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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Joan Ramón Castelló: “In online training you have to be realistic about the time you have and have the support of your family”

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You could say that in terms of time, the outbreak and development of the pandemic has meant that education has taken place in just two years on-line developed as it would otherwise have done 10. The benefits of the model are obvious: greater flexibility in studying (when and where); a learning pace that adapts to each student’s circumstances; and costs that are generally lower than traditional face-to-face courses. The downsides, a higher risk of dropping out, less interaction with faculty and students, and some distrust of the quality of teaching in a hybrid or digital environment, an extreme that the experts flatly dismiss.

“Quality does not depend on methodology, technology or price, but essentially on the institutions and, above all, on the people behind them. thanks to education on-line, Both the teacher and the student can be anywhere in the world, so having the best specialist in the world teaching a subject is already possible,” says Joan Ramón Castelló, co-founder of Emagister. “We have the most obvious example in MOOCs, virtual courses Taught for free by the best universities in the world. With them we can take courses from Harvard, Yale or MIT, among others,” he adds. EL PAÍS checks the status of the training with Castelló on-line, What are the challenges and the best tips to make the most of it?

Questions. What would you say are the biggest challenges for education? on-line?

Answer. I would name four. First of all, the confidence of the students. Although it is now more of a generational issue than a real issue, there is still reluctance to choose a major on-line compared to other face-to-face. Then there is the training of teachers: in training on-line Teachers no longer need to be just experts in their subject, they also need to master the technology to make the most of it and not lose students’ attention.

The other two have to do with the dropout rate, which, while not comparable to what it was four or five years ago, is still a very big challenge; and the lack of community. Although there are tools for communication, most virtual trainings do not achieve the level of complicity between students that exists in face-to-face training and result in the training being more lonely.

P Which disciplines have better employability?

He knows all sides of the coin in detail.

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R Currently, the major employability majors are VT, including Administrative Management and Finance, Application Development, Computer Network Systems, and Health (e.g. Advanced Nursing Assistant Degree and Advanced Laboratory Technician). When it comes to university degrees, ADE (Business Administration and Management), technical computer science and industrial engineering have been leading for several years; Nursing and medicine also maintain high demand volumes, and demand for math and engineering graduates for jobs related to advanced information processing or artificial intelligence systems development continues to grow. The healthcare sector doubled its demand in 2020 as a result of the pandemic, due to the need for professionals but also due to the collective sense of gratitude that was generated.

For Master’s degrees, Emagister’s biggest demand is concentrated on MBAs (with some boom in CHAIRMAN, less academic and more focused on solving and developing cases than the classic ones), in addition to Master’s degrees in Engineering, Development of software Y big data. On the other hand, there are the official master’s degrees, which enable access to professions such as nursing, teaching or law, as well as those related to commercial areas.

P How can you avoid the risk of dropping out that a student often faces? on-line?

R. The first thing is to choose the formation well. While it may seem silly, a significant percentage of exercise dropouts on-line They are of course caused by choosing the wrong course. In order not to end up disappointed and unmotivated, it is crucial to know in advance the items of the agenda, the prerequisites, the technology used, the duration and the evaluation methodology. Career opportunities and the experiences and opinions of former students can also be important factors.

The second thing is to be realistic with the time available. After choosing the training and before registering, we must analyze whether we have enough time to follow the course and what compromises we have to make at a professional (and above all personal) level. In this last aspect, it is crucial that the family is an accomplice and that we agree from the start on how much time we will not devote to them and for what period. And of course it’s important to be strict; Keeping homework and lessons up to date so we don’t accumulate work and can keep up with the pace of lessons.

Questions. Not staying with doubts, no matter how basic they may seem, will help us to process all issues well. In this aspect it is very important to constantly communicate with the teachers and make the most of tutorials if they exist.

Don’t let technology be a brake. If we take the necessary time to get to know virtual platforms well, we will feel comfortable and calm and we will avoid frustrations that distract us from the goals set. Of course, a fast, uninterrupted connection will be key to focus all our efforts on what really matters.

To interact. In the formations in which we can communicate with our colleagues, we should not miss the opportunity to share our experiences with them. It will help us not to feel alone and build a team.

P What factors should be considered when choosing a good educational center? on-line?

R In general, the factors are the same as for face-to-face training, because although there was a clear distinction between specialized and non-specialized centers in the years before the pandemic, today the difference is minimal. In general, in addition to knowing the syllabus, duration and characteristics of the course, it is important to seek the opinion of former students of the same training or, if it is a new one, of those who have carried out similar programs in the same center.

The role of innovation and new technologies is essential in the development of education on-line. There must be few people who haven’t used a tool to communicate with family or friends during the pandemic. The same tools have helped debunk some of the training myths on-line, because they have shown us that efficient communication between teachers and students is not only possible, but also already takes place in private life.

P What are the best techniques, resources and methods that can be found in a virtual or hybrid environment today?

R Even if the most relevant quality factor is still that of the institutions and the teachers, it is very important that the course is not just a matter of digitizing content offline. Also that the platforms used for learning allow agile communication between teacher and student and, above all, correct learning and appropriation of the topic.

A new trend that is working better and better is to schedule synchronous classes, where teachers and students connect at the same time and discuss a specific case. Students need to prepare their presentation on the topic and share opinions with the rest of the class.

P How is the relationship with teachers in education usually? on-line?

R The quality and intensity of the student-teacher relationship is highly dependent on the particular university, faculty or center. Although the universities that have been specialists in non-personal modalities for many years (UOC, UNIR, etc.) have developed much more communication and relationship techniques on-line (synchronous or asynchronous) with their students, most schools have had to adapt very quickly during the pandemic. Typically, virtual education teaching staff are closer to the labor market, more diverse and, in some cases, multi-national.

There are formations on-line specially designed for this methodology, where the relationship between teacher and student is much greater than in the classic university. However, synchronous communication tends to be lower, a factor that can reduce motivation and understanding of the lesson. The autonomy of the students is much greater in the training on-line, what should reinforce the value of zero-attendance degrees; but it is also true that it can affect the commitment and level of abandonment of the enrolled. It very much depends on each program and even on each teacher.

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