Imparting knowledge to the ignorant has been an inevitable process been executed since time immemorial. Acquiring the knowledge virtually or within the boundaries of the campus is no longer a priority . At the primary stage Distance learning was developed to spread out the reach of education to the remote locations. After passing several decades, online learning has now been associated with every culture of education , we can probably imagine.
What is Education?
The aim of the pedogogy of teaching , which startes from the preschool and continue upto college, university or apprenticeship is to facilitate learning, knowledge and skill transfer from one section of people to the group of learners through discussion, teaching, training, or research.
By now every individual is aware of the term distance learning or online education. Let us take a brief on the birth of the distance learning.
The mid-1800s marked the beginning of the distance learning in the form of correspondence courses. Born out of a need for educational opportunities to reach a geographically dispersed population, the first recorded existence of correspondence programs was in the University of London as a higher education pathway and further extended to America in the 1890s.
Not before the industrial revolution of 1920 , that marked the prominence of the distance learning programmes. With the advent of development of new technologies likely the use of radio and television, the oppurtunities of distance learning widened and by the end of 1970s, the introduction of computers made distance learning enter the virtual world. From that every moment, the momentum that online educational courses picked up, there was no looking back .
Though distance education got ample of scopes for its expansion after the computers bumped into the society, its journey to success was not a cakewalk. The educational experts and the mainstream developers were skeptical regarding the techniques it adopted to impart knowledge. Classroom knowledge outside the perimeters of the college was still a far reached thought for them.
Even though many universities did introduce distance learning courses , as a part of cost-recovery programmes but it was not before 1906 that International Correspondence Schools presently known as Penn Foster, enrolled a total head count of 900,000 students and earned a huge profit margin. By mid-century, state institutions like University of Maryland University College and University of Wisconsin Extension become the hot favourite of the online education seekers.
A major milestone in the field of online learning was MOOCs. It was the most researched development in distance education which was first introduced in 2008 and grabbed the limelight in 2012, soon after the world recession.
As the world moved towards heavy inflation and hike in tuition fees of the traditional college programmes, students turned for alternate career degree at affordable rates for higher education. Distance learning modules paved the pathway.
The ground rules that dominate the distance learning education system are –
- Interaction with content
- Interaction with the instructor
- Interaction with other learners
The Internet validated to be a game-changer for correspondence degrees. With time and space, technolgy revolution encouraged various outstanding inventions and simulatneously the education intermingled with inventions, climbed up the steps of success . Video conference and sharing of multimedia files are some of the unparallel technology develoments that line up the success of distance education.
The Rise and Failure of Online Educators
Online degrees nourished the growth of for-profit universities for over a decade. Data suggest that online degree courses penetrated the huge market of education of nearly 40 million Americans . By 2010, there were 3 million learners pursuing online degree programs, 70% of whom attended for-profit institutions.
As per the saying goes, too many fishermen fishing in a diminishing pool is a tragedy of the commons. Over the last 5 years, the online providers have tasted the failure of investment. When the competency rise in the for-profits focused investment , the investors concentrated more in the areas of marketing and enrollment rather than product development.
Many for-profits organisation continue to utilise the same learning management system (LMS), as they did in the period of start-up with very futile attempts to reinstate current technology based online learning. That been said , that are other organistions also , who have been able to break the monotony and adopt to the contineous technology upgrades.
Another major reason for the stagnancy in this market last year are commodity programs like business, technology, psychology, criminal justice, health and education are declining, which declines are offset by growth in differentiated programs and a certain level of saturation.
The Present and The Future
As per the current scenario goes , the online education witness a rising trend based on the differentiated programs that the online programs are offering:
As the name implies , the non-elite educational institutions are going for corporate tie up with the elite honchos of business and thereby enpowering a strong marketplace to promote their educational products. Ashford University have partnered with Forbes for their Ashford’s business school and hence their business continue to grow.
Specialised Online Programs
Blended learning is an amazing and unique way to bring success to online learning. Often its is seen 100% online programs isn’t always enough to make a real contribution to the overall development of the students. So here comes the idea of blended learning.
Connecting Students to Jobs
In recent past, a new marketing strategy has come up to boost online education by creating jobs for the students who enroll for the courses. The education providing institutions tie up with the corporate houses and provide internship and placements in these corporates through projects to the courses, monitoring student work to safeguard the students’ interest and also facilitate online learning.
With the growing awareness of technology , apps, software, gadgets and competitive market strategies for the endorsement of products, people have become more conscious about their needs and aim in terms of curriculum.
To fulfill the global urge for mass education , upliftment for the poor , backward sects of people and develop strong educational backdrop for the under-developed countries , online education has been the carrier and driving force. Such a global appeal for mass education wouldn’t be implemented with out the lending hands of online educational providers.
Now-a-days, social media platforms even support educational forums to exchange projects developments , exchange of ideas and even voice building for any movement. Skype, YouTube channels, Google hangouts to name a few.
Verdict: Online education is Here to Stay
In the rapid growth of robotic world , people have become more prone to technology at ease.
Facilities that encumbers the maximum comfort level will be ruling the business , be it the workforce or education. The more flexibility , accreditation, affordability and skill empowerment the distance learning courses will provide , more prosperity will the programmes yield in near future .