The majority of young people have been exposed to e-learning. That is according to the latest Global Shapers Survey, which found over 77 per cent of 25,000 young people across the world have taken an online course in the past.
The high interest in e-learning is not limited to new students. Almost half (47.79 per cent) of respondents said they would be keen to get certified, including online certification, for certain skills once they start their working careers.
These results speak to the large potential and market for online-based education, which has been estimated to be worth $255 billion in 2017. Behind this number is the growing number of students that are choosing to do an online course.
However, the journey to this point has not been an easy one. In the beginning, online education was criticised for an apparent lack of quality control and/or skilled teachers.
Some also complained that online learning deprived students of some of the benefits of being in a classroom, such as teacher-student interaction. The long-held belief was that classroom-based teaching is more helpful for learning and meeting students' developmental, emotional and educational needs.
E-learning has come a long way since then, with the industry maturing and technology improving. In the Global Shapers Survey, over 40.5 per cent of respondents said online education is as strong as traditional learning in a classroom.
Quality of teaching
What has helped change people’s perception about the quality of teaching is institutions of higher learning introducing or expanding their own online education platforms. For many colleges and universities, online education has become an increasingly important part of their curriculum delivery.
To tackle the question of teaching quality, providers rely on internal evaluation and student feedback. User ratings have also become a popular teacher evaluation mechanism.
The evolution of technology and maturity of e-learning solutions have also enabled online education to become more manageable and accessible than ever before. The initial premise of e-learning, that all a prospective student needs is a computer, an Internet connection and basic IT skills, is now more of a reality than ever before.
Online education is now also delivering on its promise of flexibility and low cost. Some traditional classroom features may be absent from e-learning, but it compensates in other ways, such as class recordings that students can go review at their convenience whenever they want.
Some say that the one-on-one lessons typically found in online education have the potential to take teacher-student interactions to a new level. After all, unlike in a classroom with dozens of other students, one student gets all the focus and attention.
More importantly, online education has helped to make education more accessible. Before e-learning went mainstream, the only way to get a qualification or certification required a student to sign up for a course at a bricks-and-mortar institution, pay the relevant fees, and then physically attend the classes.
Many developing countries have made significant progress in providing education to more people, but there are still many who are unable to access it, often due to their remote location. Online education is helping to bridge that gap and provide access with the simple combination of technology and the Internet.
Although there are still some challenges with e-learning, such as the question of cross-border credit or degree accreditation, it is already well positioned to deliver on the promise of education for all. As technology continues to improve and become more wide-spread, online education has the potential to not only be complementary to traditional education, but in some cases, a worthy alternative.
As a training provider ourselves, we understand the challenges in this space. We’ve already assisted educational institutions such as Australian Catholic University, Curtin University, Massey University, University of WA, University of Canterbury, Victoria University of Wellington and others with their systems and digital transformations.
If you are looking for guidance with content delivery platforms and emerging technologies, contact us today to learn how we can ensure the best quality experience for you and your audience.