Our last blog looked at how schools can support teachers to teach remotely. This blog looks at some exciting research evidence about what works best when teaching remotely.

This is important because although schools may be more ‘face-to-face’ in the near future, many students will be at home – and teachers will need to be prepared for future events, from new pandemics to bad weather (as seen in Texas, USA among other places recently!)

For example, the school mentioned in this article is preparing for a return to blended learning with video being used in lessons to allow teachers to provide more support for students.

So, here are 8 key findings from two reports from the Cambridge Partnership for Learning and Future Learn (details at the end of the blog) – what works best in remote learning?

  1. Schools need to focus on engagement, rather than attendance. Simply turning up to remote learning isn’t enough – students need to actively engage with it. A key part of this is working with parents to ensure they understand what is required of their children. (1)

  2. There needs to be a focus on reliable high-quality technical training and support infrastructure – this is an important issue to be working on whether teachers and students are in school or remote as it’s very difficult to set up remotely! This should also be a pressing issue for those designing teacher training programmes – new teachers need a strong grounding in remote teaching and learning. (1)

  3. Remote learning can help SEND children. While there has been much concern about some students ‘falling behind’, there are many advances in technology for SEND children which applied well could reduce attainment gaps (1)

  4. Remote learning is collaborative. Schools, EdTech companies and academics need to work together to research this area and move from what has been called ‘remote emergency teaching’ to effective online learning. (1)

  5. Assessment is a clear area where remote teaching offers challenges but also solutions – for example low-stakes online quizzing is a lot easier when all students are at a computer already. The challenge is how to reproduce formal, high-stakes exams when there’s no supervision. (1)

  6. New types of support are needed for remote learning – 21% of students reported having ‘bad online experiences’ including unkind messages, unsolicited content and viruses on their devices. (1)

  7. Learning how to learn online will be a key skill as younger people and women are increasingly choosing it both for professional and personal interest and development, and it is seen by many to be more diverse than traditional learning. Is there a need for schools to encourage and enable this? (2)

  8. Finally, and unsurprisingly, there is a degree to which online learning has to improve its reputation – seen in the ongoing discussion around ‘learning loss’ even in children who had had access to the best remote education. Around 50% of people surveyed said they doubted that online learning could have the same benefits as formal face-to-face education. Celebrating remote learning success will help to overcome this attitude, as well as improved teaching over time (2)

“If you gave teachers opportunities to build lessons, some online, some physically, some through VR, some through augmented reality, and found a way to let them infuse those technologies with that genius and desire t help young minds grow, you would explode people’s learning journeys” Mark Adams VICE



  1. Shock to the system: lessons from COVID-19, Cambridge Partnership for Education, 2021
  2. The Future of Learning Report, Future Learn, 2021


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The School of the Future Guide is aimed at helping school leaders and teachers make informed choices when designing the learning environments of the future using existing and upcoming technologies, as they seek to prepare children for the rest of the 21st century – the result is a more efficient and competitive school.

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