Exactly 4 weeks back, my kid’s school closed down as a preventive measure against Coronavirus. A move all parents and caregivers welcomed with open arms! A week later, my husband’s company implemented a to-and-fro travel ban, meaning as the Sales Head he was not to engage in any face-to-face meeting with his clients. This homeboundnesswas compounded in just another week as my company followed suit and issued a remote working policy for me and 79 other UpsideLMSers. And then, just like that, our “normal” was swapped with a“new normal” as we now work FROM, and FOR, home.
can I go out to play with my friends?” comes an innocence-loaded question
from my 6-year old that’s hard to say “NO” to.
baby, you know that we can’t hang out other people, right? It’s why your school
was called off too,” I try to remind him of ‘social distancing’, but to a
tender brain it doesn’t mean anything other than an extended summer vacation!
COVID-19, what’s that?!
my friends still go to school”, he tells me nonchalantly.
Really?” I say almost choking on my breakfast.
“Yes mumma,<name> and<name>
have classes everyday!”
With schools being locked down due
to COVID-19, educators across the world have switched to online learningto
ensure ‘learning doesn’t stop’. Hundreds and thousands of school- and college-going
children now attend virtual lectures, submit assignments and take up
assessments and courses – all from their comforts of their homes.
Not just that, with many schools
and colleges closed, companies such as Byju’s,
Unacademy and Vedantu are offering free access to live classes.
has put together a complete list of distance learning tools comprising educational
applications, platforms and resources to help parents, teachers, schools and
school administrators facilitate student learning and provide social care and
interaction during periods of school closure.
Children learn remotely during the COVID-19
However, relying on remote learning and online classes also exposes deep digital divides in our society with the transition to digital learning being especially challenging within lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color.
The story repeats itself in all
countries – developing as well as the developed ones. While students in more
affluent pockets are able to switch to classes using theirpersonal devices and platforms
like Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, many poverty stricken children are
being left behind.A UNESCO report estimates that the coronavirus pandemic will
adversely impact over
290 million students across 22 countries!
The Distributed Workforce
In addition to the serious
implications on education, coronavirus has disrupted businessesworldwide as
governments across the world impose curfews in a bid to contain the spread of the
This disruption has taken form of
remote working, as organizations rolled out work from home policies for their
white-collar workforce, replacedin-person meetings with virtual conferences,
implemented travel bans.Companies
are testing technological capabilities, emergency notification systems and
updating employee contact information at an unprecedented rate. Employees have
been advised to take their laptops or other portable equipment home and convert
their homespace into a make-shift workspace. IT staff has been working
round-the-clock to help employees set up remote connections at home, sometimes
on employees’ personal computers too.
The UpsideLMS team works from home
Management has become as way of life for millions of office workers
worldwide as we learn and unlearn our ways of communication, reporting,
learning and coping.
In short, widespread
remote work has become a “gigantic test” conducted on an “unprecedented
scale” across the world as the Coronavirus outbreak runs havoc in our lives and
It’s not just remote working, but
‘remote learning’ too as IBM decides to hold its “Think 2020” client and
developer conference and its “PartnerWorld” for business partners as “a global,
digital-first event” with a combination of live streamed content, interactive
sessions, certification, and locally hosted events.Organizational L&D
interventions too are undergoing a rapid shift from Classroom Training (ILT) to
a Blended Learning approach with eLearning, Mobile Learning and Virtual
Classroom.For organizations that do not have online training, COVID-19 has
paved the way for eLearning.
Providers of Learning Management Systems and eLearning content have come forward in support of those distressed with the pandemic by offering their platforms, videos and courses free (head over to Plethora Free Trial to access a free Pandemic Awareness Video
Plethora offers a Free for all Pandemic
But as the digital divide makes its
presence felt for learners with regard to their ability to access learning,
governmentenforced rules and laws also create a divide for the providers. In
skill development and entrepreneurship ministry has issued an advisory to its
affiliated institutes to remain closed as per state governments’ directives
amid the Covid-19 outbreak, potentially slowing down the pace of skills
training in the country.
In times where physical isolation
and social distancing seems to be a test of our resilience, patience and
humanity, technology is truly a blessing.
As my colleague, Amar
Pawar, writes on LinkedIn:
– Businesses continue to function
and survive with work from home policies. Thanks to cloud, remote connectivity & communication tech.
– Food, medicines, other essentials
and non-essentials are delivered home. Thanks to eCommerce.
– Your entertainment is delivered
right to your home and even to you phones. Thanks to online streaming services.
– You continue to stay in touch
with your loved ones in this time of physical isolation. Thanks totelecom and social media.
– You continue to learn and skill. Thanks to Learning Management Systems and Online Content Marketplaces.
As a recent Harvard
Business Review article observed, “When the urgent part of the crisis has
been navigated, companies should consider what this crisis changes and what
they’ve learned so they can reflect them in their plans.” Also it’s wise to be
mindful of the fact that Covid-19 is not a one-off challenge. It’s critical to prepare
for the next crisis. The research on the effectiveness of organizational
responses to dynamic crises indicates that there is one variable which is most
predictive of eventual success – preparation and preemption.
As I preempt another situation of the husband and me heading to the same
room at the same time for a virtual conference call and prepare to have the door knocked at by my kid, I wish all of you a
safe and healthy remote working. This too
month that was’ is a monthly column covering the hot and the happening in the
eLearning, L&D and learning technology space presented in a light,
easy-to-digest format. While the aim of these posts is to keep the HR and the
Learning & Development fraternity abreast with the latest news and views,
it is a vent out for the author, Pranjalee Lahri, who deals with a
one-and-a-half men pair – her hubby and her 6-year old son – as she moonlights
as a wife and a mother.