If you haven’t been paying attention, you may have missed the fact that e-learning or “electronic learning” has been rapidly growing in popularity in recent years.
Why is it suddenly so popular? Should you be paying attention to this trend? Let’s look at the key reasons for the rise of e-learning.
1. An Open and Global World
The same technologies that are driving e-learning adoption are also responsible for opening up trade and communication between nations like never before. You can now easily speak to someone in Japan or Australia from the other side of the world with technologies such as Skype. Money can cross borders relatively freely and a lot of actual labor is now digital.
This also means the demand for online language learning is rising. Innovative companies such as Preply have surged into this market gap and learning from a live English teacher in particular are proving very popular.
2.The Technology is Right
Obviously, e-learning relies entirely on having the right sort of digital technology available. Broadband internet and powerful mobile devices are widely available and affordable. So it’s no surprise that one of the nations most enamoured with MOOCs is India.
Simply put, e-learning’s time has come thanks to exactly the right mix of cost and capability. Future and emerging technologies such as augmented reality will also only cement the superiority of e-learning not only for working adults, but for traditionally young and full-time students.
3.The Need for Skills is Greater Than Ever
The days of getting a degree and working at the same company for 45 years is well and truly over. The pace of market changes and technological developments means that people have to adopt the habit of lifelong learning.
It’s now become normal to not only change jobs, but change careers over the course of one’s life. This is driven by how quickly particular jobs become obsolete as well as how long people are living. In fact, pretty soon we may see the average retirement age raised.
The advent of “gig economy” style jobs such as those found on UpWork or Fiverr are also bolstering the demand for skills development. Most people don’t have the time to enroll for a programming qualification full time, so they have to learn on the fly.
4.The Cost of Education is Rising
Getting a university or college education is getting pretty pricey these days and having a college degree is no longer the ticket to a good job it once was. In the US there is an all-out student debt crisis and in some European countries where education is government subsidized things are not always so great.
E-learning has many cost-saving aspects to it, especially when it comes to automating a lot of teaching and assessment tasks that would otherwise have needed costly human labor. So for purely financial reasons it’s understandable that it has become so popular.
E-learning is Here to Stay
It seems inevitable that in the near future learning digitally is going to become the norm rather than an alternative choice
It’s estimated that by 2025 the global e-learning market will hit a total value of $325 billion
MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses have become a symbol of e-learning’s popularity and in 2015 the total number of global enrolments in these free courses surpassed 35 million.
Clearly e-learning is going nowhere and in an age where jobs are being made obsolete it’s ironic that technology itself may be the key to staying relevant and employed.