With the rise in tuition fees and stricter selection process in universities and colleges across the globe, more and more people are now opting for online education courses. As online programmes offer an easily accessible, flexible and affordable means to earn a college degree, it has gained significance prominence among educators, employers and students worldwide. The fact is, with further technological advancements online learning is revolutionising higher education.
Digital education has the ability to drastically expand the reach of education to students who cannot access traditional classroom education and provide them the opportunity to develop essential knowledge and skills. Moreover, it extends learning opportunities across demographic and geographic restrictions. It also helps in improving the way we teach and learn by boosting the quality of instruction, creating an enhanced learning environment, reducing costs and improving productivity. Moreover, online study courses allows aspiring learners to earn a university degree without investing excessive time and money and avoiding student debts.
Rick Beyer, a Managing Partner of Miles Howland Education Partners, said in a recent interview “Consumers of education are changing their purchasing habits. As we noted earlier, this is due to a combination of cost, and a growing concern about student’s and family’s return on investment, specifically related to skill sets, jobs, and debt. There is an imbalance between what a “college education” is sold as, and what it actually does — it’s a disconnect in the “college story,” if you will.”
Creating a balance
However, online learning programmes significantly help in removing this “ imbalance” as it has shifted the trend from teacher-centric learning to student-centric learning. As a wide variety of courses are offered online by many recognised global universities, students can easily opt for their desired course and study what they want, hoe they want and when they want. Online education has especially proved to be a boon for professionals who wish to advance their careers by earning an additional degree. Online courses offer high levels of flexibility that allows professional to carry on their existing jobs while pursuing higher education.
Beyer added “We are moving on into the digital age, and some strategists have suggested that really we are just now at the beginning of innovation in the digital world — that the real disruptive digital innovations are yet to come. As we progress further into the digital age, the skill set requirements at our campuses will be different. Really different.” He continued “The role of the faculty will change, moving from lecturing and teaching to mentoring and coaching. Enrollment management for campus-based students is vastly different from management of online enrollment, and requires different skill sets. Institutions will need to create new policies and governance structures to address online and digital learning.”
The former technology CEO believes that the demand and popularity of digital education will not only change the way our students learns, but it greatly modify how institutes work and operate. He added “I am optimistic about the future of higher education. Innovative organisations who can leverage new approaches to learning, while meeting consumer needs in a lower cost manner, will do well. And most incumbent institutions have the ability to meet this soon-to-be future state successfully, if they couple this ability with institutional will. The “will” part of it is probably the biggest challenge. On the other hand we may look back seven to ten years from now and ask where did all the colleges go? I guess one way to think about this is that for sure there will be winners and losers.”
There is no doubt that online study has greatly influenced higher education in the last few years and provided unique benefits to the learners which was never possible with traditional education. As eLearning courses become even more affordable and accessible, there is no doubt that both learners and educators will greatly benefit from it. Online learning will not only evolve higher education, but take it to a whole new level.
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