Skip to content

Blended learning is the new normal

Education at KTH is going to change for ever. Based on the lessons we have learned from the pandemic period, a mix of physical and online learning will be the future. However, we may need to pay a bit more attention to those students arriving this autumn who may well have spent half their upper secondary school time in front of a computer screen.

Choosing technology that supports learning is easier now than before, as digital solutions for this are now available and being developed for this purpose.

Several different reports show what the enormous amount of knowledge lost during this period has meant for our upper secondary school students when teachers and students have been working remotely. Both on a personal and a socio-economic level. According to a piece in Skolvärlden (in Swedish) this can amount to billions for society in the long-term.

This was one of the reasons why I chose to take the decisions in late May and early June, to open our campuses and that more staff should return and work on site again. To ensure that we will be ready to welcome our new students at the start of the semester.

Naturally, this was also in the light if the favourable forecasts concerning infection rates and vaccinations published by the Swedish Public Health Agency. These decisions chime well with the ending from 1 June of the recommendation that education should be organised remotely which was decided by the authorities.

When it comes to our employees, their jobs will also include a blend of physical and work, and here hopefully, our travel habits will change. Rather than flying for a short meeting in London or Singapore, it has become far more acceptable to meet via screens instead. These days, there are sensible, acceptable and more sustainable options than routine travel for the sake of it.

Now we can all look forward to an autumn that will include new meetings and new opportunities, something that I imagine, most of us have been longing for. It is said that creativity and innovation arise in times of crisis in order to find new solutions.  We have genuinely seen this within both research and education when the pandemic struck.  Now when we are entering a new and more mixed existence within many sectors of society, including research, working life and education, it is perhaps time for this again.

What is important for KTH is to evaluate the whole picture; what has worked well and what has worked less well. This is something the whole of society needs to do, to ensure working lives in the future will be both productive and sustainable in the long-term where the focus of each individual is balanced with the focus of the organisation.