The e-learning industry is booming. Modern LMS are distinguished by a convenient and flexible interface, wide functionality, and allow you to bring distance learning to a qualitatively new level. LMS platforms allow you to organize the educational process “from scratch” and track learners’ success by creating online courses or virtual classrooms available anytime and anywhere in the world.
At the same time, all training materials are stored in one place. It is convenient to adapt and revise them depending on the training goals and the scope of the company or organization.
According to Global Market Insights online learning is currently worth $200 billion. Even more striking is that the market is set to almost double to $375 by 2026.
Image source: https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/elearning-market-size
This impressive growth is driven by several key advantages of e-learning over traditional learning:
- Availability. The Internet gives access to online courses from any device (computer, laptop, tablet, phone), so people can learn anything anytime, anywhere.
- Training flexibility. E-learning allows you to create personalized courses of any complexity, specialization and for any audience. Besides, unlike teaching in schools and universities, online courses are not tied to specific times and schedules so that people can learn at their own pace.
- Profitability. Online learning is more cost-effective as there is no need for buildings, large bureaucratic and teaching staff, or other typical overhead costs. Everything happens on the Internet.
- Reaching the audience. Online training is available to anyone with an internet connection. This is 50% of the total population of the Earth.
- Time-saving. LMS platforms make it possible to automate the learning process. Thus, you will need less time to organize the training material than ever before. You can compose a course or lesson in a couple of clicks.
- Relevance. Training materials can be updated at any time and this process is as fast and easy as possible.
- Assessment objectivity. The personal factor is excluded in the process of testing learners’ knowledge.
With a functional and user-friendly LMS, you can easily set up a learning management process. A trainer or teacher gets the opportunity to assign whole courses, tests, homework to learners, control the time of learning materials and completing assignments by learners, assess the level of competencies.
At the same time, the mentor does not spend time on formal tasks but focuses on the profile type of activity. How is this possible? The system itself records the time spent on the execution of tasks. The dynamics of development (progress) is also determined automatically.
The idea of distance learning was first realized in the 18th century when an American scholar organized a correspondence course in stenography by publishing material in a newspaper. After another hundred years, this system improved when the opportunity for feedback appeared. Then the teacher sent the theory and assignments by mail to the student, and the student, having studied it, sent the completed assignment back.
The next step in the development of learning management systems was the ability to record audio and video. Then there were courses on video and audio cassettes. But the most powerful and decisive breakthrough made it possible to make progress in the field of information technology.
After the invention of the computer, local networks began to appear – networks of several combined machines. They were initially used in universities to help teachers automate learning.
The last and decisive step in the development of the distance learning system was the creation of the Internet. The global network made it easier for people to access information. In response to this, LMS platforms were invented, which made it possible to teach remotely and independently of each other at the same time many people.
LMS is used not only by schools and universities. Recently, the popularity of LMS platforms has increased in companies that require adaptation of new employees and training of individual departments.
In addition to the training function, LMS helps conduct tests for employees, assess employee knowledge, form development plans, create a knowledge base and motivational programs.
Materials in LMS are not just collected into a folder, but well-structured, available in a convenient form, and allow you to track learning outcomes and motivate employees.
Most LMS platforms are easily customizable for almost any corporate task. Here is some of them:
- Employee onboarding. “First-day” courses that help new hires quickly learn about the company, their responsibilities and get to know the new team. Thus, the adaptation process takes place stress-free for the newbie.
- Knowledge checking. Modern LMS platforms allow users to create quizzes and tests with different questions. It is a great way for companies to check employees’ knowledge and carry out regular proficiency tests.
- Staff motivation. After passing the test, you can configure the issuance of certificates. This is a perfect way to motivate employees.
- Statistics and analytics. LMS platforms help companies see employees’ progress with the help of interactive charts. This is the surest way to track employee performance.
The impact of 2020 on online learning
COVID-19 pandemic has led to the largest in the entire history breakdown of education systems, that affected nearly 1.6 billion students in over 190 countries on all continents. Closing schools and other educational institutions affected 94% of the global student population.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everyday life, and about 40 million children around the world who should start studying missed the opportunity to get a vital preschool education. Consequently, they were deprived of the opportunity to be in an instructive and developing environment, learn new skills, and interact with peers.
Amid a health crisis that has caused enormous socioeconomic disruption, education systems worldwide have been forced to respond and adapt rapidly. Governments quickly took steps to ensure lifelong learning and students and education personnel’s safety by closing schools and other educational institutions.
Ensuring continuity of learning amid school closures has become a priority for governments worldwide, many of which have leveraged LMS platforms to transition to distance learning fully.
The main trends in online education that appeared after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic:
Availability. According to the UN, more than 263 million children in the world cannot study full-time due to geographical remoteness, poverty or the closure of schools in zones of armed conflict. Online training can solve this problem.
Microlearning. A method in which large amounts of information are broken up into small blocks makes them easier to digest. This is especially true now when children are absorbed in gadgets and cannot concentrate on anything for more than a couple of minutes.
Big data and AI. With the help of analytics and unique algorithms, you can optimize the educational process and organize it so that it is convenient for everyone to work, even with large amounts of information. AI will help personalize learning by tracking which student needs help in time.
SmartJen education system. How Singapore develops online learning.
The Northell team had the opportunity to contribute to the development of online learning in Singapore by working with the large SmartJen project. SmartJen is a classroom management software that helps teachers from different educational institutions save time preparing for the classes while making the learning process automated and more organized. At the same time, learners can track their progress, get tested, and keep in touch with the teacher.
SmartJen has lots of useful features that help bring online training to a new level. Some of them are creating and customizing worksheets, assigning worksheets, personalizing content, assessment, and others.
Northell worked on redesigning the platform and adding more advanced features. Using UX/UI, we managed to transform the idea of comfortable learning into a tangible solution. Such platforms as SmartJen can be a great helper in switching to online learning. It is accessible and understandable for various age groups.
SecureFlag training platform: learning motivation through gamification
Another project that the Northell team worked on was SecureFlag. It is a secure coding training platform for Developers and DevOps engineers. This product allows learners to practice their programming skills through exercises based on real-world vulnerabilities.
Developers no longer need to spend time taking courses in educational institutions, learn new skills, and improve existing ones they can online. Our main task was to improve gamification, as SecureFlag is a highly effective motivation tool and gamification is one of the most critical elements on the platform.
This product gamification allows users to participate in tournaments to compete with others or simply challenge themselves and earn some points.
In the era of life-long learning, when we need to regularly master new knowledge and skills while managing to work and live, online education is becoming an essential tool. The distance format is convenient for advanced training, development of specific narrow skills, acquaintance with new programs and digital tools.
The rapid development of specific skills was beneficial during self-isolation. LMS platforms have become excellent assistants in the transition to online learning.
The world is changing at lightning speed. We must be prepared for the fact that online learning will develop rapidly and take an essential and significant place in the education system in all countries of the world and on all continents.