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The Future of Online Learning

Updated: 1/17/2023

By: Jordin Frey

Traditional education settings don’t work for everyone, but thanks to new technologies and internet accessibility, online learning is quickly becoming the preferred choice for many teens and adults. Online education is changing quickly, with the creation of flexible learning technologies in the corporate and education sectors the global online education market is projected to reach $350 billion by 2025. Smartphones, VR and AR systems, and 5G are some technological factors that will play an important role in the future of online learning. Many educators are excited about the role technology will play in the future of online education stating that it will be a way to build an immersive learning environment and that it will be the key to personalized education. Beyond online high school or online certificate programs, the future of online learning will play a huge role in the business world. Learn more about how online education is changing and the important roles it will play.

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The Future of Online Learning

Tech Trends in eLearning

The future of learning is going to rely on mobile. Mobile learning offers the freedom for students to consume content when and where they’d like. It also helps instructors easily monitor learners' performance and respond to questions quickly. 5G will facilitate seamless training and learning in a digital environment for employees and students. Currently, almost 70% of organizations offer mobile learning and 56% of online learners use a smartphone or tablet to complete at least some of their online course-related activities.

Immersive Experiences

Augmented reality, virtual reality, and 360-degree video will help keep students engaged in their education and eliminate distractions. 89% of educators are interested in AR, VR, and 360-degree video to help them build a more immersive learning environment for their students. 98% of educators believe that interactive video will be key to personalized learning in the near future.

Artificial Intelligence

Integrating big data and AI will have a big effect on the future of education. It will be able to track learners’ progress and create a personalized learning experience. It will also be able to bridge language barriers, lessons will be able to be translated into multiple languages so students from all nationalities can participate in the program. AI and big data will also make it possible for students to receive real-time assistance when they need it.

Benefits of eLearning

eLearning is more than a tool for students, it is also going to play a huge role in the future of businesses. 72% of companies believe that eLearning helps them increase their competitive edge by keeping up with industry changes. 42% of companies report that eLearning has led to increased revenue and that every $1 invested in online learning has resulted in $30 back in productivity. eLearning in business has also increased employee retention rate where the retention rate of eLearning is 25-60% where face-to-face is reported to be 8-10%. Online learning also uses 40-60% less of employee time than traditional classroom training.

eLearning also caters to the special needs of adult learners who need or want to continue their education, online programs offer a convenient solution to conflicts with work, family, and study schedules. 63% of students choose online education because it works best with their current work/life responsibilities.

Choosing an Online School

When choosing an online school students reported that the most important factors were affordability, reputation, student awarded academic credit for work/life experience, quickest bath to a degree, and offered hybrid learning. The top three objectives for obtaining an online degree or credential were almost always career driven, starting a new career, starting a new career more aligned with student interest, and get a promotion within the student’s present profession.

When choosing an online school it is important to do research. This includes reading online reviews, looking up graduation rates, checking how long the school has been around, what the average cost and student debt of the school is, checking if there are any hidden cost, if the program allows transfer credits, what type of academic, career, and technical support are available, and finally, if the school is accredited.

Covid-19 and the Future of Online Learning

The future of online education and learning has been expedited over the last couple of years because of Covid-19. Covid-19 caused global school shutdowns which caused a rise in eLearning. It also exposed a critical digital divide. Low-income families make up 30% of all students, but 50% of those students experience connectivity issues or lack access to high-speed internet entirely. These issues specifically impact Native American students and students living in rural communities. Because of this divide, many broadband providers began offering free or discounted plans and devices to those students in need. Along with broadband support, the federal CARES Act allocated billions of dollars to support online learning for K-12 and higher education. These changes made it possible for students to learn remotely and made it evident that online education will likely become a more integral component of school education for all grade levels.

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