Technological advancements are taking place quite rapidly, and businesses are having a hard time keeping pace with them. One of the sectors that have lagged behind significantly in terms of technology adoption is the education sector. The teaching approach of schools and universities across the world has so far been limited to chalk and board type under physical classrooms. Though eLearning platforms were launched in the market, they were utilized by a very small number of learners.
The tables were turned when we saw the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the year 2020. Schools, colleges, and other educational institutions were forced to shut down temporarily, and millions of students’ learning was interrupted. Though most of the businesses suffered huge losses, the pandemic proved to be a boon for eLearning platforms. Schools, as well as students, had no other option but to switch to digital learning and continue their education. This is how the gradual growth of eLearning platforms was given a significant push.
Online learning or eLearning is all about a learning system that makes use of technology and the internet to deliver education through electronic devices rather than the physical classroom. Today, we have video conferencing tools, high-speed internet, and user-friendly applications that are leveraged by the eLearning platforms to deliver high-quality education and give a physical classroom-like experience.
Platforms like Simplilearn, edX, Coursera, and Udacity were already popular among professionals to develop digital skills. Individuals could take any course related to emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing or prepare for any industry-recognized credentials like the CAPM certification, Six Sigma certification, or ITIL Foundation certification. This specifically benefitted the working professionals as they couldn’t take out time to go to any institute or take a break from their job to learn new skills.
One question that would obviously come to your mind is whether online learning is as effective as physical classroom learning. Specially those who have taken offline education throughout would be skeptical about online learning methods. However, we can jot down a number of benefits associated with online learning – there are no geographical limitations, economical compared to classroom learning, recorded sessions are available, doesn’t follow the one-size-fits-all approach, ability to track and analyze the performance. Surveys have also shown that students are more productive during online classes and perform batter than with traditional learning methods.
Even if the COVID-19 restrictions are eased or people get vaccinated, around 80% of the organizations believe that their use of online learning will remain the same, increase, or decrease only slightly in the post COVID world. Though eLearning may not replace face-to-face learning entirely, the inclusion of technology in daily learning of students was necessary. Now that it has been adopted due to the pandemic, it can be leveraged in the future to enhance the learning experience of students. Organizations are already looking at eLearning as the future with no imminent plans to invest more in face-to-face learning.
According to a research report by Global Market Insights, the online learning market size is expected to be worth over USD 1 trillion by the year 2027. There is an increasing demand for technology-enabled e-learning solutions globally and the inclusion of gamification into these platforms have helped improve engagement and learner outcomes. Video conferencing tools and e-learning solutions are helping schools and universities impart interactive classroom training. Applications like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Cisco Webex are witnessing huge adoption among corporates and educational institutions alike.
As with other technologies, there may be some challenges related to eLearning as well. However, teachers and students both can face those challenges and ensure a seamless learning experience during the online classes. It will also make them more technology aware and capable of dealing with any issues that can crop up in live classes. If you haven’t taken to online classes yet, now is the best time to explore it and take your learning ahead.