Let me first ask you, are you fond of watching any YouTube, Netflix or Amazon Prime web series? The rise of these captivating web series must have caught your attention already, isn’t it? Initially, it was assumed that the bluntness of the web medium would kill the aesthetics of the entertainment industry. What rather happened here is that the rise in popularity and believability of the web series format started to fascinate and enlighten the audience to watch more and more web content. These shorter and crisper web series delivered fabulous motivation to revive the content type and content delivery mechanism to a relatively larger audience.
Drawing the template of web series was a crucial correlation, as a significantly similar phenomenon had taken place with the impact of E-learning on global education. E-learning had managed to attract it’s takers with its student-centered and technology-driven approach all the while being in touch with the roots of the traditional education system. Since the first ever usage of the term ‘E-learning’ in 1999, the technology has surely come a long way and is now globally popular among students and working professionals alike.
What put E-learning on the global pedestal?
Due to the advent of commercialization of education and lack of teaching professionals, availing higher education or professional courses had become blowing-out-the-eyeballs expensive for students all over the world. As a solution to that in the first half of the 1990s, several academic institutions in the developed countries had started delivering courses online. By doing so, they made it immensely easy for the students to absorb topics, subjects or skill sets they would want to learn under the sun.
Of course, it had everything to do with technological advancements of the time! Our world was caught up in a whirlwind. Those who were championing Information and Communication Technology (ICT) were on the verge of revolutionizing the way we share information and communicate. E-learning merely arrived the right place, at the right time. The 90s was when the idea of online learning began to thrive because people had access to the internet.
As technology surpassed global constraints, E-learning was unstoppable from making education and learning systems available to a larger audience. As we stepped into the 21st century, even businesses started harnessing the virtues of E-learning in employee training and development processes. The idea was for everyone to benefit from it, be it an old resource or a trainee. Employees could always use elaborate training programs to expand their knowledge, adopt new trends and learn new skill sets relevant to their profiles.
What made E-learning tick against conventional standards of teaching or training?
Let us look at these figures to put things in perspective!
According to the Global Market reviews, utilization of E-learning technology and applications is set to grow leaps and bounds by 2020.
- Usage of E-learning as a primary source of professional training is expected to grow by 30% in Asia.
- World’s most populated countries, China and India will soon be experiencing a mammoth-like 50% growth in the number of E-learning and Ed-tech users
- Eastern Europe will witness a growth of 20% in E-learning or Online learning users.
Now, coming back to the big deal that is E-learning:
Firstly, the explosion of E-learning in professional fields had become the defining moment as it balanced and satisfied the necessities of both the industries and the educational community. An assortment of diverse advantages and innovative features has given rise to this huge demand for E-Learning modules in educating business professionals.
Secondly, the facility of having easy access to subject matter online via eBooks, videos, and interactive sessions Anytime Anywhere has brought education out of walls. Interactive videos, gamification and frequent assessment modules has transformed the delivery of content from being dull to be narrative-like.
Was bringing a paradigm shift in the conventional education system that easy?
No. Certainly, not! Like every other revolutionary idea, it needed years of polishing to become what it is right now!
The concept of Open-source Learning Management System as an E-learning solution became rapidly popular in developed countries. Even though the open source platforms like Moodle, Bodington and Caroline were quick to gain global attention, it was highly debated as to whether E-learning technology actually helped people learn or not. There had been concerns that it could lead to procrastination and it might be easier for someone to get distracted while learning online. All valid concerns!
Eventually, E-learning platforms had to evolve in order to provide enhanced yet interactive interpersonal communication mechanism in learning management process. With time, the one-size-fits-all learning modules in online courses were replaced by the path-breaking idea of personalization of learning modules to make it more relevant for each user. To counter procrastination and distractions, online Learning Management Systems incorporated data tracking functionality that keeps a check on time spent by users in covering the curriculum and course materials. Spinning in a new perspective to education fraternity and community, online LMSs introduced chats, forums, blogs and webinars to help teachers and students engage with each other in a much better way.
How do academic institutions and businesses access E-learning?
Many prominent universities and academic institutions have out-sourced online courses at E-learning platforms for students across the globe. This adds the credibility factor to these courses as learners receive degrees with actual accreditation. The brick-and-click model of blended learning is considered a more comprehensive approach towards disseminating education by educators of the world,
As for businesses, about 50% of the Fortune 500 companies have already resorted to E-learning for employee training programs. Now with E-learning technology becoming more and more accessible and cost-effective these days, small and medium enterprises have been able to harness it’s potential as well. It enables them to help their employees keep up with the known standards of larger enterprises and yet have a competitive edge over them.
What’s in store for the future?
All of this makes you wonder how futuristic will the education system be in coming years. With Massive open online courses (MOOCs), Gamification and Mobile learning, E-learning has become a comprehensive solution already. Does that leave any more scope for innovation in the future? Yes! IoT(Internet of things), Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence are going to bring about the game-changing difference to E-learning technology.
If you love the immersive experience of watching 3D movies, with wearable VR technology you can expect your pre-loved LMS to incorporate virtual learning set-up, which caters to all of your senses. But wait, it gets even more exciting. Application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will be able to provide educators with an overall analysis of Big Data and enable them in utilizing it to forecast the results of the learning process. It will help the teachers to intervene beforehand and provide every learner with tailor-made online learning opportunities.
Exciting time to be alive, don’t you think?