The Future Development of Online learning

It has been largely heralded that the future of education will be heavily linked with distance and online learning.  Although some people have doubted this, the evidence suggest that this transformation has already begun and is only going to speed up over the next few years.

To summarise, technology is simply moving the traditional campus base learning to the internet.  Lectures can be listened to, in a traditional manner whilst sitting in a lecture theatre with a lecturer delivering the lesson or a video watched online from anywhere in the world.  Obviously your options depend on a number of factors including location and finance.

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However the method of distance learning – commonly known as MOOCS (Massive Open Learning Courses) has a huge advantage that it can be offered for either free or a low cost and further there are virtually no barriers to entry.

In the UK, we have been monitoring the expansion of these course with great interest, through utilising technology like VPNs almost all are accessible – to access the UK only ones simply use a UK VPN like this.  The Financial Times (FT) has been tracking the number of these course available in the UK and it’s counted a huge increase in executive education courses available online for example.

The survey doesn’t count any course, only those run by reputable educational establishments and most actually lead to certificates and further qualifications.  The other common factor is that they are all free, which is of course a huge driver for the majority of students.

There are definitely issues still that need to be resolved with these MOOCs, for one that of the completion rates. Although the number of students who complete a traditional course varies widely they are all much higher than online course which currently often fall under 10% completion rates.  It is of course, probably due to the effort and stake invested in the course.  A traditional student will have invested a large amount of time and  money to attending a physical course – whereas a distance learning course can be signed up to for free with a few clicks of the mouse.

Jenny Williams

UK TV Online