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2020-02-26

院长观点 | 贾士华:疫情之下,中国为什么需要关注在线教育

新冠病毒的爆发对中国社会造成广泛影响。面对疫情,“互联网+教育”成了特殊时期教学授课的最佳选择。而今年开春的这场在线教学“大练兵”,也让我们看到了在线教育在中国的未来发展前景。

 

在此背景下,浙江大学国际联合商学院贾士华副院长就“疫情之下,中国为什么需要关注在线教育”这一主题,分享了自己的观点。

 

以下为英文原文和中文观点摘要:

 

Living the Moment: Why China Needs to Focus on Education Online.

 

With CoViD-19 disrupting lives across China, we see how the country’s technology engine has stepped in with innovative solutions. The ubiquitous online shopping and WeChat social platform continue to thrive and are now joined by apps like a real-time virus tracker and the Alipay safety code system.

 

We have also seen a massive pivot towards online education as a solution to ensure continuity of study for millions of students who are effectively in quarantine. Alibaba’s DingTalk platform is widely used for synchronous teaching, individual educational providers such as VIPKID and TAL Education are making their courses available to students and the Ministry of Education launched a national internet cloud classroom on 17 February. We see a sudden convergence of national and institutional policy, combining with the existence of homegrown EdTech, which has accelerated online adoption to numbers approaching 100% in the matter of 1 month.

 

Zhejiang University (ZJU), one of the country’s leading public institutions with enrollment of over 54,000 students, is opening its Spring semester according to plan—with all classes being offered digitally. ZJU launched its own online platform in August 2016 and now houses 5,826 courses for its students. In a period of one month, the number of registered students on the platform moved from 68,381 to 85,192, with 25,925 video views. ZJU is planning to massively expand its use of online courses over the next several months.

 

 

The global e-learning market is expected to double by 2025, reaching USD $331 billion. Growth in the market is coming from adoption of EdTech within individual institutions, credit recognition for MOOCs and increasing collaboration between degree-granting institutions and MOOC/online providers. Despite increasing criticism, Online Program Managers (OPMs) remain an attractive solution for institutions to transition online. Wiley, Moodle and 2U have impressive academic client lists—the latest is the announcement of the 2U and LSE launch of 6 new undergraduate online degree programs. And e-learning is seen as a driver of SDG 4, driving inclusiveness and lifelong learning.

China is no stranger to online learning, with an estimated 200 million people enrolled in MOOCS, in 12,500 courses. The China e-learning market was, before CoViD-19, expected to grow by 25% this year.

 

What is fueling the growth of e-learning in China? It does not appear to be an issue related to access. China is the largest higher education market in the world, having enrolled 45 million students in 2018 and considered to have achieved universal participation. The number of graduates in China is projected to continue growing up to 300% by 2030. China’s top 3 universities all appear prominently in international rankings, a trend which is expected to accelerate as institutions continue to internationalize.

 

 

The answer to China’s e-learning market growth may lay in the learning experience itself. Traditional pedagogy in China is based on passive learning and is typically delivered in large lecture halls with little interaction and lots of memorization. But like in many other societies, student generations in China are very comfortable with technology and with on-demand services, creating expectations for individual attention and autonomy that are not met in traditional high-volume education structures. E-learning represents an opportunity for students to have more personal learning experiences and to choose the subjects they wish to study. Platforms like XuetangX, CNMOOC and IMOOC make a variety of courses available to the public in China. At the same time EdTech has brought improved learning outcomes through the integration of AI and adaptive learning. Arguably, this technological shift is leading not only to greater choice of learning but to improved results.

 

 

In addition to learner demand the skills gap is alive and well in China, partially due to the slow rate of change in Chinese universities. While access, as we have seen previously, is not an issue, the relevance of learning for job skills is increasingly questioned. With this in mind, learners are looking to e-learning as a means to fill the gap. Technical skills, such as computer coding, data analytics and digital marketing, are increasingly in demand by employers, but have not become prevalent in non-science domains. Again, learners are turning to e-learning and non-academic bootcamps to fill this space with providers like Le Wagon, 5Win and Uplooking. MOOCs present an attractive menu of topics and skills for the individual to develop skills and insights that are in demand by employers and are seen as necessary tools to succeed.

