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Online Education And eLearning Expected To Reach $350 Billion By 2025

contributed by Daniel Tannenbaum

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The paradigm of online education and eLearning has grown significantly in recent years, but it has gained enormous traction during the pandemic as schools have been forced to continue studies online and working professionals have been looking to add to their list of skills.

A forecast review carried out by Research and Markets predicts that the value of online education could be estimated as much as $350 billion by the year 2025, which does not even take the long-term impact of the coronavirus into account, suggesting that the true figure could be even higher.

Online learning for businesses, students and freelancers is not new. There have been many global players for years, including Udemy and Coursera. eLearning is defined as anything that can be learned and taught through computers and the Internet. In short, it is learning based on use of internet-based digital materials. This may include eBooks, video tutorials, online classes, or tutorials with a teacher or tutor present. eLearning extends to also learning languages online or completing online courses and examinations.

The coronavirus pandemic made e-learning a compulsory requirement for pupils worldwide to complete their students and take exams, with approximately 1.2 billion children required to homeschool and work online in some shape or form.

On a business level, 44% of the UK’s work population (approximately 5 million people) have been required to work and learn from home, a figure that rose from 19% in the previous year.

The advantages of e-learning are evident. Participants have the ability to learn in the comfort of the environment they choose, at their own pace, their own time schedule and their own ability. It is often more time efficient, without the need to commute and today, it means reducing the risk of contracting coronavirus.

Research shows that on average, students retain 25-60% more material when learning online compared to only 8-10% in a classroom. 

This is attributed to students being able to learn faster online; eLearning requires 40-60% less time to learn than in a traditional classroom setting because students can go back, re-read material, skip or accelerate through concept. There are fewer classroom distractions and time spent for teachers to discipline a large classroom, often where pupils learn at different paces.

In a corporate environment, managers value the opportunity of their staff to upskill, but also the financial savings. Online courses are far more affordable than face-to-face training courses and they do not have to overpay for a conference or seminar and also cover travel and accommodation. 

Sometimes, required course materials, such as textbooks, are available completely online, with no extra cost. There is also the amount of time that is saved learning online, rather than attending courses and completing examinations elsewhere, with workers able to dedicate more time to exercising their skills once completed.

Udemy president Darren Shimkus explained in a recent interview that “The biggest challenge is for learners is to figure out what skills are emerging, what they can do to compete best in the global market. We’re in a world that’s changing so quickly that skills that were valued just three or four years ago are no longer relevant.”

A spokesperson from SMCR Compliance, a financial e-learning platform, commented: “We firmly believe in eLearning. We have leveraged our long-standing expertise in UK and US compliance and created our own online compliance courses to help with senior managers and staff. The role of eLearning in corporations will grow significantly in the years to come and it is now a key growth strategy of ours.”

The future of eLearning remains positive and more or less inevitable, set to likely maintain its use and popularity beyond the pandemic. It is likely that more elements in the eLearning structure will begin to include other emerging technologies like augmented reality, virtual reality, and more advanced machine learning algorithms to understand the learner and personalize learning experiences accordingly.