E-learning here to stay, says Newcastle online education specialist

A Newcastle education platform has seen a major increase in online learning since the start of the pandemic, saying secondary school students are embracing online learning like never before.

Directors at GCSEPod says the coronavirus pandemic is continuing to reshape the UK’s education system, having seen a steep rise in Key Stage 4 students across the UK and overseas accessing its content since schools reopened in September.

October saw in excess of 1.2m of the education-on-demand service’s GCSE revision and learning videos – known as Pods – watched by students, a 58% increase over September.

The Newcastle-based company’s Check and Challenge assessment system also saw a 133% month-on-month leap in October in the number of questions attempted across the 10 GCSE subjects covered by the resource.

Anthony Coxon, co-founder and director of GCSEPod, which is a division of Soundbitelearning UK Ltd, said the increasing demand was evidence of the growing popularity of remote learning after the coronavirus pandemic forced UK schools to close their doors in March, with the majority not reopening until the start of the autumn term.

He said: “The nationwide closure of schools saw a complete shift to online learning for all age groups. But while classroom lessons have now resumed, our figures show that remote learning is not being put on the back burner with schools adopting new hybrid models of teaching, and secondary students continuing to embrace digital alternatives to help power their education.

“The most compelling evidence for this comes from our ground-breaking Check and Challenge evaluation resource, which doesn’t just test student knowledge but offers scaffolded support via hints, multiple choice options and feedback statements to promote learning.

“This October saw a massive 275% growth in questions tackled across the sciences, history geography and computer science, with maths seeing a 41% increase over September and English coming in at 36%.

“These are amazing statistics, and as Check and Challenge is explicitly a self-assessment resource, I believe this shows not just a clear desire amongst students to take charge of their own learning, but how comfortable they are engaging with EdTech.”

GCSEPod has been at the forefront of remote learning for more than a decade, and is the brainchild of chartered accountant Ian Thompson, who was struggling to support his teenage son’s efforts to revise for his GCSEs back in 2008.

He teamed up with Anthony Coxon, who was working in advertising and marketing at the time, and the pair spent the next two years developing Mr Thompson’s initial idea until it was ready to launch in schools in 2010.

The company joined forces with the BBC in June to make maths content freely available to millions of children caught up in the national lockdown.

It joined the likes of Sir David Attenborough, renowned physicist Professor Brian Cox, EastEnders actor Danny Dyer and Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker on BBC Bitesize.

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