By Gaurav Vohra, Commercial Director, UNext Learning
Education across the world has seen a huge transformation over the past two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Online education has become mainstream, and technology-driven solutions and products have had a profound impact on the fields of learning, teaching, assessment, and training. Today, online or digital technologies are essential in conventional education at all levels – from pre-school education to research studies.
The role of technology in education is growing alongside the rapid advances in digital technologies and the increase in the digitally literate population. The market and the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated the behavioral changes of customers (learners). Therefore, online education has witnessed exponential growth during the pandemic years (2020-21) and is set to grow further in the coming years. The global online e-learning market size was approximately USD 101 billion in 2019. According to ResearchAndMarkets, a global market research firm, the online education market is expected to reach USD 585.48 billion. by 2027 at a CAGR of 13.8% from 2021 (USD). 269.87 billion).
Market growth is propelled by new technologies and trends such as new investments and mergers in education technology (EdTech) and online education, adoption of AI-ML, cloud technology , IoT, extended reality, etc. The future of online education continues to be driven by upcoming trends and technological advancements.
Future Trends in Online Education
Listing some of the upcoming technology and feature trends in online education.
1. Increased adoption of AI: Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be catalysts for online education by expanding the sector to new segments and providing relentless and effective learning. AI can be useful in finding potential learners from the removal of data available online and their introduction. Enabling effective learning at the individual level is the next step in online education. EdTech companies integrate AI-ML to ensure an adaptive learning environment based on personal abilities.
2. Micro-learning: Previously, e-learning platforms transformed lectures into video formats that allowed learners to control the pace. Currently, the trend is towards small videos, short reads, interactive practice tests/hands-on labs, etc. Based on learner responses, micro-learning was found to be a more effective mode of online learning.
3. Gamification: Engaging learners throughout the course is a challenging task for all online training providers. From daily physical workouts to financial activities, gamification is ubiquitous in the age of smart technologies. Online education is no exception. This can be implemented in two ways: structural gamification (in which the structure of the platform would be gamified) and content gamification. Both are useful for students learning while playing a game as they can check and improve their performance in real time.
4. Extended Reality (XR): It is a combination of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR). The adoption of Extended Reality (XR) in education provides students with an interactive, engaging, and near-real learning experience. It helps to explore the details of different concepts and gain in-depth knowledge of various elements. With advancements in technology and the availability of inexpensive VR devices, learners will have more and better immersive learning experiences in the near future.
5. Blockchain: This niche technology focuses on providing secure and reliable services to customers. Blockchain in online education enables transparent record keeping and secure content delivery with smart contracts. It allows educators to offer their services and learners to access them using smart contracts. Students get digital certification when they pay the fees using the blockchain. The true application of blockchain in online education remains to be explored.
These are some of the emerging trends in online education. Additionally, education providers and EdTech entities should focus on enhancing their LMS and other e-learning platforms with the right features. Platform security is an essential feature to prevent unexpected data leaks. Compatibility is another feature allowing learners to study from any device even with low bandwidth. The user experience and the integration of design thinking in the interface is also a crucial feature, as the learning community includes children and the elderly.
In conclusion, the future of online education focuses on learners and their outcomes. Hence, upcoming technology trends are emerging around this prospect and making online learning valuable for every learner.