Unleashing the potential of online learning

Online learning, often called e-learning, can present educators with a whole range of new possibilities. In the past it also suffered from certain disadvantages, such as limitations on student engagement, collaborative work, and classroom supervision. However, new ideas and technologies have been minimising these disadvantages while simultaneously bringing about new and unforeseen advantages. E-learning now allows for much more flexible pacing, time management, and student autonomy. By being more flexible with lesson times, students who naturally take longer can do so without fear of holding back others. New technology-based solutions are also making personalisation more widely available than ever before.

E-learning projected to continue growing after the pandemic ends

For these reasons and many others, the e-learning market has been growing dramatically. Obviously, the elephant in the room is the fact that much of this was necessitated by school closures during the height of the pandemic. However, the growth of the e-learning market is projected to continue growing at an unprecedented pace. In the United States alone, the e-learning market is projected to grow by $72.41 billion between 2020 and 2024. Globally, this means that the online education market is projected to reach a value of $350 billion by 2025. This represents a CAGR of almost 10 per cent. Much of this will probably be hybrid learning and similar methodologies that aim to take the best of both online and in-person teaching and combine them. For context, the size of the market in 2019 was just under $190 billion.

Some estimates project even more radical growth. For instance, another report showed the value of the e-learning market (just for schools) at around $110 billion in 2019. It projects that this will reach almost $600 billion globally by 2026, which would mean a CAGR of almost 27 per cent. Naturally, there’s always going to be some statistical variation, based on how a certain market is defined and other factors. The common theme is that significant growth is expected. Even before the pandemic, there was growth. For instance, an article in Forbes from August 2019 talked about how online learning was gaining traction in schools, where previously it was mostly found in further education settings.

Software solutions that can handle school applications

The application process in schools has often been one of the more tedious aspects of education. Long queues of parents, waiting lists, slow response times, and the need for lots of paperwork and printing made it an unenjoyable experience for everyone involved. However, solutions like SchoolMint are now being adopted to help solve these problems. SchoolMint’s software, called SchoolMint Enroll, is designed to help streamline the whole application process for both parents and administrators. SchoolMint Enroll is an online enrolment system that has a customisable design, which allows school administrators to change it to fit their needs.

It also comes with a dashboard that families can use to easily sign documents, submit requested forms, get instant notifications, and track all of their applications at the same time from one place. One of the most useful aspects of this system and others like it is that it’s automated, thereby allowing administrators to handle a greater influx of applications at the same time.

Shopping online for the best e-learning options

One thing that the pandemic has dragged into mainstream acceptance is e-learning, which has transformed home schooling for good. School closures forced educators and innovators the world over to find new ways of imparting a quality education online. Now that this is a widely accepted option, parents are going to have a larger range of options than before when it comes to choosing their children’s education, as e-learning removes the need for geographical proximity.

This has led to sites like K12.com, which is an online marketplace for learners and their families. K12.com has a large number of home school options available, including virtual tuition-free schools for students of all ages, in addition to three private school options with tuition. There are also summer schools, standalone courses, and intensive courses for children who have particular interests or needs. Many of the courses offered are specifically designed to be challenging, engaging, and interactive to ensure the best possible educational outcomes for children. This also allows for a much more personalised learning experience.

A multifaceted approach to e-learning

K12.com is a Stride company, the latter being an online learning provider. One of the offerings is Stride K12, based at the K12.com website. Stride K12-powered schooling is an online version of home schooling that mixes autonomous student learning with virtual classes. There are interactive, teacher-led lessons together with self-directed activities that are designed to be immersive. It offers the flexibility of traditional home schooling, along with the benefits of modern ed-tech. Knowing the concerns parents have regarding their children being exposed to screens for extended periods of time, Stride K12 has a variable approach. Typically, the younger the student, the less screen time they’re expected to have.

For example, a primary-age student only spends about 30 to 40 per cent of their time at the computer. As the students get older, the amount of screen time that’s necessary is incrementally increased. There are virtual classrooms for students to socialise and cooperate in, and the opportunity to meet each other in person through organised field trips, school clubs, and other activities.

Helping teachers with assessments

In addition to helping school administrators with applications, and the benefits of online home schooling, there are other educational benefits available. Among these are assessment tools, which help teachers with student assessments. One such tool is Edulastic, which helps teachers develop assessments in common formats or choose one from a library. Edulastic can then monitor how students perform in these assessments and provide the teacher with progress reports, which can indicate how well a student has grasped the core curriculum. This allows teachers to issue assessments as regularly as they like, and get automated and instantaneous feedback regarding how their students are doing.

The insights derived from Edulastic and other such solutions can be used to form a comprehensive overview of a student’s progress, needs, and knowledge gaps. This can help with formulating better approaches to learning in general, especially when personalisation becomes more possible thanks to AI and other technologies. This means that parents, teachers, and students are going to be more aware of any problems and how best to address them when these solutions are applied.

Naturally, there are always going to be some concerns, especially when it comes to the privacy and security of data regarding minors. Good data protection policies and solutions are going to go hand-in-hand with solutions like these, or else risk the adoption of innovative e-learning solutions becoming too controversial among parents. However, if privacy fears can be allayed and effective safeguards put in place, the amount of variety and potential that e-learning can provide for the students of tomorrow may be incalculable.