The coronavirus pandemic leads to a fundamental shift in almost everything we do from working, traveling, and shopping. This new normal has extended even in higher education. Universities restrict students from traveling abroad or investigating how their schools will recover from post-pandemic outbreaks.
Education has always been one of the most important aspects of life. Whether you are looking to buy something in-person or online, there is little distinction between them regarding how we interact with our surroundings and learn new things.
Today’s world thrives upon information availability which means that everything can now happen at your fingertips – including knowledge acquisition, whether through face-to-face classes taught by qualified professionals.
The term “online learning” will be retired in the future because it doesn’t resonate with today’s students. Online and offline don’t seem like categories for them anymore. Their lives are lived online where they’re never without access or connection, so why should anything else matter?
The world is changing, and so are the education needs. The pandemic has caused a significant shift in how we learn, but this comes at an even more acute time where upskilling or reskilling of workers with new skills will be needed to meet both demands from expanding industries rethinking what they want out of life.
Since the early days of the internet, online education has grown popular. Students and professionals have found that they can get a quality education without ever setting foot on a traditional campus. And with the advent of massive open online courses (MOOCs), even more, people are discovering the benefits of learning online.
But what is the “new normal” for online education? And what do we expect to see in the future of online education? Let’s look at the current state of affairs and what we might expect to see in the future.
In 2013, less than 10% of higher education students were enrolled exclusively in online degree programs. While we expect the number to multiply over the next few years, it is unlikely that online degrees will overtake traditional degrees as a mainstream option anytime soon.
However, that doesn’t mean that online education isn’t growing rapidly. According to the Open Education Database, more than 27,000 free online courses from 1,600 universities and colleges are now available. In addition, the number of students taking MOOCs has grown exponentially; in 2012, there were only 160,000 MOOC students, but by January 2014, that number had grown to 4.5 million.
The growing number of online learning enterprises enables these platforms to use machine-learning algorithms for personalized content. The machines can recognize what a person needs and provide them with more information to help improve their skills even further.
So what does the future of online education look like? First and foremost, it seems like MOOCs are here to stay. In addition, we can expect to see more universities and colleges offering online degrees, and those degrees will become increasingly mainstream. We can also expect to see a shift in online education from ‘classes’ toward individualized instruction.
We will see more and more students going exclusively online for their training in the future. In addition, businesses that once saw distance learning as a risky proposition may come to realize the benefits of this format. However, don’t expect traditional degrees to go away anytime soon. Most people will still prefer the classroom experience to an online one
We can expect to see an increase in investment and research into online education in the future. Universities that offer online degrees will continue to refine their programs, and new platforms for learning will emerge. For anyone looking to get a higher education, whether beginning or continuing, online education will continue to be an excellent option.
So what is the “new normal” for online education? In short, it is a rapidly growing, mainstream form of education that is here to stay. Expect to see more universities and colleges offering online degrees and more individualized instruction within those programs. And don’t forget the MOOCs; these massive open online courses are changing the way we learn, and they show no signs of slowing down.
The future of education is online, and mobile platforms have made it possible for more students to take advantage. This has led to a vast data set from which machine learning algorithms can pull personalized solutions that fit their needs. This is based on big data analytics about student behavior in-class lessons and outside assessments like homework, assignments, or labs performed at home under supervision by an expert.
In the future, it will not be surprising to see more elements of online learning in virtual and augmented reality or advanced machine-learning algorithms that would make education accessible for everyone. The future of online education is looking bright.