Every sector has been turned upside down by Covid-19, and the education sector is no exception. But, like other industries, the education industry is gradually returning to normal, with the touch of technological advancement that would have taken much longer to implement otherwise.
Education fairs are beneficial not just for the organisers but also for the students and colleges that participate. Students have the incredible opportunity to communicate with dozens, if not hundreds, of college representatives and obtain information all in one spot. University representatives, on the other hand, have the opportunity to interact with students and recruit them to their university. Students further plan their future actions depending on their interactions with different university representatives. However, the pandemic and implementation of travel bans and social distancing have made us all wary about huge gatherings.
In this article, we will be revealing the differences between traditional and virtual education fairs and how a virtual education fair trumps a physical one. So, let’s dig in.
1. Accessibility: Imagine cancelling your entire day’s plans and driving for hours (if it’s a national education fair) to a destination that will already be crowded with hundreds of students. Doesn’t sound good, does it? Virtual education fairs, thankfully, eliminate the need to travel! So you can access a virtual education fair anytime, anywhere with just a couple of clicks. So you can be in Delhi and attend an education fair held in Australia from the comfort of your own home. Another benefit of virtual education is that students can make an informed decision about their future studies while remaining at home with their complete family. Universities, on the other hand, get to represent and recruit students from all over the world in the most convenient, time and cost-effective way possible (because they don’t have to go at all!)
2. Time efficiency: Traditional education fairs require a greater time commitment from both students and university representatives. Students must travel and wait for hours in long lines to speak with a university representative or counsellor. When students have the opportunity to interact with counsellors, they are frequently fatigued and less eager to get information. Whereas, in a virtual education fair, counsellors and university representatives are available to speak with students with a click of a button. So, there is no waiting time! Also, online chat with representatives/counsellors allows students to get to the point faster, allowing more students to interact with a greater number of university representatives in the shortest amount of time possible.
3. Availability of content: While it’s great to nod along while university representatives deliver important information about their institutions, students are likely to forget what they discussed after they leave the physical fair. Students could also attempt taking notes, but taking note of everything while simultaneously absorbing everything representatives say, especially in a busy area, sounds stressful and impracticable. This is not a desirable situation to be in, particularly for students who want to get a jump start in their academic careers.
5. Breakout Sessions: Students attend education fairs to find answers to their questions from reputable sources. With a huge turnout at traditional education fairs, conducting small specific topic-focused sessions is always a challenge for organizers/universities. It is easier for university representatives to manage all queries seamlessly in the virtual or digital format of education fairs, with multiple sessions running at the same time. Smaller focused group sessions are held online to discuss certain topics of interest for students, where they can discuss and ask questions about issues on which they want more or deeper knowledge. These breakout sessions are beneficial for students who require more tailored interactive sessions or who find it difficult to interact with presenters in a large group setting.
However, at a virtual fair students can select to download the material such as brochures only if and when they want them. They are conveniently available once downloaded and can be referred to as needed. This approach is also environmentally friendly because it is paperless. A student does not need to download all of the brochures at once; instead, they can attend sessions of their choosing and then collect material that is easier to save and organise if necessary.