The educational establishment has been notorious in its traditions, and in its structure. Often the gatekeepers are not just reluctant to change or transform, they are often the holding the reins against any new progressive idea or adjustment. Online learning has established itself, generally in spite of the barriers of conformity due to the users and the visionaries which tend to be those involved in the private sector and/ or those driving commerce and connectivity. “The use of technology removes time constraints imposed by traditional education—a key benefit for professionals who cannot afford to take time off work to pursue education” (Senechal, 2016). This in and of itself reminds the educational professional that no longer is the building the absolute structure of the educational establishment. The options are wider now, with the Internet, and advances in speed and access, the world is truly at the disposal of the eLearner, and the local school and the state college is no longer the only show in town.
Not only has the options transformed worldwide, but the methods and the outcomes are transforming as well. “Delivering education online now extends beyond coursework and is connecting students to individuals and experiences that can play a first-hand role in professional development” (Senechal, 2016). We can only imagine what our educational system will look like twenty years from now. Will public education give up its traditions and conventions and embrace the speed with which learning is transforming. “Indeed, it is imperative that professional education is able to adapt and evolve to match industry changes. This is particularly true for business education: As global business swiftly changes, the best education must be delivered to effectively meet the challenges that lie ahead” (Senechal, 2016).
Education is no longer just the realm of the government and it has become one of the fastest growing online businesses worldwide. ” One of the exciting things about this market is how it allows individuals to create a business out of their expertise. If you look at how Lynda operates – Instructors are paid for their courses on an ongoing basis. I met an individual last week who is earning a healthy living from his Lynda.com earnings” (McCue, 2014). This is also allowing professionals globally to “access education that previously was restricted to more developed regions” (Senechal, 2016).
“Breaking down these barriers has not only improved convenience for students, it also grants the same high-quality education to anyone, anywhere in the world—creating a new era of truly global education. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Academy, for instance, develops its courses in one central location and distributes them globally—allowing high-quality education to be available all over the world”(Senechal, 2016).
Peter Drucker said in 1997, “universities won’t survive. The future is outside the traditional campus, outside the traditional classroom. Distance learning is coming on fast.” Apparently, we are there, and universities nationwide are struggling under an imposing budget and students are tapping eLearning opportunities to fill the gap between what the university offers and what they can afford. It is also true that online learning offers much more flexibility. We are no longer restricted by space and time. Money is to be made not only in world-wide sales, but in delivery of educational services online as well. “Sure, you can hunt around on YouTube for free tutorials and there are some good ones, but I think the niche sites and well-organized, curated platforms are going to change how we learn “(McCue, 2014).
What will it look like in twenty years? “Personally, when I think about the distant future of eLearning, a scene from The Matrix comes to mind. It’s when Neo attaches an array of electrodes on his head and downloads an entire martial arts training program into his brain” (Pappas, 2013).
McCue, T. (2014, August 27). Online Learning Industry Poised for $107 Billion In 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2014/08/27/online-learning-industry-poised-for-107-billion-in-2015/#56c8962366bc
Moore, M. G. (2012). Distance Education: A Systems View of Online Learning, 3rd Edition. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved fromhttps://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781133715450/
Pappas, C. (2013, December 6). Future eLearning Trends and Technologies in the Global eLearning Industry. Retrieved October 31, 2016, from https://elearningindustry.com/future-elearning-trends-and-technologies-in-the-global-elearning-industry
Senechal, T. (2016, June 29). DIGITAL LEARNING PLATFORMS: THE FUTURE OF GLOBAL EDUCATION? Retrieved October 31, 2016, from https://trainingmag.com/digital-learning-platforms-future-global-education