Well before COVID-19 took effect, individuals in pursuit of knowledge across a broad range of topics have been gravitating towards obtaining that knowledge online. While there are many factors driving this trend, the pandemic shutdown will likely only accelerate the spread of e-Learning. That means that companies aiming to deliver educational services at any level must embrace where the market is heading, and therefore accept that E-Learning is the future. Even the venerated Ivy League institutions of the world are facing the reality that online programs will comprise a much larger portion of their curriculum going forward.
Here are just a few of the underlying features of E-Learning that make it so attractive and ultimately necessary for the future of education:
Unbound by Geography
One of the most obvious advantages of E-Learning is that it is decoupled from any particular physical location. This is extremely beneficial to both students and educational institutions alike. For students, it means that programs based outside of a reasonable travel radius from their current living arrangements are suddenly in reach. Also, there is usually a great deal of flexibility in the time of day that a course can be accessed. No longer do students have to adjust their entire daily schedules in order to be in a specific place at a specific time.
For institutions, moving to E-Learning models immediately expands the target market to which courses can be offered; given that they no longer have to focus marketing and recruitment efforts on just their own backyards. Additionally, the facilities required to host a traditional learning environment are extremely cost-prohibitive. Moving coursework online allows institutions to scale their enrollments without having to make massive investments in new real estate.
Thanks in no small part to the preceding point on geography, E-Learning programs also enjoy the benefit of being extremely cost-effective. The aforementioned scalability of E-Learning organizations results in tremendous savings, which organizations can hopefully pass along to their students.
Another contributor to the cost differential is the ongoing perception that in-person programs might offer a higher value in educational experience than an online course. Of course, this point is completely subjective and dependent on the preferences of the learner, as well as the material being taught. However, it’s undeniable that an E-learning program is almost always more cost-effective than if the same program was held in-person.
Customization of the Learning Experience
One of the biggest challenges of traditional class settings is the fact that different people learn at different paces. When teaching in-person, it’s tough to incorporate multiple teaching styles in order to meet the different needs of each student. Many teachers would likely say this is downright impossible.
E-Learning programs, on the other hand, are much more flexible and can be adapted for each individual learner. Course material can be arranged to incorporate several different teaching modalities. Students can essentially select the means of learning that best accommodates their unique learning style. This is also a great potential area of application for machine learning and AI. An artificial intelligence system that can quickly assess and adapt to a student’s current stage in the learning process can cut out time spent on material that is already understood, or apply additional effort to topics on which the student needs extra help. We will likely see this technology evolve tremendously over the coming years.
These are just three of the many reasons why E-Learning is such a hot topic these days. The organizations that can best position themselves to take advantage of the inevitable trend will continue to find success well into the future.