The COVID-19 outbreak has disrupted all sectors of the global economy in ways no one could have predicted. Education, for example, is about to undergo a fundamental change. The strict lockdown and social distancing measures have affected up to 1 billion students worldwide. This is a disorder unparalleled in human history.
But here the technology, the application of which has so far remained marginal at best, offers a glimmer of hope; This training can be continued despite all the challenges. The restriction is that it could look very different from what we are currently used to.
eLearning in the time before COVID.
The technology in question is eLearning. It’s not uncommon or avant-garde technology. The term was first used in 1999 at a seminar on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In the pre-COVID-19 era, there was a general feeling that old teaching and learning methods were becoming increasingly out of date and this contributed to the steady adoption of eLearning solutions. Global edtech investments totaled $ 18.66 billion in 2019. The forecast for online education is estimated at $ 350 billion by 2025. These are not small numbers, but when compared to the overall market size, they can look like a drop in the ocean.
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Trends in the After the pandemic .
The pandemic catapult has accelerated the adoption rate and growth of eLearning solutions. Below are some of the recent trends in eLearning:
- In advance, a tutoring market founded in 2013, announced $ 10 million in Series A funding in late March. The company said it will try to scale its operations and focus more on the US market, where it plans to open an office by the end of 2020.
- In what has been dubbed the largest online movement in the history of education, approximately 730,000, or 81%, of K-12 students in Wuhan began teaching through the Tencent classroom in mid-February after the Chinese government directed students to graduate continue via online platforms.
- lark, a Singapore-based collaboration suite that made its way to eLearning, offering teachers and students advanced features such as unlimited video conferencing, automatic translation, real-time project editing and intelligent calendar planning. The company has significantly expanded its global server infrastructure and technical capabilities to meet growing demand.
- BBC also wanted to do its part to promote virtual learning; Originally launched on April 20, 2020, the Bitesize Daily service offers hundreds of lessons to children across the UK over 14 weeks. The service includes over 200 talented teachers as well as soccer stars, celebrities and award-winning musical personalities offering some of the lessons.
eLearning trumps traditional classroom learning.
As the eLearning juggernaut becomes faster and faster, a critical examination of its effectiveness and trust must follow. However, the related research is again predominantly beneficial for eLearning. Studies suggest that students retain 25-60% more material when studying online than when studying in the classroom, retaining 8-10%. In addition, eLearning is a faster learning tool and takes 40-60% less time than traditional classroom environments. This is because students can learn at their own pace.
Types of eLearning.
eLearning is often categorized based on the type of tools, content, and lack / presence of synchronicity. In principle, all forms of eLearning can be explained under the following 4 categories.
- Synchronous eLearning – interaction between students and teachers in real time
Synchronous eLearning takes place in real time, with the exchange of ideas and information with one or more participants taking place at the same time. Typical examples are Live instruction / feedback sessions between students and teachers, Skype conversations, virtual classrooms or chat roomswhere all participants work together at the same time. Synchronous learning boosts learners’ online awareness and makes them more open-minded as they have to actively listen to their teachers / colleagues.
- Asynchronous eLearning – self-directed learning
Asynchronous eLearning differs from synchronous eLearning in that it runs at its own pace and does not require other participants to be involved at the same time. It is very beneficial for learners with chronic health problems or child care responsibilities. Asynchronous learning provides a stress-free environment and flexible time frame for learners to complete their work. You can turn to experts for the necessary guidance for a specific job. Asynchronous learning enables learners to earn diplomas faster and even retake failed exams without sitting in a class full of younger students. Common tools and technologies for asynchronous learning include: Videos, podcasts, eBooks, discussion forums and blogs.
- Linear learning – the instructor is the main source of information
Computer Assisted Training (CBT) is a series of learning activities carried out using a computer or handheld devices such as smartphones or tablets. In the early days, CBT usually delivered content on CD-ROM and linearly, comparable to reading an online book or manual. For this reason, CBT is preferred to teach static processes like learning to use software or completing math equations.
Multiple choice questions, radio buttons, drag and drop, or other interactive means that can be assessed and recorded by a computer form the basis for assessing performance. With the ability to embed rich media such as videos and animations to enhance the overall learning experience, CBTs are quickly becoming an alternative to printed learning.
- Collaborative learning – everyone learns
Computer-aided collaborative learning uses a range of teaching methods to encourage learners to work in a group to do different types of learning tasks. It is also known as social learning and is gaining traction as it provides a perfect environment for creative and engaged educational endeavors. The learners actively talk about the content and have justified the interaction about possible problems and actions.
Collaborative learning is very different from classroom-based learning, where the trainer is seen as the primary source of information / knowledge. Instead, collaborative learning uses social software, wikis, podcasts, blogs, and discussion groups to improve learning. Proponents of this type of learning often claim that “the best way to learn is to teach it to others”.
Different types of eLearning platforms.
As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 has given eLearning a big boost and we are seeing an exponential increase in the number of people interested in online learning – either to learn a new subject / skill or to teach online. There are tons of online learning platforms that people can use to learn, create, or sell courses online. Before we analyze these platforms further, however, we need to distinguish between online tutoring marketplaces, eLearning platforms, and platforms for creating online courses.
- Real-time online tutoring platforms
The introduction of an online tutoring platform concept has recently gained great popularity in the eLearning field. It basically connects people who need expert assistance and guidance in choosing a subject with those who can offer it.
While some marketplaces match learners with tutors based on their specific needs, others allow learners to browse tutors’ profiles and select the tutor who they think best suits their needs. In both scenarios, learners can schedule trial lessons to identify the right trainer for them.
The form of learning is very interactive and the tutors can adapt the lessons to the individual requirements of the learners. Communication takes place through a combination of media. Video / audio chat supports functions such as digital whiteboard, text pad, screen sharing and much more. Preply, Cambly and Chegg tutors are the best examples of online tutoring platforms.
- Online course platforms
Put simply, an online learning platform is an information system where learners can take online courses to better understand or understand a particular subject. These are often referred to as online course marketplaces as they allow learners to search for their preferred online courses directly and then pay for them. Most of the content is education based and is geared towards university level educational needs. Udemy and Coursera are the best examples of online course platforms.
Solutions for the start of the eLearning marketplace.
Gone are the days when you had to spend millions of dollars building an eLearning marketplace from scratch. There are numerous turnkey solutions out there that will allow you to get your eLearning marketplace up and running in a short amount of time. The solutions are periodically updated based on feedback from companies using the solution. This makes it more user-friendly compared to custom development, which may have some issues for the first time.
A white label and fully customizable solution like Yo! Coach can be an ideal choice. It enables business owners to launch a future-proof online tutoring and counseling platform. The solution is pre-integrated with video conferencing APIs such as (Cometchat, Zoom and LessonSpace), which can be used to create a collaborative online learning environment with functions such as whiteboard, text pad, video / text chat, screen sharing, code editor and much more.
The COVID-19 outbreak is a clear reminder of our need to adapt. Often, segments of the economy that are resistant to change are more affected in such situations. Classroom learning has long been the modus operandi in education. But national bans and social distancing laws have made us rethink our approach to education.
This is one of the main reasons for the popularity of online learning platforms lately. The more people switch to the online area for education and knowledge, the greater the scope and application of these solutions. Even the critics of online learning moderate their stance, and it is fair to say that there has never been a better time for edupreneurs or solo preneurs to build their online learning platform.