Between 2012 and 2018, the eLearning industry saw significant growth as universities all across the globe dove into this medium and explored its potential benefits.
The annual growth of e-learning students in colleges in the United States alone since 2012 was recorded to be at 5.30% with almost all colleges enrolling at least one student into their e-learning programs.
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The COVID-19 pandemic breakout made elearning a safer and sensible medium of learning despite virtual learning, for a long time being an option to students who could not travel to their target school.
The restrictions and bans that were imposed by different governments all across the globe resultantly caused schools to shut down and forced people to quarantine or lockdown caused some uncertainty with the learning industry.
However, learning institutions quickly picked up virtual learning to perpetuate education during the pandemic.
This medium was quickly picked up by learning institutions based in urbanized areas but became a slight challenge to slightly underdeveloped areas across the world.
The shift to distance learning was a bit sudden and faculty staff found it immensely challenging to conduct studies and to quickly adapt without prior training.
Students also from humble backgrounds also found it difficult to catch on to the trend due to a lack of virtual learning materials.
Poor internet connection was also a troubling challenge that faced both students and instructors from areas with insufficient network reach.
With all these in mind, we will take a closer look at the state and trends of the e-learning industry today and see how both instructors and students can leverage these trends to have the best experience while exploring the virtual learning medium.
The current state of the E-learning industry.
Edtech companies (Education technology) saw investments of $18.66 billion in 2019 even before the outcomes of the contagious diseases were projected.
Investors were constantly investing in educational technology due to its promising benefits in improving the education landscape in totality.
Projections of the investments made in the eLearning industry are estimated at $135 billion by the end of 2025.
This is attributed to the vulnerability of traditional class-based learning that has been exposed by the outbreak of the pandemic and the remarkable advancements that educational technology has made over time.
Moreso, the launch of the famously known Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) years ago revealed elearning potentials as 110 million students all across the globe (excluding China) were all accommodated by the program in form of online courses, micro-credentials and online degrees.
In summary, the Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) had the following accomplishments by 2019; 110 million students enrolled, 2500 courses offered online, 11 online degrees offered online and 170 micro-credentials available.
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Covid-19 disruption on the E-learning industry.
The Coronavirus break caused a disrupt in almost all the industries around the globe and led them to a halt.
The eLearning industry was also steadily growing but experienced some setbacks with the pandemic.
Governments imposed stern regulations to control the spread of infectious diseases causing industries to halt their productions and services in order to abide by the government’s regulations.
Schools were shut down all over the world and a report by the United Nation Scientific Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) stated that 1.5 billion students from 165 different countries were all effectively out of schools due to lockdown and quarantine measures.
Students in developed countries were simply asked to shift to virtual learning leaving a sizable chunk of students who lack distant learning amenities such as computers and internet access behind.
For instance, in the United States, the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) found out that 9 million students across the country between the ages of 3 to 19 did not have internet access in their homes.
Moreover, UNESCO also carried out research that revealed, globally, 706 million students did not have direct internet access in their homes, 826 million students do not have household computers while 56 million students could not utilize mobile phones for virtual learning as there is no reach for mobile services.
Virtual learning over time has proved to be beneficial and a safer medium to conduct learning as vaccines and measures to curb the spread and number of infections of the Coronavirus have been in the works and under development.
All in all the eLearning industry has displayed remarkable advancements as newer and better technology have been developed to aid the process of learning.
The future of virtual learning is promising and the possibilities of blended virtual learning and traditional class-based learning could be the new norm in the later days to come.