Learning Online is the New Norm
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and quarantines all over the world, online education and communication started to take a bigger role in the lives of many students and professionals.
According to UNESCO, almost all the world's learners were affected in one way or another by the global pandemic. Data showed that at it's peak, over 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries were out of school.
This drastically slowed down the traditional education system all over the world, but at the same time, online education industry boomed.
Many teachers, schools, students and companies turned to creating and consuming online learning material, and saw that it has clear advantages over the traditional ways of teaching and learning:
- It is cheaper because the learning material needs to be produced only once, which makes it infinitely scalable.
- The learning material can be of higher quality because it has higher production value than a live class.
- It is accessible anywhere, by anyone with an internet connection.
- The learning can be done asynchronously.
- The progress of the students can be tracked automatically with adequate tools.
But going full online also has some disadvantages:
- Not everyone has access to internet and an adequate environment to learn.
- Following up with the student is not always easy with online courses.
- People can end up dropping out.
- Keeping schools open and supporting teachers is still necessary.
Physical presence is still very useful for younger students (under 18) because they develop relationships, soft skills, learn to live in a society, but when it comes to building marketable skills, or learning things that are on the cutting edge of certain industries, E-learning is the way to go.
This is why the focus of this article is on e-learning when it comes to skill building.
Anyone can be a teacher
This new paradigm in education not only allows more people to learn, but also makes teaching more accessible, and better rewarded.
Great teachers are extremely valuable, and they're starting to get it. It wouldn't be surprising to see many traditional teachers opening an online school.
And, maybe one day they will be treated like pro athletes, who knows 🤷♂️
There are currently people becoming multi-millionaires building courses on Udemy because we have so many tools at our disposal.
It's now very easy to film yourself and explain what you know, and you don't even need to be the world's greatest expert to do so.
Very often, it is actually a disadvantage to know too much because you can end up being a victim of the Curse of Knowledge, which occurs when someone unknowingly assumes that others have the background to understand what is explained.
One of the best type of learning material is often made by a teacher with a few years more advanced than you, experienced enough to teach you and give you valuable insights for your level, but not too advanced so the teacher can still relate to you.
For now, the people who are taking advantage of this opportunity are mostly Online Creators, but this could change as more people start teaching.
The Knowledge Gap is Thinning
Sometimes when browsing the internet, I'm always baffled to see kids who learned how to code, and started building projects at a young age.
There are resources online for people all around the world to be able to develop valuable skills, at any age, for free or cheap, and to learn on their own schedule.
This provides many people with equality of opportunity, and we're starting to see many multiskilled young people. My 13-year-old brother is learning how to code to build video games on YouTube, and I can't wait to see what he'll do in a few years!
As more and more people have access to the internet, the knowledge gap between people will become thinner and thinner.
The current limits of E-learning
Only half of the world’s population (around 3.6 billion people) still lack an internet connection. So we're still a long way to go for everyone to have equality of opportunity, but we're slowly getting there.
Moreover, e-learning still has some drawbacks that were amplified during the COVID-19 Pandemic, as many students had their courses go 100% online, the risks of dropping out increased drastically because of the lack of follow-up and isolation.
Currently, many EdTech companies and online creators are working on solving problems like these by building better tools with better follow-up systems between teachers and students, community-driven learning, and some are exploring interesting approaches like Cohort based courses.
The future of learning looks promising!
I hope you liked this article, I now work in EdTech as a marketer, so I thought that starting to write about it could be interesting :)
PS: I also made a video in which I talk about my experience with college and online education 🙌