The future of education is online learning, which is changing the educational landscape in several ways. Here are some of the most significant ways that it will affect education in the future.
How the Future of Education is Being Shaped by Online Learning
With the introduction of online learning, the field of education has changed. The new method has moved classroom instruction from book pages to digital platforms. These days, virtual content and online assessments have displaced textbooks as the primary learning tools. Thus, it is accurate to say that online education is shaping our educational system. Furthermore, analysts predict it will continue to show its significant impact on the world's educational landscape. So, it is only natural that we would try to predict how online education might change the learning system.
Understanding the Concept of E-Learning
E-learning is simply learning through virtual classrooms. In this approach, educators and students connect and communicate using online channels. But does the phrase have a proper definition?
"E-learning is a structured learning process that uses electronic resources to impart education."
Although e-learning can be done anywhere, the mainstays of this system are computers, mobile devices, and the internet. And despite being around for a while, individuals have recently accepted the concept. In this context, there is an active debate on how e-learning lacks the crucial "human element." Yet, it is impossible to completely dismiss the scopes of online learning, particularly in the wake of the Coved-19 pandemic.
This leads us to the next sections of this essay that will discuss the rise of e-learning, and how it will shape the future of education.
The Rise of Virtual or E-Learning
Since the popularity of Web 2.0, online learning has experienced much expansion. And the COVID-19 outbreak acted as a catalyst for bringing it to our doorsteps. However, this concept existed before this epidemic and can be found as far back as 1999. Further research reveals that e-learning was mentioned as far back as the 19th century.
Let's go ahead to the 21st century when the development of computers gave the established online-learning system a boost. At this time, not only educational institutions but businesses started using the system to train their staff. Hence, employees now have the chance to broaden their skill sets and deepen their understanding of their profession.
Everything was going on at a slower pace until Covid-19 hit us in 2020. It forced businesses, universities, and institutions to conduct their operations remotely. The shutdown soared the scopes of online learning and allowed for the (nearly) complete digital transition of the educational system. By making courses available online, the government and private players like Udemy, Byjus, Coursera, etc., democratized learning.
The current market clarifies that e-learning is here to stay, and its demand will increase in the next years. In other words, online learning is the future of education!
Why is Online Learning Taking the Center Stage?
The phrase "online learning" has received much-needed illumination over the past three years. And there are some great justifications for this.
First, the Covid-19 pandemic required many businesses and educational institutions to operate remotely. Several organizations are still working from home. Additionally, because the staff at many of these businesses are dispersed around the globe, remote working is the only choice for carrying out regular office tasks, attending training sessions, and accessing online learning resources.
Students are similarly affected. They won't be able to access course materials without e-learning, especially if they have registered in institutions far away from where they live. E-learning has also provided opportunities for online educators to carry on instructing uninterrupted. Besides, they can offer students individualized study materials based on their needs.
The effectiveness of education and training can also be measured thanks to online learning tools. For example, learning management systems or LMS gather quantifiable data that show how productive the learning experiences have been. This, in turn, helps customize courses and learning methods efficiently.
How is Online Learning Shaping the Face of Education?
E-learning has facilitated a whole new format of education for learners. So, here are the top ways online learning is shaping the future of education.
Thanks to the remote learning system, learners can connect with diversified peers across the globe. Similarly, schools can integrate with international institutions and add fresh material to their courses. Online learning creates global classrooms. Additionally, global enrollment in online institutions is now available for students. Furthermore, students can enroll in any nationwide school that provides online courses and take classes electronically. This pattern was visible during the Coved-19 pandemic when 1 in 5 Indian children attended school virtually.
Personalized Education and Training
The possibility of tailored education is already a reality, thanks to AI and machine learning. The updated learning management systems gather information from knowledge and training platforms. This, in turn, helps educators impart learning sessions more tailored to every learner.
Wide Range of Learning Programs
There are countless skills and courses to teach and learn via virtual platforms. Remember that the internet is vast, making it possible the addition of new courses every single day. As a result, educational institutions are providing digital versions of their curricula. There are options for learning almost anything online, from musical instruments to digital marketing. Students can enroll in their favorite courses and get qualifications for professional pursuits.
We cannot ignore the advantage of increased learning accessibility when discussing online learning. Online learning has made learning and teaching possible from any corner of the world. It implies that there is no need to adhere to a strict schedule or travel to any physical classroom to undertake a course. Virtual learning is also possible anywhere with an electronic device and an internet connection. An example of this can be cited from the Indian government's initiative toward launching the eBasta framework. It makes e-books accessible on numerous digital platforms.
Online learning will also shape the future of education by making it more affordable. Offline professional courses offered by institutions tend to be more expensive; for example, an offline MBA may cost around Rs. 58,000 every semester. But the price can be decreased to roughly Rs 6000–7000 per semester if the same course is taken online. Besides, online platforms provide low-cost courses in IT-related fields like web design, content marketing, and others.
In summary, we can say that online learning can shape the future of education in several ways, including by enhancing its accessibility, individualization, affordability, and globalization. As a result, several private educational institutions, in addition to conventional schools and universities, have geared up to provide profitable online courses and legitimate certificates to help students improve their abilities and become more job-ready.