Trends in Online Education
Online education, that was once considered the humble cousin of mainstream education, has witnessed an upward swing in the last few years. The change has been brought in not only by various technological innovations but by innovative new-age content and curriculum that online education providers offer to the learners. The online education industry in India is estimated to be a $1.96 billion industry by 2021, according to research conducted by KPMG, with insights from Google search. According to the report, the paid user base is likely to grow 6-fold - from 1.6 million users in 2016 to 9.6 million users in 2021.
Increased penetration of internet and smartphones, factors such as convenience, increased reach and personalized content offered by online education providers have led to the growth and expansion of the online education market to tier 2 and tier 3 cities as well. Online education modules today allow distant learners to join in virtual lectures, pose questions to professors, chat with fellow students and take virtual exams. Most of the programs are career-focused helping students to chalk a career path and set goals.
Some trends that are likely to dominate online education are:
The emergence of Cloud Computing: According to Technavio analysts, the emergence of cloud computing will be one of the major trends that we will witness in India. The cloud computing technology enables online education providers to save a significant amount of content and data on a single platform, thus making it easier for users and providers to process, obtain, access, and manage information from anywhere at any time.
Focus on future-ready career skills: As the world is changing at a rapid pace, the online educational institutions are trying to keep a balance between learning and skills required by enterprises and industry. They are offering new online courses which help students become well equipped for the jobs of tomorrow. In 2019, we are likely to witness the launch of more such courses and career programs.
Many online institutions are offering online degrees in specialized areas such as AI, IoT, business management, data science, digital marketing and many more. These courses have been designed to equip the students with skills that are likely to dominate in the years to come
Game learning: The trend is likely to catch up as it makes the learning process more interesting and effective. Game learning techniques ensure a higher level of involvement and interaction from students, offer them the opportunity to experiment and introduce new technological innovations.
The modern business environment is becoming more and more complex every day. With the help of game techniques, it is easier to explain complex business concepts. During the interactive sessions, participants make decisions, develop strategies, immediately observing their influence on the financial position of the company.
Project-Based Learning: Project-based learning, allows students to demonstrate skills by developing apps, products etc. Many a time, it requires constant instructor feedback and multiple attempts if a student fails to meet the criteria. Project-based education is the foundation of the curriculum of some online educational institutions. Students create several projects over 6-12 months and receive regular feedback to earn a degree.
Blended E-learning Programs: Blended learning - online courses with offline touchpoints, is increasingly gaining popularity amongst individuals and organizations looking to upskill their employees. E-learning providers have witnessed a 25-30% jump in companies opting for the blended model over 100% e-learning courses. The model facilitates discussions and collaborative learning offers flexibility to learners who have a better completion rate.
Increase in interest in AR and VR: Though AR and VR are yet to reach their full potential in online learning, these technologies are expected to have a significant impact on online education in the coming years. Engagement, that has been one of the weakest aspects in many e-learning platforms, can be increased using these technologies. The use of AR and VR in online learning platforms has shown a significant increase in engagement and improved results.
Adapting existing content: Not everyone can incorporate the latest technologies into their learning processes. In most cases, users are only looking for information that is important to them. Therefore, online educational institutions should review their existing study material, in terms of how useful, relevant and detailed the information is. They must be prepared for constant changes as well as for the introduction of new programs.
In 2019, training will become more specific and personalized. The online courses will need to play a key role in creating a roadmap that leads from basic knowledge to expertise in the shortest possible time. The focus will remain on people who want to learn about specific skills and not waste time learning about everything. The decisive factor will depend on the person’s motivation to regularly devote time to self-education.
About the Author
"Kshitij Jain, Vice President of Marketing, Career Education Business (India), NIIT Ltd. He is a data and insight-driven marketer and brand ideator. He is a passionate marketer with over 18 years of experience, who believes a Brand’s narrative is born out of data and deep consumer insight, brought to life with powerful ideas and experiences."