The Covid 19 pandemic has had far-reaching consequences for SFIVET. Like Swiss higher education institutions, SFIVET had to discontinue face-to-face teaching from 16 March. Students and course participants were quickly informed through various channels of cancellations, postponements, dates and other modalities. Thanks to the strong commitment of SFIVET lecturers and its IT team, the switch to distance learning went relatively smoothly for course participants; it soon became apparent that the pandemic was not a trigger, but rather an accelerator for digitalisation. Thus, SFIVET offered online courses on the required digital tools and skills and shared its long-established expertise with partners to help them with the digital transformation.
While SFIVET as an institution was not unprepared for digital teaching, SFIVET lecturers found the abrupt changeover to distance learning and the widespread use of digital technologies particularly challenging. In particular, they considered the lack of personal contact with the course participants to be a shortcoming of distance learning and also made it more difficult to help participants in their learning. They found this made it more difficult to help participants in their learning, orient their self-guided study and prepare them for examinations.
Face-to-face teaching resumed in the autumn semester, but soon the second wave of Covid-related restrictions required a return to distance learning. Thanks to the experience gained in the spring, those affected took the changeover in stride and came up with creative solutions: many lecturers developed and applied new forms of teaching from a distance. Experience has shown that the combination of different methods and (digital) media in particular offers great promise in the future. The challenge here is to ensure that the new formats do not reinforce existing inequalities between learners, but rather reduce them. All in all, the pandemic gave the desired digital transformation a certain momentum that is likely to have lasting impacts.