** Gen Z – and their teachers – say online learning is here to stay **

** In a major survey, 6 in 10 teens favour blended learning, wanting some or all lessons online and 8 in 10 teachers want it to become a permanent fixture of classroom practice **

Throughout lockdown, online learning has proved a lifeline for students up and down the country, and with all students due to be back in school from September, a ‘blended’ learning approach – which combines online and classroom teaching – looks here to stay.

According to a survey by content provider GCSEPod, the ‘lockdown effect’ – which has seen students flocking in record numbers to its site – could have a profound and lasting impact on teaching practices for generations to come.

Of the 5,000 students surveyed:

  • 64% said they wanted online learning to form all or part of their studies. Within this, 29% said they would like to do at least half of their work online and 10% said they wanted all their lessons to be online.

Of the 800 teachers surveyed:

  • Over half said blended learning was here to stay and over 80% said they were comfortable with online learning being a permanent fixture of teaching.

Used by 430,000 secondary school students, the online learning site has seen a recent surge in engagement from 14 and 15 year-olds, with its easily streamed and downloadable content available to watch at any hour of the day on any device. The platform appears to have struck a chord with teenagers who can spend small chunks of time studying, when it suits them, on their chosen device. 

1 million ready-made assignments have been submitted – and marked – by teachers, since lockdown – more than in the past two years combined.

Co-founder and Director of GCSEPod Anthony Coxon said:
“Our platform reaches young learners through something they already love – technology. It works around busy schedules, allowing students to focus on their most pressing needs, and receive quick and instructive feedback.

“It cuts the workload of teachers with its easy trouble-shooting tools and by engaging students who may not feel confident asking questions in the classroom, whether real or virtual / online.
“The current crisis has only served to strengthen the case for blended learning in schools. Online learning has earned its place at the table, and when combined with strong classroom-based practice, can be a great enabler and leveller. It’s clear that it is here to stay.”

GCSEPod provides short three to five-minute audio-visual learning aids, known as Pods, written by skilled specialists across 27 different subjects. Students can take assessment into their own hands and test their knowledge using the unique Check and Challenge feature and receive instant feedback, which immediately highlights any knowledge gaps they may have. Teachers can see how well their students are progressing and, because of the way the feature has been developed, how they are thinking, making it very easy to see where they may need additional support. 

Zabar Hussain, Head of IT at Eden Girls’ Leadership Academy, Birmingham, said:

“The key is to use GCSEPod in parallel with lessons, so for every topic/lesson taught teachers set the appropriate GCSEPod homework task.  It works as a flip tool mechanism, with pupils accessing the pods prior to their lessons, enabling the teacher to discuss and cement the learning in the classroom.”

The Pods can be viewed on a smartphone by students who do not have access to a laptop or tablet.  Content can be downloaded, watched offline and the collateral that accompanies perfect ‘catch-up’ programmes like Achieve English and Maths can be printed and sent home from school, should the students not have access to the internet.  

In terms of subject area, Maths has seen one of the biggest surges in Pod downloads since lockdown, with a 50% increase from pre-lockdown levels, which suggests students are serious about improving in core subjects. With demand so high, GCSEPod has announced a partnership with the BBC on Bitesize Daily Maths lessons for teenagers, making its content available more widely.