Virtual learning had existed for a while, but it hadn’t gained widespread acceptance. However, the pandemic forced millions of students worldwide to attend virtual classes, making it the new normal. Once this shift occurred, there was no going back.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) reports that over 1.2 billion children in 186 countries have been affected by school closures caused by the pandemic, leading to a significant transformation in education.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a marked increase in the usage of various educational technologies, such as language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, and online learning software.
Before the pandemic, education technology was experiencing growth and adoption, with global investments reaching $18.66 billion in 2019. Now, the online education market is projected to reach $350 billion by 2025, reports WEF.
What is virtual learning?
Virtual learning refers to a mode of education where students are taught by instructors who deliver lessons online through video or audio. This instruction can occur either in a self-paced format or in real-time, allowing for flexibility and convenience.
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What factors contribute to the industry’s growth?
The increased internet penetration around the world is one of the factors contributing to the growth of virtual learning. The expanding telecom and broadband sector has increased access to cost-effective international connectivity plans.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) reports strong global growth in Internet use, with an estimated 4.9 billion people using the Internet in 2021, up from 4.1 billion in 2019.
Virtual learning enhances the educational experience by utilizing digital technology. It includes a wide range of tools such as online courses, content platforms, etc. These tools help in saving both money and time.
There are many benefits of virtual learning for kids, but here are a few of the top ones:
Flexibility is a key feature of virtual learning because it allows students to study from anywhere in the world and complete assignments on their own time, which is especially beneficial for children who have busy or unconventional schedules.
2) Customized learning
Online education tailors the curriculum to the children’s needs, interests, skills, and strengths. This learning flexibility provides students with relevant learning resources, making it engaging and interesting. As a result, academic performance improves.
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3) Interactive learning
Online classes are smaller than traditional classrooms. Mostly, online learning platforms allow one student to participate at a time. When the focus is on a single student or a small group, there is more interaction and feedback between students and mentors.
4) Self-paced learning
Students can progress at their own pace in virtual learning, which can benefit children who need more time to understand certain concepts or are advanced learners.
5) Access to a wider range of resources
Mentors can supplement their lessons with other formats such as forums or discussions. This extra content is accessible at all times and from any location, resulting in a more dynamic and personalized educational experience.
6) Increased classroom engagement
Virtual learning often incorporates interactive and multimedia elements that can help keep children more engaged and motivated in their studies.
In virtual learning, the students do not have to travel to a physical location for instruction, which saves money and time. It also enables students to learn from the comfort of their own homes, increasing flexibility and convenience.
8) Increased safety
During pandemics such as COVID-19, virtual learning has been a safe way for children to continue their education without risking their health.
According to a Mckinsey report, between 2017 and 2021, US venture funding for education technology (edtech) increased from $1 billion to $8 billion. The public appetite for these investments was evident in the successful IPOs of several edtech companies in 2021, including Coursera (valued at more than $4 billion).
Overall, virtual learning has numerous advantages for children and can provide them with opportunities for growth and development that they would not otherwise have. And the industry’s growth and investments indicate that it will be the future of education.
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