Is the Future of Education in Online Learning?

December 13, 2016 Off By Hoofer

The online education industry was worth $166.5 billion dollars last year and it is estimated that its financial value will grow year on year.  A survey by Global Shapers of 25,000 young people from across the world reported that 77 per cent of respondents have embarked on an online course at some point.

There appear to be many benefits to studying an online course from lower overall costs to the convenience and flexibility it provides.  So, does this mean that online learning is going to dominate the future of education?

What’s on Offer?

Online learning encompasses almost every subject you can imagine so there is a vast array of choice whatever career you are wishing to pursue.  The premise of online education takes two forms: there are for-credit courses where students enrolled in tertiary education take an online class for credit and then there are online courses which focus on professional training and certification preparation. 

Judging from research figures the latter appears to be the most popular choice with accounting, computer sciences and health professions showing as the fastest growing disciplines in online learning.  Many people also choose to pursue online education whilst in a career due to its flexible nature.  It’s particularly useful in careers such as social work because you can acquire extra knowledge by studying an online MSW program whilst still gaining real life experience at the same time.

The Technical Side

Most institutions of higher learning which also offer online learning have had to reinforce their online education platforms to deal with the increase in popularity.  The rising competition within this industry means that institutions which are focused solely on online education such as Rutgers Online, are leading the way.  They have the developed infrastructure to perform at expert levels and deliver first class education for students.

There has been a long running debate about online education being able to offer the same quality of teaching as that of a bricks-and-mortar institution.  This has led to a number of providers turning to using world-famous faculty members and professional support teams to promote online MSW courses.  They have also built their platforms to ensure they meet all of their students’ needs and more, for instance many online institutions use cloud computing which enables students to access all of the relevant services and information that is available to them from any device they wish to use.  The use of this type of infrastructure also enables the students to review lessons at their convenience and have access to ‘classroom’ recordings whenever they want.

Open to All

The great thing about online education is that anyone can embark on it.  Traditional educational institutions are less flexible for people like working parents and not as convenient for people who live somewhere that doesn’t have a great public transport system.  Some people are deterred from doing an online course because they don’t feel they are technically minded but most courses offered online are simple to use and there is support systems set up for those who need more guidance.

The debate of online education being as good as traditional formats will always continue and admittedly there are problems that need ironing out like the question of accreditation.  But the obstacles faced are not insurmountable and online education has big potential to become a form of education for all.