How e-learning will disrupt traditional learning

The obvious problem with disruption is that you can’t predict what side it will hit you from.  We like change that advances society – but we do not enjoy a hard knock without warning.  Fortunately there are some strong indicators as to where we can expect forces of change to impact next.  Look out for the following shifts.

Changes in education business models due.

Traditionally, in order to be profitable, education providers schedule training at a single place, and administer it to a group at the same time.  You’re bound to recognize the following implications:

  • Providers must wait until a course reaches a minimum class size.
    • Enrolment intakes are therefore infrequent and students wait months before the next starts date.
    • Private providers turn down enquiries for small groups and individuals.
  • Then there are the self-driven correspondence students…
    • Learners who cannot attend classroom based training due to time and location constraints will completely forgo quality teaching and resort to acquiring all information solely through reading.

These factors cause the delay in, or loss of business opportunity, while some students lose out on a quality learning experience. Oddly, many are comfortable accepting this status quo (why?).  Luckily, change is in motion already.

As e-learning becoming more prevalent it will impact these 4 dynamics:

  1. Barriers: Time and location will be seen as artificial barriers to both learning, and profitable education provision. These barriers can be overcome.
  2. Quality: It will no longer be necessary for students to forsake quality education when their time and location do not coincide with the predetermined timetable and venue of a given course.
  3. On demand: Consumers are increasingly demanding education that suits their schedule. Traditionally, students would enquire when the next course would start, but now they want to start immediately.
  4. Changed demand: The number of consumers seeking online education as their sole mode of learning is on the rise.

Education (and that means schools, universities, college and training departments) will need to cater for a shifting landscape, but also use harness change and use it for long-term benefit.

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