In 2020, COVID-19 caused not just sudden dramatic shifts in how we lived and worked - it had a profound effect on how we learned. One huge impact was the increase in remote or e-learning, which allowed students of all ages a safe way to continue their education.
It also opened opportunities to those who have something to teach, with the e-learning industry offering new access to rapidly growing income possibilities. As reported in Inc magazine
, “in the 21st century, teaching sells” calling online learning “the $107 billion industry that nobody’s talking about.”
What is Online Learning and Why Is It Growing?
Although overlooked and underappreciated until quite recently, advances in technology, with improved user experience, have seen a much greater appreciation of this type of learning.
With higher awareness and heightened enthusiasm for screen interaction, some surprising findings on effectiveness have emerged. Research has shown
that, on average, students learning online perform slightly better, retaining 25-60% more material compared to only 8-10% for students in a classroom. Online students can also learn faster, requiring 40-60% less time to learn than in a traditional classroom. Wow, right?
Let’s have a quick look at just some of the advantages presented by online learning…
Online education allows students and teachers alike to set their own pace.
You can start a course immediately, no more missing out on those important first few lectures.
You take part any time of the day, offering the ability to find an optimal balance between work and study. It’s also a great way to refine time-management skills.
Going at the pace that suits you allows you to either spread a course to allow for other responsibilities or do intensive blocks to accelerate qualifications.
And working independently gives you valuable practice at the highly desirable quality in the job marketplace of autonomy.
This is a big one. You can generally study from anywhere in the world, with all borders removed.
The furthest institution is as close as your desk.
And studying from home means you can stay near family, friends and support groups.
You don’t even need to cross town – never stew in peak hour traffic again.
Students are no longer limited to what’s on offer in the curriculum from a single institution.
The options are as big as the internet (pretty big). There is an infinite diversity of courses from schools or tutors from small business accounting to landscape gardening – at a level and pace to suit every student.
Internet learning is about as inclusive as you can get. There are no cultural, physical, gender – you name it – barriers.
But another huge accessibility advantage of online education is that you can choose to learn from people you admire and respect instead of those assigned to teach classes at a school.
Even though students aren’t facing a live teacher, there is still scope for real-time responses. It doesn’t have to be live webinars (but it could be); a good program will have students doing tasks and quizzes for instant progress updates.
It also allows course authors to constantly analyse how their students are faring so that they can improve on the quality of their courses.
You can even socialise and network virtually with like-minded people in a much broader community.
With many of the usual overheads associated with traditional classrooms eliminated, learning establishments can offer courses at a much-reduced rate.
If you shop around, you can generally find a course at a cost that will fit your budget.
For a distant campus, you skip all the costs involved with attending the physical learning location – from travel to accommodation.
Well, maybe not always ‘fun’ but, for many students, it’s a more enjoyable option.
You can choose the time of day when you know your mind is most receptive to learning and have better control over distractions.
Many features of e-learning allow students to gain virtual ‘experience’ – honing a skill online before applying to the real world.
There’s no peer pressure – no competition – just do your own thing.
And, let’s face it, isn’t it just nicer working in your own comfy chair?
Online Education is Here – Ready to Grow With It?
Ultimately, online learners are simply seeking the highest-quality information they can as part of a more accessible learning experience. There will always be the need for those who can supply that information – they just need to adapt to the format that best provides it.
When you consider the many benefits of online education, it looks like it's not just growing but here to stay.