This rapid systematic review aims to examine emerging evidence on the effects of COVID-19 on educational institutions and assess the prevalence of e-learning changes in the sector. This paper reviews literature on learning, teaching, and assessment approaches adopted since the COVID-19 outbreak, and assesses the impact on the sector, staff, and students, summarizing findings from peer-reviewed articles. It categorizes these into five key themes: (1) digital learning, (2) e-learning challenges, (3) digital transition to emergency virtual assessment (EVA), (4) psychological impact of COVID-19, and (5) creating collaborative cultures. This represents the first systematic review of COVID-19’s impact on education, clarifying current themes being investigated. The author suggests that the term ‘emergency virtual assessment’ (EVA) is now added for future research discussion. Finally, the paper identifies research gaps, including researching the impact on lesser developed countries, the psychological impact of transition, and the important role of leadership and leadership styles during the transition and handling of the pandemic.


© 2021 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Khan, M. 2021, 'COVID-19’s impact on higher education: a rapid review of early reactive literature', Education Sciences, 11(8), article no: 421. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11080421

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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