Remote and online learning gave parents and students an education reaching far beyond core subjects during the 2020 pandemic.

3 changes that will outlast the pandemic


Remote and online learning gave parents and students an education reaching far beyond core subjects in 2020

Nationwide, a recent survey of parents shows that not only did a majority become more actively involved in their child’s education over the past year, they enjoyed it. Though perhaps struggling at the onset, as the school year progressed, they noted their students developing useful new skills that will serve them well for the future. And, as parents themselves came to know a new normal in their professional lives, they started to consider what normal could be for schools when they return to in-person learning.

Here are three “found trends” that will last past back-to-normal:

1. New Competencies for Kids: Nearly 80 percent of Parent Pulse survey respondents said their kids are coming out of this lost year with newfound resilience and self-sufficiency, and 85 percent saw students mastering “competencies for the future of work” through their remote-learning experiences. These are skills and habits of mind that educators and employers have longed to see in this generation of learners, so we can expect continued development along these lines.

2. New Roles for Parents: The majority of parents—68 percent of moms, and a staggering 84 percent of dads–noted increased participation in their kids’ education, and 76 percent overall called the experience gratifying. It’s highly unlikely that these activated parents will go back to a minor supporting role post-pandemic.

3. New Permanent Place for Online Learning: While just under half the parents in our survey said they would be all-in on bricks-and-mortar at the earliest opportunity, another 43 percent said they’d actually prefer an online or hybrid school experience for their kids going forward. These parents liked the flexibility of time, place, and pace that online learning offers, and they loved the good grades their students earned while learning online. Regardless of the day-to-day mode of schooling their students might have post-pandemic, almost 80 percent approved of online delivery for future interruptions such as snow days.

School districts around the country are paying attention to these newfound realities emerging from our lost year, and are building their post-pandemic online capabilities accordingly. If the collective insight from COVID-19 remote learning is taken to heart and acted upon, perhaps our schools will reflect (and harness) the best of the “new normal” we have all experienced since last spring.

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