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How Education is Continuing By Using Video Conferencing and Collaboration to Enable Distance Learning

Posted by Kevin Gulley

Apr 3, 2020

College professors spend years in school, and some of them have researched deeply into their field of study. Even a high school teacher with a master’s degree has spent five to seven years of postsecondary education to specialize in their particular expertise. Dance instructors spend years honing their craft, and personal athletic trainers have years of accreditation to back up their skill set.

distance-learning-remote-zoomBut most of those semesters spent learning their subject and how to teach it never covered how to correctly use distance learning methods. 

Enter the year 2020 and the new way of doing things. Higher learning, alone, is a 600 billion-dollar industry in the USA, and most of their campuses are shuttered due to coronavirus threats. It seems like, in a moment, everything changed from classroom education to remote classrooms, video streaming, and group meetings.

For context, Mike Cromwell of the UC Buyer had a chance to sit down with Kevin Thomsen with Zoom Communications to ask his perspective on this matter.

Related Blog: Has the Workplace Been Forever Changed by COVID-19?  Broadsoft’s Founder Shares His Perspective

The Staggering Growth of Distance Learning

Kevin tells us, “On the education standpoint, higher ed and then universities, so Stanford was our first real big university that went on board. Eric our CEO went there, they adopted that remote learning via video early on. Online, e-learning.”

What you may not realize is that growth in distance learning was outpacing total enrollment even before COVID-19. Since 2003, the number of students taking at least one online course has grown at a rate greater than that of the overall higher education student body. Since 2009 though, there have been steady year-to-year declines in the rate of growth of online courses with an average growth rate of 3.7 percent. In about half a decade, by 2026, traditional students are expected to make up 61 percent of college enrollment.

Students are increasingly comfortable communicating through technology. Even older learners with careers and families choose this option so they have more control over their life and education. Platforms such as Zoom can enable remote meetings with screen sharing, webcams, and recording. Kevin lets us know how much Zoom is being used, “we have the majority of K-through-12 using our free licenses. Our CEO lifted the 40 minute cap on free users for every real education instituted by K-through-12 to use the video, which is everything.”

Related blog: Choosing the Best Resource for Training Your Target Audience

The Impact of Video Learning

Incorporating video into your lesson is a strong move, because employees are 75% more likely to watch a video than to read documents, emails, or web articles. Recorded video can be replayed any time the employee needs it, referenced repeatedly, and even annotated with notes. According to B2C, using video for remote learning improves engagement, increases knowledge retention, and offers measurable metrics for attention.

Video-first is an organizational communication strategy that places priority on video conferencing tools, as opposed to audio-only conference calls, which is easier than ever in today’s environment. From the Zoom perspective, “to think that in 2020 that we would be at this inflection point, no one could have forecasted it. we're just so happy that we were trying to make video and have successfully made video. More importantly, video-first cultures have allowed that total demographic to truly have a distributed workforce.”

Distance learning with incorporated video provides the facilitator and presenter with options to deliver dynamic content, engage with their learners, and run reports on attendance and interaction. 

In-House Training

In order to learn the new delivery methods for distance learning, professors, teachers, and trainers have had to take crash courses on whichever platform their organization uses. While every system has their own quirks, being able to access learning resources on their own terms is important. Either a knowledge base to answer basic questions, video learning, or even live classes make a huge difference when transitioning from a classic in-person model of instruction to a remote version.

For example, Zoom offers free and interactive live training webinars so even new users can get up to speed quickly. With a variety of lessons such as getting started or administration functions, Zoom enables users to learn the nuances of the platform at their own pace, at the skill level they need to reach for their particular role. “We're just so happy to help our clients,” Kevin reminds us.

Next Steps

Whichever platform your organization chooses, you will need to learn a bit about how to set up classes, how to recall the lessons delivered, and how to do the baseline activities. From there, you can look at making your remote classroom more productive.

You can also watch the interview with Kevin and Mike here to gain a little more insight on what is happening in the world of distance learning:


Topics: Technology, collaboration, telecommuting, Training, Homepage, leadership, Remote Work

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