Virtual learning is emerging as one of the sectors benefiting from the lockdown as companies turn to remote ways of maintaining their training programmes.
Law firm Brodies is the latest in recent weeks to unveil a distance training sessions, following similar announcements from Royal Bank of Scotland and foreign language teaching organisation TEFL.
More than 120 newly qualified lawyers have already signed up for Brodies’ initiative which has the support of the Law Society of Scotland.
With an initial programme of 12 seminars covering a range of topics, the weekly sessions will run until mid-August to ensure that newly-qualified lawyers can continue learning at a time when training and development opportunities may be limited.
Brodies managing partner, Nick Scott, said: “We have a responsibility to our sector, and to those at the beginning of their legal careers, to do what we can to provide learning and development opportunities.
“Ongoing social distancing measures mean that many of the traditional routes to training are no longer available.”
Law Society of Scotland, chief executive, Lorna Jack, described the programme as “invaluable for those at the start of their careers. I very much commend Brodies for taking this great initiative.”
RBS has introduced home-based virtual learning activities to this year’s summer internship programme.
The bank has decided to scale back its usual 10-week summer programme, which would usually see interns undertaking supervised work in teams working across the UK.
Instead, the 170 interns will take part in some virtual learning activities, developing their knowledge of the bank and essential soft skills.
The bank has also confirmed 50 apprentices from less advantaged backgrounds will still join this year’s Social Mobility Apprenticeship Programme in October, which runs in London, Edinburgh and Manchester.
The apprenticeships will last between two and four years and go up to degree level. A further 140 apprentices will join the bank’s other apprentice programmes in February 2021.
Alison Rose, chief executive of RBS, said: “I am very pleased we are able to offer these opportunities to our interns and apprentices during what is a very difficult time. I look forward to welcoming this year’s cohort of young people to the bank.”
Those with a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) qualification who want to gain practical experience of teaching online has been launched to meet the rapidly growing demand for remote learning.
The new Online Teaching Practicum from The TEFL org is the first course of its kind to offer online teaching experience to individuals before they start tutoring students of English remotely. It is designed to help individuals gain further qualifications, skills and experience before heading out into the world of online English language teaching.
With the recent surge in online working and with many people being furloughed as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, The TEFL org has experienced a 170% growth year-on-year in worldwide sales of its courses between May 2019 and April this year.
The Online Teaching Practicum is consists of three two-hour online sessions, over three days, hosted on Zoom. This allows students to get hands-on teaching practice and familiarise themselves with Zoom and its functions.
Jennifer Mackenzie, managing director of The TEFL org, said: “We have seen a significant growth in interest in teaching English online, especially at the moment due to the current Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.”
Universities are moving some course work online. Even before the pandemic, the online education market was expected to be worth $350 billion by 2025, according to Research and Markets.
Whether it is language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, or online learning software, there has been a significant surge in usage since COVID-19 made physical learning impractical.
Data from the worldwide lockdown is yet to be compiled but a “hybrid” form of learning is likely to be a consequence, supported by research showing that on average, students retain 25-60% more content when learning online compared to 8-10% in a classroom.