Education / Online Courses / E-learning / Distance Education
The education system has long followed the traditional model of learning, in which students are made to sit in a classroom and take lessons from a teacher right in front of them. In the traditional model, the type of education one receives depends on a person’s geographical location and the costs they can bear.
However, over the last several years, the education system has seen the rise of the online model of learning.
E-learning is process of gaining education through an electronic medium, typically involving the internet. This education can range from small courses to full degrees. There are different e-learning platforms available online, offering different courses and degrees. These platforms typically integrate a multimedia approach to teaching, utilizing different media such as lecture videos, PDF handouts and PowerPoint slides.
The e-learning market has grown tremendously over the last several years. The Covid pandemic has vastly increased its popularity as well.
According to a 2019 report by Markets and Research, the global e-learning market was projected to reach a volume of $350 billion.
However, according to Global Market Insights, the size of this market had already reached $250 billion by 2020.
The volume of the e-learning market is now projected to reach $1 trillion by 2027.
Not surprisingly, the e-learning market is dominated by countries like the United States and China and this dominance is expected to continue in the near future. However, other countries are also starting to catch up now.
E-Learning vs Traditional Learning
There are a number of reasons why e-learning has seen a tremendous rise in popularity recently, especially with the beginning of the pandemic.
- Accessibility: E-learning courses and degrees are highly accessible as people aren’t bound by geographical location in order to gain the education they desire. Anyone with an internet connection can access online education.
- Affordability: Comparatively, e-learning is also much more affordable than traditional learning. This increases its appeal for the lower middle-class section of the population.
- Flexibility: Many online courses and degrees let you choose your own pace to a large degree, providing a degree of flexibility when studying. This is especially appealing to people who study full- or part-time, as they can study according to the schedule which suits them best.
Multimedia approach: As has been mentioned above, e-learning platforms utilize a number of different digital technologies for teaching. This makes online courses more effective than the traditional model of learning, where people have to sit in class and take notes.
It is also true that e-learning does come with its own shortcomings. Since access to online education depends on internet connection and digital technologies, people living in underdeveloped regions are not able to access it properly. Secondly, the flexibility of online learning schedule also has the consequence of making students lose motivation midway through their course or degree. Lastly, people who are used to studying in the traditional model might find it hard rely solely on lecture videos and PowerPoint slides as they have always depended on face-to-face learning.
However, despite these shortcomings, the benefits of e-learning are significant enough that it continues to get more popular.
Distance Learning During the Pandemic
We cannot avoid mentioning the Covid pandemic when discussing online learning. As has been mentioned above along with statistical figures, the rise in e-learning’s popularity was significantly accelerated during the pandemic.
This is because the education sector had to be closed during the pandemic in order to enforce social distancing and minimize the spread of the virus. However, education could not simply be discontinued. So educational institutes decided to continue their education through electronic mediums. There was a massive increase in the use of applications such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Many new e-learning platforms were launched, such as ULearn’s Teach Pakistan initiative.
It is unclear whether distance learning will remain as popular in a post-pandemic world. However, one thing that is certain is that the pandemic has caused a large number of people to be introduced to e-learning platforms and technologies. It is safe to say that some of these people will continue to utilize e-learning in the future.
Ultimately, online education is a rising trend in the global education sector. Its sustained increase in popularity, and the boost that popularity received due to the pandemic, has put an end to the idea that it is a temporary fad. Instead, increasingly online learning looks like the future of education.