Introduction: The Description of the commodity to discuss
Online education is a type of education that is administered and given through the internet; it would have been difficult to envisage high-quality instruction being delivered online just a few years ago, but in today’s digital age, it is a reality. Adult students returning to school after a break, transfer students, first-generation students, and students with impairments are among the key target audiences for online education (Paudel, 2021). There are many platforms that provide online education, including Udemy, Coursera, and Skillshare, among others. They are an interconnected set of interactive online services that deliver instructors, students, and other education relevant parties with the relevant skills and knowledge, tools, and resources to support and enhance effective education delivery and management via the internet, which serves millions of people. Some of these sites provide course content in animation, photography, and lifestyle, which has influenced the demand for their services tremendously.
Top-tier universities are also adopting the use of online education by making courses available and accessible for students online; this is a clear indication that there is a massive increase in demand from people to learn online due to the rapid increase in the market with a wide variety of platforms options for different groups of people. In the current world, skills that were highly valued just three or four years ago are no longer relevant, hence, in order for one to remain relevant in the global market and to be able to compete with the rest in this evolving world where acquiring new and emerging skills is not an option but a necessity, people are turning to online education which has provided excellent support in identifying the skills that one should learn and hence acting as a catalyzer for people and organizations to help the adoption of this rapid change in the world.
How, when, and why did online education become most popular
Online education has experienced a notable increase in demand over the last decade; this has been attributed to the introduction and the easy access to the internet and education. Online education became more centric in people’s lives worldwide since the COVID 19 outbreak due to the containment measures that discouraged public gatherings, which saw learning institutions being shut down, leading to education being delivered through online means.
The disruption caused by COIVD 19 on people’s social and economic life aspects has caused an acceleration in the movement towards online education, skilled-based training, and affordable credentials that take months and weeks rather than years to achieve.
Interaction between students has been made possible by the use of various ways, including virtual classrooms, email, and videoconferencing.
Factors that have caused the increase in demand for online education
In a world featured by advancements in digital technology, learning online has acquired tremendous popularity in recent years; it is worth noting that there is likeliness for it to stay that way for the long term. This is because, for many people who plan to further their education, online learning is their most preferred option. Considering the preference for virtual means of holding communication amid the pandemic, along with the adjusted emphasis across industries on improving skills, has proved that the merits of online education have turned out to be the most effective form of receiving education for working adults. Some of the factors that have contributed to the increase in the demand for online education include the following:
Flexibility. The main benefit of online education s flexibility, when a person enrolls in an online class, it becomes possible for the person to review course materials and study during their own preferred time, hence one can continue taking care of other businesses like taking care of family members, working fulltime work schedules together with other personal responsibility while earning the education, In addition, interactive videos recorded lectures, and well-written materials are used in online classrooms to teach various course subjects. Even for courses that need live lectures, students may fit coursework into their already hectic schedules and work at their own pace. For these reasons, online education makes learning more comfortable and adaptable.
Ability to advance in a career, Career advancement is one of the major motivations for people need to further their education, it may include upskilling or reskilling, earning job promotion or salary increment, switching career fields, given the flexibility of online learning, it becomes the option since its structure favors the working professionals.
A wide range of courses, Among the notable merits of online education is that workers are able to receive education from schools around the globe and identify the program that best fulfills their desires, this is contrary with on-campus learning which is limited to local options necessitating one to move to another city for a fulltime program. Most well-established higher learning institutions offer online courses, which avails many endless options for learners to achieve their goals or for entrepreneurs to train their employees.
A broader range of perspectives. Considering the fact that online education may be based around the world, one gets the opportunity to gain perspectives from mother professionals in a range of nations. It avails an opportunity for the learner to make exploration on how businesses operate overseas and prepare for a global workforce (Panigrahi, et al, 2018). Moreso, the learner can gain insights from others that come from within or abroad, since online learners have diversified goals and professional knowledge.
Affordability. The online program’s cost varies but with a wider range of offers and categories of credentials comes with a range of prices. Online education provides a chance for anyone interested in learning with an opportunity to choose a course that meets one’s professional needs and financial capabilities. Generally, this will help in saving money that would have been spent on housing and commuting to campus daily.
Ability to gain technical skills, learning online helps the student in acquiring technical knowledge in and out of the class (Liang, et al, 2020). The learner will gain the skills on the usage different software and hardware like zoom and google hangouts, master the use, of course, learning management systems and navigation of digital learning devices, since knowing how to use different kinds of technology is critical. The increase in the demand for online education has led to an increase in its cost.
Source: Statistic, 2022. The target population of online education programs in the United States of America in 2019.
Statistica, 2022. Value of online education market across India in 2016 by category.
Based on data gathered from a variety of sources, it is obvious that the demand for online learning is increasing. A large number of students, including adults returning to school after a long hiatus and international students, choose to enroll in online or distance education programs instead of attending face-to-face classes. It is apparent that the majority of students are comfortable utilizing technology to communicate and manage their learning without needing to appear at a specific location and time.
The data indicates that students go for online education with diversified goals this include;
Reskilling and certification purposes mostly for the already employed people who require extra skills in their jobs as a result of advancement in technology among other reasons, Test preparation, where student’s urn to online educational materials and resources in order to acquire more knowledge aiming at performing well in tests. Higher education is for the people who wish to further their education in order to excel in their professions. Casual learning is not a necessary requirement but the students do it to gain skills just for personal development.
The possible factors that have led to an increase in the demand for online education include, more people perceive online education as affordable. Online education has a good reputation which is a factor cited by many online learning students. Employer’s value soft talents like creative thinking and problem-solving, which students learn in online classes.
The demand for online education is significantly increasing, due to the increased convenience, flexibility, and efficiency of taking courses online has led to many people preferring online education a trend that seems to continue for a long time. The increase in the number of clients corresponds to profitability for the providers. In order to increase revenue, several measures can be considered, this includes, making online education more personalized, considering the fact that every student is different in the way they learn since everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, hence learning should be customized and molded in a way that it best meets the needs of each and every student.
Paudel, P. (2021). Online education: Benefits, challenges, and strategies during and after COVID19 in higher education. International journal on studies in education, 3, 70-85. Doi.org/10.46328/ijonse.32
Panigrahi, R., Srivastava, P., R., Sharma, D. (2018). Online learning: Adoption, continuance, and learning outcome—A review of literature, International Journal of Information Management, 43,1-14, Doi.org/10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2018.05.005.
Liang, X., Xia, Z., Jian, L. et al. (2020). A cost-sensitive online learning method for peptide identification. BMC Genomics 21, 324. Doi.org/10.1186/s12864-020-6693-y