How does technology improve distance learning

Audio quality plays a crucial role in digital distance learning

A new study by EPOS shows that educators need to use high quality audio solutions to reduce noise and ease learner fatigue.

May 10th, 2021 Nationwide press release EPOS
  • © EPOS

A rapid fundamental change can be observed in the education system: in the last year alone, around 1.6 billion young people in almost 200 countries were taught outside their classrooms and lecture halls. Pupils, students and teachers alike had to get used to the new reality of distance learning and find new ways to network, communicate with one another and motivate themselves. However, as was the case with the hybrid working trend, the pandemic has also revealed new opportunities and opportunities for innovation and improvement. The new international study "New educational paths with high-quality audio solutions" by Frost & Sullivan on behalf of the audio technology brand EPOS shows ways in which modern learning can be improved. Conclusion: It is becoming more networked, digitized and more efficient.

The immediate and long-term benefits are obvious

For millions of teachers and learners, the abrupt transition to virtual teaching was far from ideal. But the new normal in education also has clear advantages. The transition to virtual teaching can in some cases widen the digital divide. At the same time, however, it turned out that distance learning creates a level playing field: it offers the possibility of making education accessible to the weakest and most marginalized groups of the population.

In addition, it has been shown that virtual lessons bring significant cost savings, which can be attributed to a lower dependency on physical resources and a significantly shorter way to school. This also means that pupils and students learn at their own pace and can easily catch up on or repeat learning material. In addition to the potential for time and cost savings, digitization in education means educators can improve the quality and relevance of their curriculum by updating resources and materials in real time.
Educational institutions around the world are investing in their technologies to enable and improve online and distance learning. This also has longer-term benefits. By learning and working together in virtual space, students are endowed with the kind of organizational talent, emotional intelligence, and self-discipline required to be active in the modern world. While the move to distance learning was difficult at first, many teachers and learners are satisfied with the move to hybrid teaching in the long term. Two-thirds of students in the US would therefore welcome more online courses after the pandemic. In addition, 61 percent say that well-designed online lessons can be just as useful as face-to-face teaching. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, even 90 percent of teachers see new opportunities for digital education - even after the pandemic1.

Poor audio quality leads to more learning fatigue

Efficient learning stands or falls with the motivation of the learner, regardless of the place of learning. While video and content sharing are known to play an important role in digital learning, the importance of high quality audio is often overlooked. Good audio technology can play a crucial role in keeping students focused and engaged. Poor audio quality, on the other hand, can have serious consequences: 35 percent of respondents often feel frustration, irritation and anger, 25 percent experience moments of stress and 15 percent feel embarrassed or a lack of self-confidence. Such experiences could seriously affect learners' ability to concentrate and motivate them to engage and actively participate in the classroom2.

If classmates and teachers are not physically present in the learning environment, it is all too easy to get distracted in virtual lessons. Poor audio quality can additionally affect the emotional and mental well-being of the learner. Audio delays due to a poor internet connection, simultaneous speaking by several participants or background noise from individual participants: There are numerous audio-related problems that can increase stress levels and thus have a negative impact on health.

The need for better network connections and solid audio quality is clear. Because not only learners need to be able to concentrate on what is said. For teachers and other educators, poor audio quality can be devastating when important details are lost. In class, it is crucial that the teacher can hear several voices at the same time, recognize who is speaking and be able to respond to the reactions of the class. Without good audio quality, teachers run the risk of missing out on important information. This can make the learning experience less efficient.

Investing in good audio quality is critical to long-term hybrid learning

Fortunately for many end users, efficient audio equipment goes a long way towards optimizing hybrid learning. According to the EPOS study, 37 percent of respondents believe that the right audio tools can largely reduce misunderstandings. 40 percent believe that this would significantly reduce the need for repeated clarification of information and 37 percent believe that good audio quality would prevent participants from missing important information.

Even if the effects of the pandemic slowly fade, the transition to hybrid models will continue to accompany us. From an industry perspective, distance learning has made it easier to hire teachers - in some cases the number has increased fivefold. In addition, thanks to the shift to online teaching, the percentage of teachers and lecturers planning to quit their profession has halved since 20193.

“Virtual teaching means that you can teach and learn anywhere, every day - in the classroom, at home or on the go. The future of digital learning is already a reality. For teachers and learners in the virtual classroom, even if you miss just 1 percent of what is said, this often becomes a 100 percent problem, "explains Jeppe Dalberg-Larsen, President of EPOS. "In order for hybrid teaching to remain efficient, teachers and learners must recognize the importance of optimizing concentration and understanding through the use of high-quality audio equipment."

1fobbiz survey "Corona in Education: Crisis or Opportunity" 2021
2EPOS - Report “Understanding Sound Experiences” 2020
3 National Foundation for Educational Research - July 2020