2020 has given us an interesting perspective on the matter of online education. What was once valued as a “lesser” form of education, especially college education, has in these current climes become something of a necessity. In a situation where close classroom proximity is no longer the safest or best option for so many, online learning has surged forward to fill the gap.
But it would be an oversimplification of the matter to attribute the rise of online education and online degree programs entirely to today’s uncertain times. The truth is, online learning has been gaining in popularity and capability for years now. Back in 2017, Forbes reported that the e-learning market was supposed to be valued at $200 billion by 2024. But it hit that mark just two years later, and is now projected to grow to $375 billion over the next six years.
But that’s just the financial numbers — what about the people? Best Colleges’ annual Online Education Trends Report for 2020 found that over three-quarters of the students they surveyed (77%) are career-focused individuals who see the advantage of utilizing online learning in order to start, advance, or switch careers. Which isn’t surprising when one considers how many conveniences come with enrolling in an online degree program — things like:
- Flexible scheduling so that class times adapt to your personal schedule instead of the other way around
- Innovative options from colleges like Salem University, which structures our programs to be delivered as one course per month
- Better accessibility that allows classes to come to you no matter where you need to go or how you best interact with them
And when you consider advantages like that, these next numbers from the Online Education Trends Report should come as no surprise: 94% of students surveyed say their online program has had or will have a positive return on investment, and 95% say they would recommend online education to others. Those are the kind of overwhelmingly sunny reviews any business would dream about on Yelp.
And as technology grows and expands, so do the possibilities for online learning, allowing for advancements like mobile learning, project-based learning, “smart” classrooms, visualization software, and adaptive technologies. At every level — economic, technological, personal — the future of online education is full of opportunity and poised for growth.
Salem University has long been a believer in the importance and value of online learning, especially in a diverse, international world. If you’re interested in learning more about what a fully online degree program might look like, please feel free to contact us to learn more.