A massive global push to online learning
Online learning became the center of attraction due to COVID-19. But it’s not the only reason why people are signing up
Over the past decade, long before the pandemic reared its ugly head and forced businesses, students and governments to move holistically online to avoid the perils of face-to-face contact, there were some visionaries that were ahead of the game. Although granted, unwittingly.
From March 2020 and onwards through reoccurring lockdowns in 2020/2021, COVID-19 led to online learning hitting the headlines, as it is widely recognized as a means of learning in a safe and controlled environment.
But COVID-19 wasn’t the only reason people all over the globe chose online learning. Its benefits have been seen to transcend times of crisis.
Virtual classes and independent study can actually benefit higher education learners in many ways. They can learn when, where and how they like, at the pace that suits them, and, if the online learning institution they are enrolled in is worth its salt, enjoy access to professors, faculty and fellow leaner communities 24/7.
Here our intent is to touch upon that important topic, then to primarily focus upon the value of online options for those seeking higher education, and draw conclusions of the increasing need for lifetime learning as the pandemic continues to accelerate the need for people to upskill to protect and advance their careers.
Statistics and research regarding online learning
A series of Forbes Magazine posts over the year 2020, as well as information released by many other well-respected institutions and publications addressed the recent massive growth of online learning. Forbes authors repeatedly mentioned the fact that the worldwide e-learning market is expected to be worth $325 billion by 2025 – An impressive rise from its $165 billion value in 2015.
In 2017, EdTechReview reported that the United States is leading the way in online learning but India, China, South Korea and the UK were not far behind. With the US setting the pace, it is becoming commonplace for learners around the globe to seek out American online universities. Not just that, but ones that have employed this model from inception and not just because they had to do a course correction due to COVID-19.
But, this trend is not just US-centric, an increasing number of developing countries are striving to expand distance learning opportunities for various levels and types of instruction.
A news release by EurekAlert on April 8, 2020, revealed the findings of an experimental study conducted by the National Research University Higher School of Economics. The report shared that, with equivalent learning outcomes, the cost of instruction per student enrolled in online learning is 79-81% lower, depending on the specific charge for each course. The study’s results reinforce the wisdom of the increasing number of higher education students enrolling in online courses in pursuit of not only a means of studying safely, but also the achievement of quality skills at a lower cost.
Students are finding that e-learning is not just an option to fulfill a special need, but a superior alternative for every type of educational requirement.
Time management options
At the early stages of a learner’s education, teaching the skills of time management and independent study are essential for his or her future success. Online instruction offers the perfect means of instilling these skills in young students.
At higher levels of education, online learning is valuable from a time-management standpoint, as it allows student schedules to be arranged independently around their working or personal lives.
If cost is a factor in selecting an institution of higher learning, an online university can present the wisest choice. Online tuition is more often more cost-effective than taking classes at a physical brick and mortar university. But that’s not the only perk.
Cost savings are also realized due to the lack of commuting expenses, the need to pay dorm or apartment costs when attending college at a location far from family. Additionally, required course materials like textbooks and more are available for online programs at no cost. American Online Universities also strive to make online learning extremely affordable with various payment options, like a pay-per-month plan, or paying for tuition in local currency to avoid fluctuations.
Online learning can be done anywhere, anytime. An invaluable asset in these days when we dash from work to home to pick up children, run errands, work late. That considered, who these days has the time to report to a classroom?
Personalization of instruction
Mobile learning platforms offer access to more students than could be accommodated on a single campus, yet the experience is becoming more personal thanks to analysis of algorithms and patterns via artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Today’s technology brings the ability to interpret user data, to tweak the content in order to provide assistance and insight for topics with which a student repeatedly struggles.
Programs can be focused on team-based learning, not competition among peers, and MBA programs can offer live video conferencing classes, held in a collaborative online classroom setting, once a week, via Zoom.
Candidates who are more prepared when beginning the course are offered the opportunity to advance to an elective, skipping the introductory section.
Longevity creates the need for lifelong learning
Increasing life expectancy is pushing back the age of retirement. This trend is expected to continue. Thus, obtaining higher level degrees at a more advanced age than in the past pays off. The changing pace of technology is creating the need for conveniently accessible continuing education, no matter what one’s age or career position.
Flexibility regarding degree completion
One of the many joys of online learning is that learners can sign up anytime, with rolling deadlines offered by most online programs. If you can’t keep up the pace, pause whenever you like, between classes, and start up again later. There is no need to remain continually active in order to complete a program successfully.
Career advancement opportunities
Entrepreneurs can easily expand their skills. Professionals with current associate or bachelor’s degrees in a wide range of sectors can further their career goals without interrupting full-time employment through online advanced degree programs.
Online basic advanced degree classes like those offered by online universities and other respected online institutions of higher learning bring access to career stepping stones.
Career advancement is extremely cost-effective when completed online
The money saved by pursuing a degree online rather than in person can be significant. In addition to the potential of lower tuition, the various other benefits and perks make online learning a great way to save money while earning a quality education.
Other than that, while attending online classes, most career growth happens online too. Taking note of a post How to Add Resume to LinkedIn, LinkedIn has become the go-to platform for businesses and recruiters. Making it the most popular channel for all walks of life.
COVID-19 has dramatically altered the future face of work
It’s not just higher education students that have had to change tack. Thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, the job front is also dramatically changing. A recent report from McKinsey & Company outlines that the pandemic has accelerated existing trends in remote work, e-commerce, and automation, with up to 25% more workers than previously estimated potentially needing to switch occupations.
Interestingly enough, due to the pandemic, higher education and work are now, more than ever, intertwined. Just dramatically more so. Learners, future learners, and repeat learners need to be cognizant that the days of doing a degree and having a job for life are long gone. Workers are having to upskill on average every five years to keep pace with change. Giving rise to the term, ‘lifetime learning’.
Online learning can really facilitate that and in all likelihood, it’s the online universities that will become the go-to-model for modern learners. Especially as universities, specifically Nexford, continue to offer learners the opportunity to start on the first of the month rather than wait an entire year to start at the beginning of it.
This allows learners to steal the march on individuals operating in their industry, thereby ensuring that they are able to get ahead, and stay ahead, as well as enjoy promotions ahead of others too. Not to mention, critically, future-proof their careers.
Online education is every bit as thorough and efficient, in many cases more so, than brick and mortar education programs, at every level of instruction. In a high percentage of cases, it also costs less. Online advanced degree programs like the options offered by Nexford help to bring the opportunity to ride the rising wave of online learning for lifelong career success within reach, regardless of time and distance. With the raise need for online learning, learners are finding it refreshing to learn in their own time, pause when you like and start up again later.
As a 100% American Online University, we’re making online learning affordable, accessible and flexible. COVID-19 has not changed that one little bit. Just made it even more critical.
It’s time to start discovering why online learning is where it’s @, and what better place to start than at Nexford University. Discover why.
About the Author
Aubrey Lacuna is a writer and an online contributor to dozens of platforms. She leads a team of writers catering writing services for international clients.