Learn from Home – Virtual Classrooms in the times of Coronavirus

The Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic has pushed humanity and its most vulnerable sections to the brink, and that is a given. The most vulnerable sections of the society namely – the children, young adults, senior citizens and those with any pre-existing conditions are the ones who are already, or about to face the brunt of the rapidly infecting disease. But for those of us who out of the benevolence of our employers or the necessity of our educational institutions been forced to self-quarantine ourselves into our homes, this presents an opportunity like no other. An opportunity to learn.

A Stanford study pointed out that the productivity of the workforce increased by upto 13% on account of Working From Home(WFH). If that be the case, then this study can easily be extrapolated to ‘Learn From Home’ or as the millennial would call it – LFH. We all would like to be afforded the opportunity to learn at our own paces and in an environment that is largely within our control. Universities and colleges seldom provide such an opportunity. In India, for instance, many universities and colleges be it engineering or medical or management or law or plain old basic studies like humanities and pure sciences, enforce a strict dress code, which is not to be violated come what may. It is an institution of higher education, a seat of higher learning you see.

Virtual Classrooms for Higher Education changes all that. The professor from the comfort of his home or office using bare minimum hardware gear like a camera, a headphone, a microphone and a half decent software can engage a student sitting miles away and actively recreate the magic of his classroom. And to top everything off, latest technologies in the field make for a pretty compelling experience, as they can enable whiteboards – both physical and virtual to give the professors as well as the students the illusion of an actual classroom. In engineering and medical sciences, virtual classrooms take all the more center stage as these virtual white boards make drawing complex technical diagrams as well writing equations and theorems, a breeze.

Virtual Classroom Solutions for Coaching Institutions present an even greater opportunity. This opportunity will outlast the pandemic. Coaching classes running on a staple of having a higher footfall in their classrooms for preparation of competitive examinations, may think of this as an opportunity to net students who would otherwise not be physically attending the classroom course. The virtual classroom system once installed with a state of the art hardware setup and a compatible software would open up an additional revenue stream for the enterprise which would be in gross addition to the revenue the classes are making through physical sessions.

As Tom Peters once said, ‘if a window of opportunity appears, do not pull down the shade’, it is upto us to willingly buck the trend, which in anyways is driven by doom and gloom and make the most out of the situation. The ebbs and flows of any institution are governed by the ability of its leaders to see opportunities before anyone else does and help guide the institution to greener pastures. And with a little bit of planning and a sprinkling of luck, that is not all too difficult.

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