Remote learning expands on a global scale

March 18, 2020

As schools and universities remain closed around the world, increasing numbers of students are following remote learning courses

Remote learning expands on a global scale

Across the world, schools and universities are closing and directing students to remote learning platforms.  This level of expansion is unprecedented and is creating a golden opportunity for EdTech companies that provide these services.

In China, which was the first country to be affected by the crisis, demand is so high that EdTech companies are struggling to meet demand.  Yuanfudao, a large provider in China, recently crashed when streaming free live courses.  It has a paying userbase of over 1 million students.

In the US, which recently declared a national state of emergency, school districts and universities are ramping up their efforts to provide online learning opportunities for students.  Education publishing giant Scholastic has launched a free Learn at Home portal with activities designed to keep children engaged for up to 20 days.  Coursera, based in California, announced that it will make its platform available entirely for free, for up to 5000 students per university until the end of July.

“ As more and more teachers, students, and families around the world are affected by the coronavirus, our priority is to support them in the best way we know how—by providing them with rich stories and meaningful projects that will keep kids academically active… ” Lauren Tarshis, Senior Vice President & Editor-in-Chief/Publisher, Scholastic Classroom Magazines

Many other companies that provide VLE type services are offering free temporary access to their platforms.  In the UK, Firefly Learning and Century are two examples that have publicly advertised this option.  Firefly is working around the clock to scale its infrastructure to cope with the surge in demand.  Century is a platform that incorporates AI and neuroscience to deliver personalised content to students and it is expanding rapidly at this time.

Unfortunately many countries lack the infrastructure to provide distance learning and rural areas are likely to be particularly affected.  Governments are working to tackle this digital divide through offering discounted internet access and by providing free hardware to homes.