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24 May 2024

How has online learning developed since the pandemic?

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Victoria Temple

What have we learned about hybrid teaching and online learning, four years since the start of Covid? 

We look at how it’s impacted teaching – and how it’s evolved. 

Covid transformed approaches to digital education and today hybrid learning continues to be a valuable tool. It enables young people to access education if they are not able to attend school for a variety of reasons and can be vital when a crisis hits, like the discovery of RAAC. 

“Many schools have continued to deliver home learning using online teaching,” said Pete Dring, one of the leaders of the CAS Secondary Community and Head of Computing at Fulford School in York. 

There's a sizeable minority of students who have struggled to come back since COVID. 

“My school has invested in hybrid ed tech (like the AV1 robot) so that students can join in from home or a safe, quiet environment in school with a view to encouraging reintegration where possible.” 

Hybrid teaching has changed how schools cope with the unexpected. 
“‘Snow days’ are now largely consigned to the past: schools might physically close but learning just continues online - at least, it's meant to, in between snowballs and snow sculpting!” said Pete. 

Homework, exam revision and parents’ evenings 

“Hybrid teaching is great for revision: video revision resources and online drop-in support sessions can be scaled up with huge benefits to students and teachers (such as the Isaac Computer Science online booster events for students.),” said Pete. 

“Some teachers run additional after-school revision sessions in person, but hybrid techniques could have far more positive impact for students - with significantly less impact on teachers' workload,” he said. 

Homework and parents’ evenings have also been transformed.  

“Even if appointments run face-to-face, bookings can be made online. Gone are the days of hopeful parents hovering at the end of a long day hoping for a 'brief chat'. 

“For me, homework is all set online, mostly submitted online and all rewarded online. The resulting rise in both participation and impact has been huge, although there are valid concerns.” 

Motivation and engagement 

Adrienne Tough is Head of Computing at St John’s Catholic Comprehensive school in Kent. She now routinely uploads her resources to Teams as part of her classroom teaching. 

“My KS4 lessons and Powerpoint slides are all uploaded to the Teams page.  If a student is not able to attend school, catch-up is straightforward. Uploading lessons has also improved learning for students who might need more time or additional support. 

Online lessons require different techniques to ensure student engagement, said Adrienne. 

“During covid, I found that students loved polls, and I now use PI more in the classroom as a result. This includes ‘foolproof questions’ within quizzes which ensures I can monitor who was actually engaged in learning and not simply spent time on an X-box!” 

Digital divide and screen management 

Most students have access to a smartphone but they may not have reliable access to the space, support and internet access to enable them to work online at home. 

Adrienne said; 

“There are students who simply don’t have the resources at home, whether that’s Wi-Fi, or access to a device. Students who have a lot of siblings and limited devices can struggle. We run a daily homework club which is well attended. We also loan laptops to any students without digital access at home

Pete Dring added that hybrid learning can make managing ‘screen time’ more challenging. 

“There's significant concern that schools increasingly relying on students accessing the internet at home can complicate the relationship between students and their parents in terms of trying to control screen time. It's much harder to set a limit when homework requires access,” he said.

Supporting teachers 

Teachers’ experience varies hugely, some subjects are easier to facilitate online than others, and four years since the pandemic, the experience of online teaching is starting to fade.

Pete recognised that it’s often difficult for schools to support teachers to develop online teaching practice.  

“I'm lucky to be in a school that has made it a priority,” he said. 

“Teachers are usually keen to learn but lack the time to adapt and experiment. Many of the potential benefits of remote learning are being forgotten after COVID or never really fully materialised.  

“Initial Teacher Training Providers, Teaching School Alliances, Multi Academy Trusts and other organisations all have a significant role to play to rise to the challenge.  

“It's also great to see good practice and it's wonderful being part of supportive teacher communities like Computing at School but there's so much more to be done.” 


If you are looking for a way to explore learning platforms, why not take a look at the recent video resources to help get to grips with Seesaw; Google Classroom  and MS Teams


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