By Gaurav Vohra, Chief Business Officer, UNext Learning
Education across the world has seen a tremendous transformation in the last two years during the Covid-19 pandemic. Online education has become a mainstream mode, and technology-driven solutions and products have had a deep impact on areas of learning, teaching, assessment, and training. Now, online or digital technologies are pivotal in conventional education at every level – from early education to research studies.
The role of technology in education is growing along with the rapid advancement in digital technologies and the rise of the digital-savvy population. The market and the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated changes in customer (learner) behaviour. Consequently, online education has registered an exponential growth during the pandemic years (2020-21) and is poised 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 projected to rise to USD 585.48 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 13.8% from 2021 (USD 269.87 billion).
The market growth is propelled by new technologies and trends such as fresh 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 rely on upcoming trends and technological advancement.
Future trends in online education
Listing out some of the upcoming trends in technology and features in online education.
1. Increased adoption of AI: Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be catalysts in online education in expanding the sector to new segments and providing relentless and effective learning. AI can be helpful to source prospective learners from scrapping data available online and inducting them. Enabling effective individual-level learning is the next step in online education. EdTech companies are incorporating AI-ML to ensure an adaptive learning environment based on personal abilities.
2. Micro-learning: Earlier, e-learning platforms transformed the lectures into video formats that allowed learners to control the pace. Currently, the trend is bite-sized videos, short readings, interactive practise tests/ hands-on practical assignments, etc. Based on the learners’ responses, micro-learning has proven to be a more effective online learning mode.
3. Gamification: Engaging the learners throughout the course is a challenging task for all online education providers. From daily physical workouts to financial activities, gamification is ubiquitous in the era of smart technologies. Online education is no exception. This can be implemented in two ways – structural gamification (in which the platform structure would be gamified) and content gamification. Both are helpful 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). Adopting extended reality (XR) in education offers students an interactive, engaging, and near-real learning experience. It helps to explore the details of different concepts and acquire in-depth knowledge of various elements. With advancements in technology and the availability of cheap 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 seamless record-keeping and secure content delivery with smart contracts. It allows educators to offer their services and learners to access this using smart contracts. Students get digital certification when they pay the fees using blockchain. The true application of blockchain in online education is yet to be explored.
These are some of the emerging trends in online education. Also, education providers and EdTech entities should focus on improving their LMS and other e-learning platforms with the right features. Security of the platform is a critical feature to avoid unexpected data leakage. Compatibility is another feature to allow the learners to study from any device even in low bandwidth. User experience and incorporation of design thinking in the interface is also a crucial feature since the learning community includes kids to aged individuals.
In conclusion, the future of online education focuses on the learners and their outcomes. Therefore, the upcoming tech trends are emerging around this perspective and making online learning valuable to every learner.