For a company that offers online English courses, it won’t be a surprise we are very much behind the move to online services but Covid-19 has pushed this trend even faster than anyone predicted. There are lots of new ways people interact, new software tools, and even new vocabulary around the new online world so we thought we would look at it in a little more detail.
We have been offering high-quality online English courses for a few years now and we know how popular they are. So learning online is certainly not a new thing. However, as we saw schools shut across Europe and many parts of the world people turned to online learning like never before. In many cases, it was school-age children trying to keep up with lessons they were missing. But many people stuck indoors during lockdown also had free time and wanted to do something constructive. So they turned to online learning, whether it was learning to sing, write, play an instrument or cook, for example, people starting to find online courses for everything. We saw a large increase in the number of people signing up to learn English online from all over the world as they decided to take the time to learn for work, family, or other reasons. But it’s not just learning, there has been a huge increase in the number of people shopping online, ordering food online, using streaming services, as well as subscription models for anything from beer to male grooming products and even gardening supplies. Online was big before…it’s even bigger now.
For many people, the idea of a video chat was not something they would normally think of before the pandemic. Now, chatting online to family and friends is normal. Programmes like Zoom have become totally normal. Skype is still very popular too. If you were not using WhatsApp before the pandemic then you probably are now and not just or chat, video too! Whatsapp groups have now become very popular. TikTok also seems to be a great way to communicate online by making fun videos, it certainly helped a lot of bored people during the lockdowns in various countries.
It may seem like we talk in exactly the same way on a video call as we do in person but it really can be quite different. If you use Zoom calls for business meetings, for example, you may notice that it is harder to see if people are listening to you. What people now do is nod their head a lot more. When you are in a meeting with someone face to face you can see if they are engaged with you. On a screen with perhaps 6 faces, it is much harder. So we are all using exaggerated movements like waving and nodding to communicate. We are also not talking over each other as much, video calls do not work very well if everyone talks so people are becoming much more polite and waiting for others to finish speaking. Smiling, shaking our heads, and using our hands are all becoming more important as a way of showing we are involved in the conversation online.
Will we continue using online services as we are now? perhaps, with more and more people working from home and not wanting to use trains and buses online shopping, meetings and learning is certainly likely to stay popular well after Covid-19 is gone.