Technology has progressed in leaps and bounds all around the world. In every aspect of human life, technology has served to make things easier and better. Since the turn of the millennium, technology has slowly crept up on various sectors of human life.
One of those sectors is education. Traditionally, education is undertaken in a classroom where each student has to be present for learning to take place. However, that is no longer the case. If you think that social media is the best the internet has to offer, think again! eLearning has snatched the crown from social media.
eLearning refers to any form of learning that is dispensed via the internet, as opposed to a classroom. It is not just a lesson or course dispersed via videos, materials or other storage devices, but an interactive tutoring exercise where both parties involved do not relate with each other physically.
Sometimes, lectures are delivered live through real time video messaging platforms. In this case, you can ask questions and ask for further explanations in real time. Other times, lectures may be pre-recorded and sent to you for perusal at your convenience.
The bottom line with eLearning is that you always have a lecturer or coordinator interacting with you. This coordinator will give and receive assignments, ascertain your level of participation, conduct exams, and grade you accordingly.
You are human and therefore a creature of convenience. eLearning is serving to make the learning and skill acquisition experience a breeze. It is a sure-fire way to attain relevant certification from the comfort of your couch. You no longer have to spend hours in the library poring over content. eLearning affords you the luxury of being provided with regular targeted material.
eLearning resources are designed to make sure that the goal of complete learning online is established. Live eLearning sessions are usually undertaken via classroom management systems. Examples of such systems include Moodle, Blackboard, and Vista.
Using a classroom management system, students can log into classrooms from anywhere in the world. You can go as far as interacting with other students depending on your schedule.
You also don’t have to worry about disparities in course load and quality. In this regard, there is no difference between eLearning platforms and physical institutions for studying. Courses follow the regular schedule. Deadlines and examinations also feature prominently.
Advantageously, you don’t have to deal with housing, feeding, and transportation expenses. You can get that certificate while juggling your day job. As long as you have the requisite discipline, you are good to go.
In fact, research has shown that eLearning students understand lessons better than physically instructed students. This is because lessons are delivered constantly. Also, lessons can be easily repeated to get a superior understanding of what is being taught.
You might be wondering how eLearning started. Well, it has been in existence for a long stretch of time. It might surprise you to know that the first computer aided instruction system was introduced by Donald Bitzer way back in 1960.
Since then, eLearning has progressed by leaps and bounds. By 1994, the first online institute of learning was founded. By the early 2000s, major brands started using eLearning to instruct employees all around the world.
Today, it has bloomed into one of the most valuable industries around. Working hand in hand with the world of ecommerce, eLearning has served many and won’t be stopping anytime soon.
As with any revolutionary idea, eLearning has become a valuable industry. In 2016, the monetary size of the eLearning industry was estimated to be around $165 billion. In the United States alone, that figure was estimated at almost $30 billion.
We are in the information age now, and companies no longer have to offer physical services to be called companies. Social media giant Facebook is one of the biggest companies out there. In the same vein, eLearning websites are very successful companies.
There are hundreds of corporate eLearning platforms out there, and they offer a vast range of courses for everyone. These corporate firms are divided into two broad groups based on the type of learning they provide.
These groups are:
Synchronous eLearning occurs when students and lecturers are online at the same time. The timing of these classes and lectures are determined by a pre-arranged schedule. Synchronous eLearning often involves chats, live streaming, and video conferencing.
Asynchronous eLearning, on the other hand, refers to learning delivered via electronic mail and the web. It usually involves the use of message boards and is more flexible than synchronous learning.
A few of the major players in the corporate world of eLearning include:
Teachrl – A vast selection of courses, mostly taught in Spanish, Teachrl is full of asynchronous courses on many different topics. The site has less of an academic vibe because the focus falls on practical, hand-on approach. The courses are direct and very practical, allowing the students to apply the newly acquired knowledge in real-life situations right away. Overall, Teachrl is a great platform for studying the basics and laying solid foundations in variety of fields.
Coursera – Coursera is another corporate body that has been able to make substantial headway in the eLearning industry. As of now, Coursera has over 25 million users and over 200 tutors. Coursera partners with over 149 universities. The price of the online degrees vary from as low as $15 to $25,000.
Lynda – Lynda offers asynchronous learning and has over 6,000 active courses. It partners with over 10,000 organizations worldwide, and has over 2.5 million members globally.
Last year, North America had the highest revenue when it came to selling eLearning products and services with the figures being larger than $20 billion. eLearning is a highly lucrative industry, and it is growing at an accelerated rate. So much that by 2020, it is estimated that the global eLearning corporate market will be worth over $30 billion. In the United States alone, the adaptive software market is expected to reach over $2 billion within that same timeframe.
– Tarun Reddy