While it may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about education, content creation is a fundamental part of teaching. Content partners and providers have always been an essential part of higher education, helping produce the materials necessary to teach top-notch classes. However, the role of content providers has changed significantly since the spread of COVID-19.
The pandemic has led to a dramatic shift in how high education facilities approach technology in the classroom. The demand for technology has grown, with both students and educators requesting more support and more solutions. As a result, the role of content providers has changed and grown. Keep reading to learn the value of content partners in education, how they can impact the teaching process, and why a good content partner is worth the investment.
How Content Providers Support Higher Education
The term “content provider” can sound like a buzzword, but in reality, educational content providers have been around as long as the idea of education. Any type of teaching that relies on more than a teacher talking to students involves content, and someone needs to create it. Educational content includes both traditional and modern resources such as:
- Homework sheets
- Demonstration videos
- Case studies
- Interactive models
Content providers are the people and organizations who develop these materials. Some teachers are highly independent and provide all content themselves. However, many more educators and institutions rely on outside organizations to develop high-quality materials that can integrate with lesson plans to make them more engaging.
This relationship is invaluable for several reasons. First, it lets educators focus on actually teaching their students instead of writing and building materials from scratch. Content providers give teachers the time and freedom to teach the students in front of them.
Second, it helps institutions connect with outside experts who have specifically studied how to develop engaging materials. The skillsets required to guide students through a course and create an engaging, accurate textbook or video are related but not the same. Teachers may not have the skills to make the content they need, so content providers fill an essential niche.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education and Content Providers
The pandemic has hit few industries as hard as higher education. COVID-19 forced educational institutions to change how they support and teach their students. In particular, the pandemic dramatically accelerated the eLearning trend that was already underway.
The pandemic push toward eLearning has affected every aspect of the educational world, especially the value of content providers. Here’s why the pandemic has made partnerships with quality educational content providers more critical than ever:
Teachers needed help producing more content: The shift to online learning was stressful for many, but no one faced more difficulties than educators. Teachers were trying to support their students, maintain their course schedules, and simultaneously adapt to an entirely new teaching model.
On top of that, many teachers already spent significant time outside of their teaching hours to grade assignments and create new materials. Teachers were quickly overwhelmed because they simply didn’t have the time to create additional content.
However, new materials were necessary. Without the ability to teach in person, educators needed things that could help educate students and fill class time in a digital setting. Content providers were the best option to fill that gap.
Schools needed assistance producing “online ready” content: Beyond day-to-day teaching and lectures, educational facilities need to provide materials for their students. When the pandemic hit, it became clear that many schools simply did not have any content that was “online ready” or easy to share over the internet. Schools found they had no way to quickly provide things like recorded lectures, secure digital tests, and online homework assignments.
This was a problem. Without ways to share easily-used online content, schools couldn’t support their educators. This put extra pressure on teachers to solve the problem of running online classes alone.
Content providers solved that problem. Good educational content providers offer online ready content that’s easy to interact with and share.
There was a general lack of readily-available remote learning content: Even schools that did have the ability to provide online content found that they couldn’t access remote learning content for certain classes. It was especially challenging to find quality remote learning content in higher education and life sciences classes.
For example, anatomy and physiology classes typically relied on in-person demonstrations and hands-on learning. Without that content, these courses simply weren’t as practical. Schools that couldn’t find good remote learning content for these courses let down their students, who expected a certain standard of education.
Specialized content providers helped fill these niches. They could dedicate the resources and time to developing remote learning content for even the most hands-on courses.
The Rise of Blended Learning in Higher Education
Since the pandemic’s peak at the end of 2020, many educational institutions have begun returning to in-person courses. However, not all students have been willing or able to return to the classroom. Furthermore, many institutions and instructors remain hesitant to require entirely in-person attendance. As a result, blended learning has become one of the most popular approaches for higher education over the past year.
Blended learning is the practice of combining both in-person labs and lectures and online learning experiences in the same class. The exact mix of blended learning programs depends on the institution and the courses in question. Blended learning can include practices like livestreaming in-person lectures, permitting proctored online tests, requiring homework to be submitted online, and using digital materials in the classroom. It typically relies on learning management systems, or LMS platforms, to provide a cohesive educational experience for in-person and online students alike.
This educational model provides the right blend of flexibility and reliability for instructors who are remaining cautious. Students can choose to attend virtually or in person, depending on their health and needs. Every student can access the same resources, so the quality of their education doesn’t suffer if they feel the need to stay home.
Blended learning isn’t just a reaction to the pandemic, of course. It’s also a valuable educational technique on its own. Blended learning’s benefits include:
- Permitting non-traditional students to attend the same classes as traditional students.
- Offering flexibility for students of all types.
- Providing more efficient content delivery.
- Expanding the potential student base of educational organizations to underprivileged areas.
- Allowing greater learning personalization through artificial intelligence programs capable of customizing content to fit students’ needs.
With good content providers, blended learning can even offer higher-quality education and materials than standard in-person courses.
Many institutions are finding this blended learning model to be more effective than entirely online or in-person teaching. Blended learning will likely remain a significant part of higher education even after the pandemic has completely receded.
The Long-Term Value of Content Providers for Educational Institutions
The short-term benefits of educational content providers are clear. Working with a content provider can help institutions quickly set up online and blended learning options and fill content gaps in courses.
That doesn’t mean that content providers don’t provide long-term value. Partnering with the right content provider can actually create long-term and even lifetime value for educational institutions. Here’s how these academic partners continue creating value throughout their relationship with an institution.
