There is a before and after with how language classes in your online language school are taught following the coronavirus pandemic. The high contagiousness of the virus, its health consequences and its fatality have forced schools around the world to close their doors or look for temporary alternatives during the first weeks the coronavirus was spreading. Since the first days have passed, many centers are wondering what they must do to change their traditional and face-to-face methodology in a stable way and to professionally consolidate their school as an online center in a serious and professional manner.
Distance education and the virtuality of technology have soared as the most viable alternatives in times of crisis by being able to provide an effective education directly to students at home, with no need to commute.
The need to continue classes during a crisis has exponentially accelerated the rate at which language centers adopt new educational technology, propelling the situation forward several years in a sector that did not stand out for being a pioneer in embracing new technology (not an early adopter).
The coronavirus has caused many of our statements to become outdated in the face of this new reality; however, the patterns that we indicated for meeting student’s needs in the 21st century have been fulfilled (although at a different rate than expected).
Many centers became an online language school sustaining their classes with free services that were able to provide a solution at the time, but did not offer them a viable way to continue: with no monitoring, no registration, no self-assessments, no specializations, no reports, no platform integration…it’s time to go one step further.
Teach your classes online…now what?
Launching free services produced good results at first, but the consequences of this epidemic are not temporary, and language schools need experienced software to lean on to prevent closing in the face of another emergency, but also to make a leap in quality and bring added value to their education.
After the initial time of emergency, you must have professional software that consolidates your classes and offers added value: a virtual campus with integrated videoconferencing, automatic monitoring, records and reports, interactive reinforcement content…because it is not enough to become an online school by just standing in front of a camera to lecture.
Online learning as a first step
Online platforms allow language centers to turn into an online language school to offer their students a single space where all the tools they need to continue their language studies are integrated: a virtual campus, interactive content, additional materials, virtual classrooms for live classes, online communities so you can interact with your peers. All these tools have been essential to give continuity to online education during this time of confinement and won’t lose their relevance during this time of social distancing and beyond.
In many cases, unspecialized services have been used initially to maintain classes, but they do not provide the quality needed, and so students lose confidence in the center (lots of external links, a lack of security, no activity log, loss of information generated in the tool…). Only Verxact’s integrated system can offer you everything you need in a single environment, and our 39+ years of experience as leaders in the e-learning market provide you with reliability and total control of your language learning. Because we are not a company that was founded during the crisis, we are experts.
Blended learning, in the long term
A second phase of the pandemic will allow for blended education: it will be necessary to combine learning methods to conform to attendance rates that will be lower than with traditional classes and to ensure the continuity of courses for all the students who prefer to continue learning from home. Blended learning, therefore, will become the alternative with the most potential for transitioning from confinement to the new normal. In addition, students have been adapting to the online environment, and it is much easier to switch back to 100% online alternatives, if necessary, from a blended method; let’s not backtrack.
What lessons in education does the coronavirus crisis teach us?
At CAE, we already knew that technology is the key to a quality education, more effective and more engaging than traditional education. What the coronavirus has highlighted is that we already have the necessary e-learning tools to offer 100% online and blended learning experiences. The challenge is to get students to use these tools – in many cases they’ve been the ones who have been demanding them for a long time, especially digital natives.
From this crisis, language centers will emerge strengthened due to the support from Verxact virtual learning environments and all the advantages that online education brings to language teaching. Professionally consolidating them will differentiate centers with projection from those that are unprepared for new crises or for meeting their students’ needs (displacement, reconciliation…).
Our learning platform has helped hundreds of centers around the world adjust to the new requirements to stay open by becoming a 100% online center: videoconferences to teach live online classes that are accessible to all types of teachers (those experienced in online classes, but especially for those who have never taught using a webcam), courses with self-assessments and real-time feedback, attendance records, monitored progress, structured content classified by level according to CEFR requirements. With Verxact, you can consolidate your online centers professionally by using methodologies that improve the quality of education, without losing your students’ trust.