With the COVID-19 global pandemic, most governments around the world have taken actions to temporarily closedown the schools and educational institutes, in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus. These nationwide closures have a higher impact on the student population in Sri Lanka and worldwide. With this, distance learning is emerging and is evolving quicker than expected in Sri Lanka, facilitating the continuity of education with lesser or no disruptions.
As a teacher or a student, having a mobile phone or a laptop/tab with an internet connection is more than sufficient to offer or access distance learning facility. On a positive note, there is a higher internet penetration in Sri Lanka, however, the biggest challenge to initiate distance learning is not the unavailability of facilities and resources but, the resistance to change.
As Asia Pacific Institute of Digital Marketing, a free webinar was conducted on 31st March 2020, with the title: “Using Digital Technology into Distance Learning During a Global Crisis”. The purpose of this special webinar was to educate students, parents, teachers and lecturers on the importance of using digital technology in carrying out educational programs as well as the benefits and how the virtual classroom can successfully replace the physical classroom. The session was hosted by a panel of veterans including Mr. Amithe Gamage - Marketing & Entrepreneurship consultant, Mr. Sanjaya Elvitigala - Founder & CEO of elearning.lk and Mr. Amitha Amarasinghe - COO of Ogilvy Digital Sri Lanka; who conducted an insightful discussion around the topic.
The webinar also educated the participants about the online learning platforms available in order to successfully deliver lectures and how they can ensure a proper learning experience for students via virtual classroom. Moreover, Mr. Sanjaya did few demonstrations on how to create a virtual classroom and the tools/features available for the teachers to deliver the lecture and for the students to communicate real time with the teacher and clarify doubts similar to a situation in a physical classroom. We believe that this webinar has shed light into the opportunities that the distance learning systems provide for both students and teachers in order to continue their education without a hassle and make the best use of time during a global pandemic.