Saving Staff Resources
Teachers already put in a lot of extra work outside of their nominal working hours to give their students the best possible learning experience. Even in non-pandemic conditions, teachers who try to produce all their content on their own aren’t using their resources as efficiently as possible.
By removing the burden of content development from educators, eLearning content providers give them the gift of time. Instead of using their time and energy to generate materials, they can use those resources to focus on students. They can supplement their learning experiences with things like simulations and interactive content, or they can use entire modules. Either way, a good content provider lets your educators focus on what they do best: teaching.
Reducing Technology Expenses
By working with an educational content provider, you can also reduce your technology costs. A great content partner should have the infrastructure to support all your eLearning needs. You won’t need to navigate and pay for multiple platforms or servers to host all your material.
Instead, your content partner will manage those concerns. Your online courses will be hosted alongside your interactive content, homework assignments, and tests. Working with just one partner can streamline your costs and avoid paying double for redundant features. That helps keep your technology costs down while still providing a competent, engaging collection of eLearning courses.
Improving Technology and Delivery
Similarly, content providers are constantly working to improve how they deliver content to users. The entire purpose of these organizations is to make it as easy as possible for teachers and students to engage in coursework. A good partner will always keep its technology up-to-date and support delivery on as many systems as possible.
This is why some content providers have begun moving into the learning management system space in many ways. It’s a natural fit that makes it easier for institutions to offer coherent courses.
For example, when your LMS also creates the materials you want to use for your classes, it simplifies the delivery process significantly. There’s no need to upload every video and hope that it works. The learning platform allows you to connect students directly to the content you want them to see.
Meanwhile, eLearning content creators are also continually improving their content and its formatting. Part of the beauty of online learning is using modern technology to handle tasks that formerly could only be done in person. The right content partner will support modern technology tools like:
- 3D modeling: In particular, life sciences classes benefit from 3D visualizations that students can examine from all angles.
- Interactive modules: Blended learning courses can use interactive modules to offer a more engaging experience to online students.
- Course and product support: As technology changes, it’s only natural for courses to need support, and good learning platform partners will provide it as necessary.
- Proctoring: The ability to accurately test students makes a significant difference in the dependability of a blended learning course. The best learning platforms will provide secure online proctoring to keep the testing process credible.
Offering Access to Up-to-Date Content
Alongside the technological benefits, content providers can also help you stay on top of state-of-the-art education. Fields like the life sciences are constantly seeing new developments and updated information. Relying on physical documents can quickly lead you to teach out-of-date content, compromising the quality of education you provide. A good content partner will prevent that.
The entire purpose of a content provider is to provide up-to-date information. With an experienced digital content partner, that information can be updated without you having to lift a finger. The provider is constantly working on content development, keeping the information in line with the most recent discoveries.
As a result, you never need to worry about teaching outdated information or inaccurate modules. You can trust that the modules and content in your partner’s course library will be accurate, trustworthy, and ready to teach.
Improving Student and Teacher Satisfaction
Last but not least, an excellent learning platform with up-to-date eLearning content can lead to improved satisfaction among your students and educators alike.
How? It’s because modern students have been raised in the post-internet world. As time goes on, so have more and more educators. This makes technological improvement an easy way to help younger staff and students engage with the material more effectively. The digital elements of blended learning classes appeal to how more recent generations prefer to interact with new information, making it more engaging and easier to access.
Furthermore, everyone in the academic world has a vested interest in the quality of the education involved. By using blended learning to provide more comprehensive education, you can increase student and teacher satisfaction at the same time.
Choosing the Right Educational Content Partner
Just like educational institutions have their strengths and weaknesses, so do content providers. If you want to make a content partnership part of your institution’s approach to learning, it’s essential to choose the right one. Here’s how to select a content partner to support your school’s needs and simplify the teaching process.
- Explore the content: The most important thing a content provider offers is just that: content. You should always take the time to explore the provider’s offerings before you go any further. Look for reliable sources, well-written explanations, and valuable resources like interactive content and in-depth videos. This is the basic level of competency you should expect from any content provider.
- Consider every service provided: Many content providers have branched out from simply producing textbooks or videos. If you’re considering a content provider, take a look at the other services they provide, too. It’s always easier to consolidate your services and work with one partner instead of many. A good content partner should also offer simple delivery options and easy access to content across multiple platforms. A great content provider will have extra services, such as proctored online tests and interactive content.
- Look for experience: During the pandemic, many new content providers sprung into existence to fill the need for digital materials. However, these brand-new providers don’t always have the experience and resources necessary to meet the needs of a higher education facility. Take the time to research providers and find those that have been in business for a while. They’re more likely to have worked out the details of providing high-quality educational content, leading to fewer complications down the road.
- Prioritize support: Digital content needs to be accessible in as many ways and on as many platforms as possible. The last thing your students and teachers need to be worrying about is technical problems or incompatible devices. It’s not the educator’s responsibility to troubleshoot issues like connection errors or file uploads. A great content provider will offer technical support to ensure these types of problems are resolved quickly and effectively and guide those who need help learning the system.
Providers who meet these criteria are likely to be high-quality, reliable partners to your educational institution for years to come.
Moving Forward with Educational Content Providers
Technology and the pandemic have changed the world and education with it. The new role of educational content providers is not only to provide written content development but offer online learning solutions and support blended learning. Institutions that want to improve students’ learning experiences can make the most of this by choosing an educational content provider like CIP. With CIP, you can offer better eLearning content, including online courses, a robust learning platform, and reliable functionality. Get started with CIP’s free trial today.