 

 

While the e-learning market has grown in China, it has not reached its potential. Higher education is highly regulated in China, both in terms of institutional autonomy and degree requirements. As of today, there have not been any online degree programs in China and accepting online credit towards degrees is a gray zone. Because e-learning remains disconnected from higher education and degree pathways the perception of its value and impact is adversely affected, which has perhaps had an impact on adoption.

 

 

So, the question today is, what will happen when things go back to normal and students are once again fully back on campus? Will this be a way forward for e-learning, an opportunity to demonstrate its impact and potential, or will we fall back to the comfort of traditional models and historic educational policy?

China has a great opportunity to expand its e-learning footprint. There is market, scale and technological advantage. The CoViD-19 experience demonstrates, unfortunately in this case, how technology can provide solutions to crisis. It is the moment to allow innovation in education to flourish—learners across the country will benefit, as will academic institutions and the communities we serve. Over this decade we have seen China assume leadership in FinTech–let’s see if the next decade will be Chinese leadership in EdTech.

 

中文部分为观点摘要,敬请参考:

 

疫情之下:中国为什么需要关注在线教育

 

✦ 疫情给线下授课大规模转向线上教育创造了极佳实践机会。阿里巴巴的钉钉平台广泛用于同步教学,各类学校和教育主管部门纷纷鼓励在线教学。浙江大学迅速响应,一个月内浙大在线教学平台的上线学生数和课程数显著增加。在接下来的几个月中,浙大将大规模提升在线课程的使用程度。

 

互联网和开源教育为在线教育创造了大环境。MOOC的学分认证以及学位授予机构与MOOC/在线服务商日益紧密的合作,在线教育市场份额大有增长。到2025年,全球在线教育的市场份额预计会增至一倍,达到3310亿美元。在线教育也被视为实现联合国可持续发展目标(SDG)第四目标的推动力,即可推动包容性和终身学习的发展。

 

中国在线教育发展的推动力,在于这是世界上最大的高等教育市场,取得了公认的普及教育成就。同时,在线教育将带来更好的学习体验,可满足因传统大规模教育结构无法实现的中国年轻人的个性化学习需求。另外,通过整合AI和适应性教育,教育技术性转变会达到更好的学习效果。

 

在线教学也将增加学习与工作技能的相关性。如在商学教育领域,雇主对数据分析和数字营销等技术技能的需求日益增加,但很难在传统教学设计中实现,但利用Le Wagon,5Win和Uplook等服务商则可填补这一空白。MOOC提供了一个颇具吸引力的主题和技能菜单,因此被视为个人成功的必要工具。

 

中国在线教育市场虽然大有潜力,但仍然面临不小挑战。目前,在线教育尚未完全纳入中国各级教育质量监管体系。例如中国的在线学位项目尚不多见,大学学位在线课程学分也处于模糊地带。可以说在线学习与高等教育和学位获取途径存在一定脱节,也使人们对其价值的认知大打折扣,这将对普及线上教育带来负面影响。

 

我们需要真正考虑的是,疫情解除学生回归校园之后,线上教育将何去何从?是继续看到其作用和潜力并不断推进,还是退回到传统教育模式的舒适圈?答案是显而易见的。

 

尽管经历灾祸,但控制新型冠状病毒的经验向我们展示了技术如何能为危机献计献策。中国如今有绝佳的机会扩大在线教育的覆盖面,市场、规模和技术优势明显。现在是教育创新蓬勃发展的时刻——中国各地的学者,学术机构和社区均会由此获益。过去十年,我们有目共睹,中国在金融科技领域中取得了领先地位——让我们拭目以待,下一个十年,中国是否能在教育科技领域中取得领先地位。