COVID-19 drastically boosted e-learning across the globe—and could permanently change the way students learn

What e-learning trends will 2020 bring to the table?

COVID-19 drastically boosted e-learning across the globe—and could permanently change the way students learn

The internet has radically changed the way people obtain information, and part of this digital revolution is the way we teach and learn. The current COVID-19 pandemic, however, is playing a major role in speeding up this learning process as millions worldwide turn to e-learning platforms to continue their studies or find ways to share the knowledge they already have.

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Over the past two years, more than 6 million students worldwide have enrolled in online courses, with that number expected to rise in 2020. In 2019 alone, 81 percent of U.S. college students reported that digital learning technology helped them to improve their grades.

It’s not surprising, then, that according to a 2019 study, the online education market is projected to reach $350 billion by 2025. The same report also found that the United States, China, and India are leading the global online education market due to growing internet adoption, distant learning programs and the availability of online courses.

Digging deeper into e-learning’s evolution

A new report from Payoneer, an online payments platform, delves further into the e-learning evolution and highlights how the industry has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. It also examines the long-term prospects for those working in this space, including virtual teachers.

As noted, the demand for e-learning has certainly boomed. Video communication tools have advanced and enable people to more easily work or learn from home, freelancing is quickly becoming a preferred lifestyle of choice, and due to COVID-19 and the sudden shift to remote work, larger businesses and companies are now actively seeking remote talent who hold specific professional skills.

The closure of schools, social distancing measures, and the sudden shift to quarantine has meant millions of people—including teachers and children worldwide–have had to quickly adapt to a new reality; connecting solely online in order to teach, work, and learn.

The COVID effect

While online education has been growing steadily in the past few years, the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly paved the way for even stronger e-learning market growth. As a result, global e-learning platform Coursera saw drastic growth during the peak of the outbreak with more than 25 million enrollments since mid-March, a 520 percent increase from the same period last year.

Udemy, another American online learning platform, recently reported a 425 percent increase in enrollments of students and a 55 percent increase in course creation by instructors. Categories with the highest surge in new courses include office productivity (159 percent increase), health & fitness (84 percent), IT & software (77 percent) and personal development (61 percent).

The surge in online learning

While the numbers of those enrolled in online courses has soared in the last two years, Payoneer’s report reflects how this enrollment surge was also matched on the teaching side, with 48 percent of professional skills teachers and 38 percent of foreign language teachers joining the online education industry within the last two years.

What is most promising, though, is that 90 percent of online teachers would consider making online teaching their primary source of income. A strong indication as to how bright the future looks for those in this field.

It seems then that COVID-19 has certainly pushed e-teaching and e-learning into the spotlight like never before. With schools, organizations, and employees finding themselves to be far more globally-connected, the tools and languages required to succeed in such an environment are likely to continue to be in demand once the pandemic is over.

The future is bright

The COVID-19 pandemic swiftly forced millions worldwide to adapt to a new reality. While many moved to remote working, others found themselves with extra time, which they quickly channeled into new ways to communicate, teach and learn. As a result, while e-learning was already enjoying steady growth, the industry has propelled forward at greater speed and expanded to wider audiences.

It’s also clear that the current economic climate has boosted demand to learn both foreign languages and professional skills. After all, when the world is so globally connected, students everywhere have recognized the need to stay ahead of the curve.

Meanwhile, those with something to teach are rapidly onboarding to e-learning platforms to either supplement their existing salaries or use them as their sole source of income. Indeed, when so many online teachers would consider making e-teaching their primary source of income , it’s clear that e-teaching has come into its own and, although there is much room to grow, all the signs show that the future is bright for this inspiring industry.

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