Life after Covid-19 has been tremendously difficult on people from varied cities and nations for their essentials to live and thrive. One of the fundamental needs of students during the entire outbreak and the resulting lockdown however, took a back seat. Until now, online learning has a remarkable need and recognition by as many universities, institutions, tutorials and individual students. It has not only seen exponential growth in the last year but has become the only viable option for people to continually learn even during the outbreak. Not just for the students, professionals are also seeking out online courses today for their skill development to gain professional edge in pocket-friendly prices. In fact, corporate eLearning sector has developed by a fascinating increase of 900% from 2001 to 2017 as per e-learning industry study.
With the emphasis on social distancing and related preventive measures of Coronavirus, the new trend of using eLearning tools will not only gain popularity but also be the main way to continue school lessons, get trained in Zumba, or participate in many skill development courses that will keep us abreast with today’s times. While we have encompassed and extended the benefits of this amazing tool of learning, penning down five key benefits of online learning for you.
In Dictionary.com, we have no definition for ‘Upskill’. However, as he name suggests, upskilling refers to a term that can be used when people work towards upgrading their skills to perform better and takes one forward in the career graph. Job promotions, enrichment, career growth are some of the bouquet of benefits of Upskilling. In this VUCA world with ever-changing factors of survival, it is important to keep yourself up-to-date and competitive at all times. As the new VUCA in the face of Corona outbreak hits the world, organisations and nations will be seeing more of an unsettling economy in 2020. What will keep you afloat is to stay in trend and in demand with unusual or competitive skills that can differentiate oneself from the other.
One of the most prevalent advantages of online learning is that students can take up online lessons anytime and anywhere suitable to their schedules. Highly acclaimed interview of Coursera CEO, Jeff Maggioncalda on an Indian News channel recently brought greater insights into how the world could see a paradigm shift in schooling students of varied disciplines through recorded lessons, live interactive online content, webinars and collaborated live learning for anyone and anywhere in the world. He also went to emphasize the financial and time savings of such online certifications where one could avail the same diploma or a degree certificate in half the price simply seated from one corner of the world or from their homes, which are today’s lockdown conditions too.
Again it makes a lot more sense to those full-time employees or professionals prefer to take up additional learning along with their job. They can engage themselves in full time, part-time, weekends, late-evening sessions and can still continue to be employed with the organization. Travel time can be completely eradicated and can be better utilized to upskill oneself.
Again the online courses can be held in an open and interactive format where the students could experience group interactions, discussion forum, refer downloadable resources, upload assignments and ask queries to the teaching faculty. The experience still remains intact even if it is being conducted in a rectangular screen.
The rate at which Covid-19 struck the nations and the resulting changes in the world economy, has put many businesses in a lurch. While many of us are trying to cope up and assess the quantum of damage, some are using the available time to learn online. Education providers will have to oscillate between the surged demand of Online learning today and an ambiguous tomorrow. It is highly disadvantageous to change the curriculum based on such volatile situations. Where traditional classrooms will find it difficult to adapt to the new ecosystem, Online learning can quickly evolve to the supply and demand rotations. The entire course can be easily updated with the help of editing softwares and technological know-how. Not to mention, the cost of printing textbooks, workbooks, administrative and labour costs get drastically reduced.
Online learning certainly is far more efficient in utilization of resources. From the tutor’s point of view, all it takes are only a camera, content and a commercial plan to upload your video lessons as an online tutor. Neither do you require fancy equipment or setup cost nor one needs to invest in bulk printing and circulation.
Returns are higher in terms of time value of money for the student. One can save large hours of travel time spent to reach a classroom. If it is a weekend learning course, one has to prioritise learning over family or weekend agendas. Again, a student can avail the same course from anywhere and anytime with the help of good connectivity tools. Overall reduction in time to travel and optimally utilizing the travel or empty time slots in the day is a great advantage with students and professionals. Not to mention, the travel cost coupled with reduction in hiring an online course is much cheaper than the classroom course.
With such difficult times viz. pay-cuts, diminishing returns on investments, downward slide in the economy have all restricted the lifestyle choices to only bare essentials. Traditional learning environments will pose affordability challenges to many potential learners who may have got struck by the economic crisis. In-classroom sessions will not be readily accessible as well as difficult to avail by lesser-privileged society and will prevent lower income earners to benefit from better education.
Again, the classroom infrastructure may not be well equipped or managed for the physically challenged class of people. Or, those who are as caregivers may not be able to be physically present for an in-person classroom session. Such will be greatly benefited by an online learning model, which can be availed as per their availability, and limiting conditions. They will also enjoy equal right to education and surpass all restrictions at their end.
Penning my final views…
With the testing times brought in by Covid-19 in 2020, there needs to be a sea change in approach and mindset towards online learning solutions. Today’s businesses will need to provide their staff members working from home to avail such engaging opportunities through online Learning. Skill development initiatives can be planned through online and live interactive programs to upskill their employees in considerably lower budgets. Saving on the travel costs, accommodation cost, fringe benefits, administrative costs, etc. companies will be now looking out for online learning for their employees to acquire new skills or upskill their high performing individuals atleast.
Where saving lives has been a major concern for the government bodies, saving our livelihood will need some attention in the subsequent months. Where the work-from-home arrangement will be the last resort for many organisations to ensure business continuity and faster returns, steering your energies to a far more accessible, affordable, flexible and tangible method of learning and development will be an alternative that many will seek out. Where students can largely benefit from highly qualitative education and certifications at low price, professionals will stay afloat in the competitive ecosystem that will emerge out of the market volatility.