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Online Education in 2021. How eLearning Trends Are Shaping the Future of Education

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Even though rapid development and increased popularity of online education around the globe has been the trend for more than a decade now, in the last couple of years eLearning has become truly mainstream. The COVID-19 epidemic played a major role in this of course, but other factors, such as new high-level learning courses and education technologies available for free or for a small fee, heavily contribute as well. Studies show that the perception of education in general in the world has changed a lot and continues to transform rapidly, with online education being the biggest transformation driver. Here is some research data and analytical insights showing us how exactly the online education is gaining momentum in the world. Online Education in 2021. How eLearning Trends Are Shaping the Future of Education - 1

Online education trends

1. Online learning technologies being adopted on a massive scale.

There are a number of online learning trends that are being adopted on a massive scale in both private and public sectors. For example, according to the data by National Center for Education Statistics, 35% of learning and development institutions in the U.S. are planning to adopt Custom Learning Paths, a part of personalized learning approach which incorporates innovative online technologies. Other online learning trends that are getting rapidly implemented include Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) training, microlearning, mobile learning, gamification, and so on. Pretty much all new education trends and techniques in 2021 are based on Internet technologies and online learning, and that is not surprising.

2. The popularity of MOOCs is rocketing.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic in early 2020, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are experiencing explosive growth. According to this report, Coursera closed over 10 million enrollments in 30 days, which is a 644% increase compared to their 2019 figures. edX jumped to Alexa’s top-1000 websites ranking, while Udacity reported that their platform signed up more students in one week in March 2020 than it had in the second half of 2019. Another big trend, increasing the popularity of Massive Open Online Courses, is stackable micro-credentials that are offered by MOOCs on an increasing level. Udacity, for example, has partnered with AT&T and Google to deliver some nanodegree programs to its users, while the European MOOC Consortium is working with higher education institutions to develop the Common Microcredential Framework.

3. Traditional educational institutions expand their online learning programs.

Traditional educational institutions, facing rising demand for digital content and courses, are forced to expand their online learning programs. And this trend, analysts predict, will continue post-epidemic, as more and more students are choosing online learning for its flexibility and convenience. In the Online College Students 2019 survey conducted by Learning House, 63% of respondents said that they enrolled in an online program because it was the best fit for their work and life responsibilities, while another 34% stated online is their preferred way of learning.

4. Traditional education system has been severely damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As an addition to everything stated above, the education sector was been hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic. According to a UNESCO report, an estimated 1.5 billion students in over 165 countries were effectively out of school as a result of global COVID-19 lockdown. Experts say that the negative effects of the pandemic on traditional education could be felt for up to 5 more years even after the crisis itself comes to end. As the number of students enrolling in universities around the globe in the next several years is estimated to decrease 15 to 20% over the next couple years, online learning programs are expected to grow at least 5% per year.

5. Young generations prefer self-learning online.

A survey conducted by Censuswide reveals that Gen Z and Millenials show more favor toward self-directed and independent learning compared to their Gen X and Boomer counterparts. 43% of students from Generation Z (born 1996-2010) prefer self-directed and independent learning to traditional education. A previous generation, Millennials, also leans to online education with 42% saying they prefer self-learning.

Why online education is on a roll

The reasons for growing adoption of online learning and innovative online education techniques are quite obvious as they have a number of advantages over the traditional education models. Here a few examples of how online learning is beneficial.

  • Lower costs of education.

Studying online is always cheaper for obvious reasons: teaching students online doesn’t require premises or equipment, as well as many other things. Besides the actual price of offline learning, there are other costs to consider, such as transportation or living costs if it’s a university which is far from a student's home. The time spent travelling back and forth is also something to consider, if you believe that time is the ultimate currency.

  • Flexible schedule.

The ability to pick your own schedule and pace of learning is another crucial strength of online education. Students don’t have to follow a single schedule that is the same for everyone, but can pick their own schedule that works the best and allows them to combine learning with other occupations and life priorities.

  • Higher quality of teaching and learning materials.

Since most online learning courses provide information directly to the student, without the need to hire a teacher, in most cases educational programs online are better structured and properly taught, compared to offline education. As the way learning materials are presented is one of the most important distinctive features of any online course, typically this part gets most attention when developing the course, which results in higher quality.

  • Rich customization and personalization options.

Besides customizable schedules, online learning also offers students the ability to customize the program itself to focus on the fields they really need to know or subjects that they would like to prioritize. Another benefit of studying online is the ability to learn the same information in different ways: by reading textbooks, listening to lectures or watching seminars, for example.

  • Focus on applicable skills and practical knowledge.

Another big advantage of online courses and learning programs is focus on applicable in real work skills through practical experience and solving relevant tasks, when in traditional education very often that is not the case. Focus on practical skills is one of the main reasons why learning programming online quickly displaces conventional offline Computer Science education, for example.

Why learning how to code online is a good idea

Talking about learning how to code, which in today’s world is an extremely in-demand skill and a way to reach new career heights even for those who don’t want to work in software development, CodeGym as an online Java course incorporates a number of eLearning techniques, such as gamification, social interaction and program customization, with carefully crafted learning materials and focus on practical skills that are relevant when applied to real tasks and projects. Here’s what makes CodeGym such an effective course to learn Java. Not sure you need to learn Java? Here are a few reasons why it would be a good idea to learn how to code even if you are not planning to become a programmer or work in software development.
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