Why Online Learning Is Increasing In Today’s Education

British philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre argues that the internet is capable of bridging the social gap in education, and leading to lifelong learning opportunities.

Originally published on Futurity.com

Between 2016 and 2017, American students received about 985,000 graduate degrees. By comparison, in 1995 there were only 650,000.

The aforementioned numbers are a direct result of the fact that states are invested in keeping the pool of talent filled. This money is invested into various ways — even for those who struggle to get degrees and those who never complete degrees.

For example, students who cannot complete a degree may be interested in vocational programs that train students in trade. By taking advanced software training for a minimum salary of $15 an hour, a student is one step closer to a professional career. This fulfills a niche that doesn’t otherwise exist.

In the future, students will have more options. Some will use the services of online providers to complete their programs, and some won’t even go down that route. Fortunately, researchers are quite knowledgeable about online learning.

Case studies and data

To better understand where online learning stands and where it is heading, a couple of case studies have been conducted. One is from Caixin, and the other is from Rolling Stone. Both articles raise the question: why are online learning providers seeing a sudden uptick?

Case study 1

By John Minnis. This article was published in the Spring 2018 issue of Caixin, the Chinese financial news publication. It talked about a program at the Bellagio School of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of St. Thomas. According to the article, students were interested in becoming an airline pilot and working in either Shanghai or Los Angeles.

These students were taught to save. Minnis wrote that students were encouraged to “break the habits” they had developed since growing up in households where saving was discouraged. Graduates of this program secured jobs in their fields and met their families at a graduation banquet.

Case study 2

It’s clear why these two cases are working. Connectedness and accessibility of technology through research institutions benefit many students at different universities and colleges. However, there are other institutions across the globe that are giving their students an online learning experience that hasn’t been done previously.

Case study 3

What happened to community colleges?According to The Economist, in 1955, there were 12,000 community colleges. Now there are over 900,000.

In the 1960s, these community colleges went bankrupt, due to insufficient funding and lax regulation. Today, community colleges are feeling a resounding expansion of good new ideas that were born during this period of time.

“Informational research offered a strong competitive edge to institutions better connected to society than their peers,” according to The Economist. With greater access to technology, educational institutions are returning to these practices.

How internet access and interest in e-learning are affecting online learning.

This online program was started by Adriano Hsiao, the Executive Director of the Linhor Group, a private equity fund in Shanghai. He has an additional paid position as Dean of Study and the Retail and Leisure Planning Vice President at the Fudan University’s Global Trade Research and Development Center. He is also an advocate for the intersection of e-commerce and rural development through the development of Internet-based telemedicine.

“Statistics show that some 30 to 40% of students plan to study overseas but there are no connections between their education and where they plan to live,” Hsiao said. “This kind of information gap can be filled.”

“We see the possibilities online, in terms of both content and devices. We want to make them a part of the everyday experience for our kids. That is why I am putting more resources toward the development of courses and online learning.”

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