With a sudden transition to virtual learning now six months into motion, it’s apparent that learning has changed forever. This comes with its own unique challenges. According to research presented by the New York Times, the shift to online learning presents the danger of the average student falling an average of seven months behind academically. However, this creates a new opportunity: the opportunity for an emergence of online learning apps.
This is true for two reasons: for one, it’s clear that because many students are struggling with absorbing the material from class on Zoom, they will need ancillary forms of information or education. Additionally, this entire trend is changing the way that we learn. Rather than signing up for an in-person Italian class before a trip to Italy, individuals are now more likely than ever to download a language app like Duolingo to learn how to order pistachio gelato with Italian flair. It’s simply the easier way to go about it, and — at the moment — the only way to learn. This shift presents a massive opportunity – one that entrepreneurs and economists will look back on for years to come as a turning point for education.
A Boom in Tech to Accommodate the Trend
Zoom has been exalted for its seamless video communication service, especially with a server overload as the world went virtual overnight. Other tech founders are following suit, too. Melody Yang is the founder of several popular apps, including Nukon, which is a Japanese language learning app. She noted that a major need within virtual learning is to have some feedback tool, in the same way that you would be able to ask questions and get immediate feedback in an in-person classroom environment.
“While some teachers practice live class via video conferencing, some record videos for students to learn at their own pace at home. One of the frustrating points of self-paced learning not being able to ask questions or receive feedback on demand. This is why when I developed Nukon, I deployed custom machine learning models to give user real-time feedback on their performance in speaking/writing Japanese,” Yang explained.
This has already led to an uptick in chatbots, which brings the focus back onto machine learning. “Companies have developed chatbots to enable real-time question-answering on mobile devices. These bots also learn the students’ learning style and adjust to them. All these bots are powered by machine learning models on mobile devices. There’s undoubtedly an increasing demand in the need of applying ML techniques in apps easily without in-depth knowledge of ML,” Yang shared. As for whether chatbots will ever ‘replace’ real online teachers or advisors in a satisfactory manner is yet to be determined.
Keeping Up with The Trends
This shift toward virtual learning matters because there’s never been a better time to offer an online course, build an educational platform, or get your learn-on online. Individuals learning in real-time how to be more effective online teachers, and adjusting collectively to what it means to sit in a ‘virtual classroom.’ As an emphasis on productive at-home working and learning environments continues, there will be more room and opportunity than ever to tap into other courses and classes online. This shift towards online learning is really a massive ‘re-learning’ of how individuals learn. While it doesn’t come without its growing pains, it may also spell more options and more globalization for online courses and learning apps.
As schools scramble to quickly adapt to these changes that see no apparent end in sight, Silicon Valley and tech founders at large will accelerate their innovations to keep up with demands, solve problems in real time, and complete a successful shift to virtual classrooms.