The stage is set for online learning to start making a serious impact on the education and training industries. There have been a lot of indicators recently that illustrate this point, but here are 3 major ones that I've noticed:
- The US Department of Education's June 2009 meta-analysis on face-to-face vs. online learning which concluded that 'Online education is more effective than face-to-face learning'.
- Big tech review websites like ReadWriteWeb and Mashable posting articles about online learning, both triggered by the above-mentioned report. Previously, these sites have barely touched on the topic. In fact, the last time the term 'online learning' was mentioned on RWW it was November 2006, and Bill Gates had just spoken at the TechNet event at Stanford University about what changes IT will make in society over the next 10 years:
"Changes are now coming faster than ever. We'll be seeing more and more students using tablets instead of stacks of books in schools and in online learning. We'll have computers that can see and learn like people."
- eduFire recently raising $1.3 million in funding to move from providing language courses (for the most part) to new verticals. CEO at eduFire Jon Bischke, says in a blog post "It’s not at all unrealistic to envision a future in which the online class is significantly more engaging and effective than its offline equivalent."
Education is estimated to be a $2 trillion industry and colleges all over the world are now putting more development in to their online programs. Online learning is far from being the mainstream approach but one thing is for certain, change is in the air...