Distance learning has become more important than ever as mandates to combat the coronavirus pandemic close schools across all age groups. In the U.S. alone there are around 51 million students in public schools, not to mention other learning institutions.
Thankfully there is a technology in place to keep the learning going. And this crisis is highlighting the importance and capability of distance learning as tens of millions of people learn online.
A new infographic presented by EDSmart and developed by Nowsourcing, titled, “The Future of Distance Learning” looks at the technology, trends, benefits and challenges.
For many small education companies, this is a great opportunity to invest more in their distance learning capability. This is because it is the future of learning and you can make your business available globally with this format.
Small Education Companies and Distance Learning
Distance learning is now an accepted part of the mainstream educational system. And it is increasingly becoming more indispensable as people choose to learn anytime and anywhere. If you have the degree and expertise to teach your chosen field you can start teaching online and make your knowledge available to a global audience.
Small education companies are now offering multiple learning opportunities across all industries. Whether it is in person, online, or taped video courses, this is a great way to monetize your knowledge and expertise.
According to the infographic, the eLearning market will have a market value of $300 billion by 2025. In great part, the growth is being driven by trends in technology that are creating interactive learning experiences.
The Technology Trend
The primary technology in distance learning is the internet. And more and more it is wireless or mobile technology which is driving the growth. People are using their smartphones, laptops and tablets to catch a lesson no matter where they are. As long as they have some free time, they are logging in and learning.
Additionally, the use of virtual and augmented reality is becoming part of the immersive technology educators are using to teach. The data in the report says 89% of educators are interested in using more AR, VR and 360° video.
Big data along with artificial intelligence is also helping instructors to track engaging content, personalize learning, streamline learning pathways and support the diverse need of all learners. Ninety-three percent of educators think predictive analytics will change education.
What About the Students?
One of the benefits of distance learning is the flexibility it offers students. Not only can they learn from schools around the world, but they can do it at their own pace. Almost two thirds or 63% in the report choose online education because it addresses work/life responsibilities.
When it comes to learning online, 60% believe it helps them improve soft skills including:
- Critical thinking and problem-solving: 85%
- Time management: 84%
- Attention to detail: 84%
- Writing skills: 79%
- Teamwork: 69%
- Oral communication: 62%
There are many reasons students choose to learn online. Availability is one of the biggest selling points, but here are four other reasons:
- Affordability: 60% of undergraduate students – 46% of graduate students
- Reputation: 39% of graduate and undergraduate students
- Quickest path to a degree: 31% of undergraduate students – 29% of graduate students
- Quality of faculty: 20% of undergraduate students – 34% of graduate students
As for organizations, 72% say it gives them a competitive advantage. So much so, the report says every $1 spent on eLearning, increases productivity by $30. Moreover, students of these organizations learn 5X more material per hour of training.
When it comes to the challenges of switching to online learning, lack of technology seems to be the biggest issue. Not everyone has a computer or access to broadband speed internet. And this greatly limits or entirely eliminates this population from distance learning. But there are ways around this.
Even though the report says 44% of low-income Americans don’t own a computer, 56% of online learners are using their smartphones to do so. Consequently, there is a workaround, especially as the price of capable smartphones continues to come down.
Another challenge is finding high-quality learning. The infographic recommends doing your research before you enroll. Read online reviews, look up program completion rates and ask people about their online learning experiences. Make sure to also check accreditation and credit transfers if you are looking to continue your education or use it to further your skillsets for your job.
Take a look at the EDSmart infographic below for more.
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