The impact of COVID-19 on the online course industry

Archy Learning

Beyond the initial need that COVID-19 had created in education, what has been the post-pandemic impact on eLearning?

When the COVID-19 pandemic prompted strict lockdown measures across the world in March 2020, the impact on brick and mortar establishments was immediate. From sprawling factories to mom-and-pop corner shops, the pandemic drove customers and employees back into their homes and forced business owners to reconsider their future.

Many of these businesses turned to online education and remote learning as a way to keep their business afloat. In early 2019, the online course industry was forecast to be worth $300B by 2025. The pandemic has propelled this timeline forward greatly, as entrepreneurs, businesses, and teachers pivot online – resulting in a surge in new course creation in the early days of the pandemic and beyond.

Businesses Pivoting From Traditional Learning

The impact of COVID-19 has been, by and large, affecting every individual, team, function, business, industry, and country. It is especially severe for organisations that were highly dependent on in-person Instructor-Led Training (ILT) for their employee development, skilling, and training now being forced to remote work. Their lack of preparedness for a different classroom setup has left them scurrying to find a solution to the immediate problem and also future-proof their Learning and Development (L&D) practices.

Their core business requirements now range from the rapid conversion of ILT to eLearning or Learning Management Systems (LMS), to sourcing ready-made course content for delivery via an online format, to online lectures or Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VLIT).

While just about every industry has seen an increase in online courses, Arts & Entertainment,  Education, and Health & Fitness have been the 3 industries that initially adopted an increase in online courses early on within the pandemic to provide distance learning.

The initial spike in online courses from the March 2020 period is just the beginning though, as the consistent growth rate of online courses since then has proven that the pandemic has only sped up the projected growth timelines for online course usage, as all 3 of these early adopters have since maintained new course creations in 2021.

eLearning for Education

While eLearning has been around for some time now, higher education, colleges and universities have until recently been slow to shift to online and provide a digital learning student experience.

These education systems have since leaned-in to all that eLearning has to offer once pandemic press releases and social distancing became the norm.

However, migrating existing classroom programs to an all-digital format calls for effort, beyond the mere application of existing technology solutions, in order to offer virtual learning. As the pandemic has sidelined most teaching institutes and given industry authorities time to reflect, the core fundamentals of the learning experience have been called into question.

This has lead to an enabling of social learning experiences for groups of students.

What Are The Best Online Learning Practices To Be Considered?

In all of the disorder and confusion that educational institutes have been wading through during the unprecedented pandemic. The challenge for a lot of schools has been finding a solution that might be the most suitable for their programs and their students.

We have recently observed 5 top practices which could be important to consider when selecting an eLearning system to deploy your classes within.

1. Gamification

Gamification refers to the use of gaming elements and techniques integrated into the learning process. It is not purpose built just for fun but to effectively put students on a trackable progress path. Adding games to eLearning transforms passive learning into active learning, as gamification includes the use of challenges, instant feedback, levels to pass, badges, scores, and more, improving completion rates and generating results above average.

2. Go Mobile

By 2025, almost 73% of all internet users will be accessing the web solely through a smartphone according to CNBC. If developing an independent app is not fitting with the budget, it is recommended to have at least a responsive solution accessible, from a variety of devices, including smartphones and other mobile devices.

3. Adaptive eLearning

Adaptive learning refers to a range of solutions that can adapt the distribution of courses and tasks based on a student’s level of experience and knowledge. It can be easily implemented through pre-course tests, personalisation options, and an algorithm that tracks user performances. Adaptive learning crafts the lessons for each specific student.

4. Microlearning

Microlearning refers to the practice of creating short lessons that are packed with relevant information. It can be implemented through concise articles, short modules, videos, infographics, podcasts, or a combination of all of these. This technic is particularly effective when students do not have enough time or concentration to sit down for long periods.

5. Tracking Learning (Analytics)

It is well known that tracking is crucial for every business, including eLearning platforms. For example, with a tracking function, teachers are able to track progress made by their students and adapt their methodology to student needs. Implementing a good tracking system is relatively simple and mostly depends on choosing the right LMS.

Final Thoughts

During these unique times, entrepreneurs are finding new opportunities to market their skills despite the economic challenges brought on by COVID-19. This sudden spike in online course creation isn’t just a flash in the pan but a trend that continues to pick up steam as entrepreneurs, businesses, and educational institutions turn online courses into a regular part of their service offering in order to maintain operations regardless of whatever global events may take place in the future.

Beyond the initial threat, COVID-19 is also an opportunity for education to become more accessible, to provide more flexibility, and even to innovate. Because, in the end, the school’s objective remains the same, it is about preparing students for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

Archy Learning

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