world

Our Correspondent July 18, 2020

Experts see the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity and emphasised for adapting to change and pay immediate attention on improving technological infrastructure accordingly to avail the opportunities that post-pandemic world offers in the field of learning and development, a press release said.

The experts on learning and development from various national and international institutions said this while sharing their views with the participants at online dialogue 'Learning and Development in a Virtual World beyond Covid-19' organised by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) on Friday.

Institute of International Education (IIE), USA, Regional Head Europe, Dr Cheryl Francisconi, while terming the pandemic time as an incredible opportunity for the learning in the virtual space said that the learning and training now need to be aligned with this newly created space.

The future of online higher education in Pakistan

"We need to adapt to new reality with the best use of technology." Dr Francisconi said.

She added further that a culture of learning from each other needs to be created. Besides, making virtual learning more participatory and interactive and redressing the connectivity issues would be some of the important steps towards this adaptation, she added.

Qaiser A Raja, from Skills Enhancement Academy, UK, was of view that adaptation to virtual learning would be more challenging to trainers rather than the trainees that always show a better ability to get transformed with the new change.

He said that the technological shift towards the virtual learning was started much before the occurrence of the Covid-19. However, the pandemic has just accelerated this process and now it's time to embrace the change to get fully benefitted from it.

"Pakistan needs to pay immediate attention to remove the connectivity barrier for the t communities," Faisal Shafiq a social, technology, business program and project expert from Canada, opined and added further that Pakistan has huge potential to make inroads in virtual learning.

Online learning: a blessing in a changed world​​​​​​​

However, besides improving infrastructure, the need assessment of the participants would play critical role in the success of virtual learning. Brig (Retd) Mohammad Yasin, Senior Advisor Capacity Building, SDPI, Pakistan, on the occasion shared the overall learning and development context with the participants and said certain steps are now required to make virtual learning really meaningful including finding ways to make such learning more interactive.

He further added that we must prepare ourselves for the technological transformation as the pandemic has become part of the life now. Earlier, Shahid Minhas, Head CLD, SDPI, presented an overall context of the issue and said that the pandemic has posed challenges to every walk of life globally and same is true when we talk about learning and development. He said that the real question today is how much we are ready to adapt to a complete paradigm shift, especially in the context of virtual learning.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 18th, 2020.


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