e-Learning or online learning is growing rapidly, especially in the recent years. With high demand for greater accessibility to education and wider choices in subject materials, e-Learning has become one of the most viable methods for learning.
The State of e-Learning in 2020
The industry has branched out into different categories, each serving different markets, from college students to corporate employees, career changers and individuals pursuing self-learning.
With a growing number of students, e-Learning is expected to expand even further. Research estimates that by 2025, the industry revenue could climb up to $325 billion, triple its value in 2015.
Growth of e-Learning
Massively Open Online Courses
Massively Open Online Courses or MOOCs are lessons that can be accessed at any point in time from anywhere. This accessibility has led to the early success of online learning. A few of the well-known MOOCs are as follows:
- Code Academy
- Bright Space
- LinkedIn Learning
Each of them has their own lineup of courses offered, skills taught, and certificates given, making these types of learning options attractive to a variety of people and industries. MOOC companies continually improve on their usage accessibility and their range of content. One of the leading players in the market is Coursera, which obtained upwards of $140 million in revenue in 2018.
However, despite MOOC’s popularity with education institutions, a survey done by Statista reveals that 73% of undergraduate students across the globe were unaware of what MOOCs are. Because of this, marketing today plays a vital role in increasing awareness for MOOC companies and in making them stand out among competitors.
Corporate e-Learning providers
Another reason for the widespread success of e-Learning is its utilization within company setups. Corporate e-Learning providers help equip employees with the latest skills necessary for business growth and development. Since most industries operate in a fast-paced, continuously-adapting environment, conducting training programs is a tried-and-tested method to keep employees and management up-to-date with the market.
Life-long learning is a particular interest of a significant part of the workforce. As employees gain new knowledge, they’re able to develop new systems and products that are not only beneficial for businesses and themselves, but for their industry and the broader society as well.
Some of the well-known Corporate e-Learning brands are:
- Adobe Inc.
- Blackboard Inc.
- Cisco Systems Inc.
e-Learning companies typically house a library of varying learning materials in order to cater to a wide range of industries. According to eLearningindustry, 72% of businesses that utilize online learning for their workforce attest that e-Learning puts their business at a competitive advantage over others. On the other hand, in a survey done by online institution Excelsior College and Zogby International, 83% of CEOs view certificates from reputable e-Learning platforms as credible as university degrees.
The underlying reason for these staggering figures is the return on investment that e-Learning brings to businesses that leverage it. First off, these online platforms recognize the unique learning capabilities of each trainee by providing abundant and varied learning materials. This way, companies can hone in on the strengths of each employee and use their newfound knowledge to improve the business.
Another reason for its success within the corporate landscape is the increased productivity of workers that comes from the additional training provided for them. Employees equipped with the latest industry-relevant skills can perform previous tasks with more efficiency and capably address higher-level problems. A study done by IBM shows that every dollar invested in online learning results in a $30 worth of increase in employee productivity. Besides hard and technical skills, there seems to be a growing niche for teaching soft skills such as leadership and project management.
Today, e-Learning is viewed either as a complementary branch or a competitor to traditional education. However, universities and colleges actually gave birth to online learning. According to TalentLMS, the very first e-Learning courses were started by universities to reach out to untapped markets. These courses targeted people who preferred distance learning such as employees working full-time, entrepreneurs, and students living in other geographical locations.
One of their solutions was to provide a platform where students can learn even if they’re off-campus. This gave rise to remote learning and e-classrooms which are now common features of traditional universities. In fact, 98% of U.S. colleges are offering online programs.
Today’s higher education institutions that actively utilize online learning look at it not as a competition or a replacement for traditional learning, but as a supplemental part of the student’s collective learning environment. This is solidified by the fact that the academe alone takes up 50% of the global e-Learning market share.
As the younger generations who are adept in using newer technologies begin their freshman years in college, different higher education institutions are looking to expand on this type of medium of instruction. Educational content is constantly being developed using new formats and technologies, specifically for mobile, AR, and VR use.
Micro-learning pertains to decreasing the sizes of lessons into bite-sized content in order for students to take in information more easily. Using micro-learning, instructors are able to pinpoint the gaps in teaching methods with more accuracy, enabling them to address their curriculums accordingly.
In order to fully maximize this e-learning trend, providers need to closely examine the questions prospective students have during the process of determining the right education program for them. By providing beneficial information to students, an online learning’s credibility becomes cemented and their content sought-after.
Personalization and Adaptive Learning
Tech giants such as Netflix and Amazon started the wave for personalization which carried over into different industries. If a product or service isn’t personalized, the brand becomes less of a primary choice for prospective customers.
In the education industry, personalization provides more value for learners by offering courses that are in-line with their own learning goals and custom needs. This can be done by closely examining patterns of behavior of learners such as what previous courses they’ve taken or how long they take to finish a course.
On the other hand, adaptive learning automates its content based on the personal information a student gives. For example, there are plenty of learning platforms that provide a set of questions that determine a student’s current knowledge and preferred learning style. After gathering the data, these adaptive learning tools devise the best possible plan for the student to learn their preferred material.
Both of these methods follow the same principle–to customize the content of educational materials toward the needs of their students.
Since videos have been steadily on the rise for digital marketing, it has greatly influenced the online learning space as well. Students are now looking into videos as an alternative and accessible way to learn.
It is estimated that by 2022, 82% of internet traffic will be generated by video consumption. This figure is expected to be higher for the Generation Z population who is closely familiar with high-speed internet and an abundance of video content. For example, Gen Z students turn to videos to get a look and feel of university campuses or to watch a review of e-Learning course sites.
Immersive Learning Experience and Engagement
With newer and faster technologies being invented daily, the speed and the way information is presented changes as well. Two of the most anticipated technologies are Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. In the education industry, these two can be used to help instructors develop engaging visualizations for students.
In its full development, the e-Learning industry is hoping to hone in on its immersive experience in order to fully explain lessons to students. These types of technologies also minimize distractions since students are fully focused on the subject matter at hand.
People spend more time on mobile than they do on desktops and laptops.
Through apps, students can access their lessons anywhere and at any time. In fact, the widespread use of mobile for educational purposes has led mobile learning to become and develop into its own separate entity from online learning.
According to Shift Learning, some key features of mobile learning courses are as follows:
- One thought per screen area
- Large buttons
- User-friendly and simple navigation
Gamification proves to be an effective method for students. It uses game principles and elements in order to communicate tasks and information effectively. This has been a vital part of e-Learning as more and more people are looking toward less traditional ways of learning such as summarizing and memorizing. Numerous studies have also shown that more engaging methods like games can help enhance long-term memory.
With the surge of the use of Big Data, the e-Learning space will be relying increasingly more on analytics to measure the performance of students and assess the next steps of their curriculum. Some of the vital learning information that can be measured are the following:
- Learner’s Performance
- Course progress
- Course completion
Tracking these items help shape online courses so that students fully understand their lessons. Some companies have even taken analytics into the next level with daily data which tracks and records every progress made daily.
What does this mean for your business?
Online learning is more attractive than ever. More and more businesses are trying to hop on the trend. With the market becoming saturated, organizations may have a harder time differentiating itself from its competitors.
Students, in order to differentiate e-Learning companies from each other and find which learning platform is best suited for them, rely on the internet–on what they read, hear, or watch online. They look for the best possible institutions that will cater to their different needs.
However, even with programs and courses personalized to address their needs, it’s also imperative to be at the forefront of their searches. Delivering powerful and resonating marketing initiatives towards target audiences builds and cements the reputation of e-Learning providers and institutions.