14 Jun Bright future for eLearning according to Internet Trends 2019 report
The Internet Trends 2019 report is a comprehensive outline of the current statistics and important technology trends on the web. The report comes from Bond Capital founder and former Wall Street securities analyst, Mary Meeker. Meeker has been analysing and reporting the stand-out statistics on the internet since 1995. She presented the report at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona on Tuesday.
Some of the main take-aways from Meeker’s report include slowed growth of e-commerce sales, increased spending in online advertising, the rise of freemium subscription models (free for basic, pay for premium e.g. Spotify) and increased photo-sharing and interactive gaming. “If it feels like we’re all drinking from a data firehose, it’s because we are,” confirmed Meeker at the conference.
Online learning: an affordable alternative
From an eLearning perspective, the report is extremely positive. A specific section dedicated to online learning identifies “big numbers and big growth” in the sector. The number of Americans enrolling in traditional (offline) post-secondary courses has slightly slowed down, with a decrease of 7% from 2012 to 2017. Meeker parallels this with statistics marking a steady increase in the cost of undergraduate tuition and a substantial rise in student loan debt from 2003 to 2018.
Online courses can be seen as an alternative option for people wanting to escape the high fees of offline education. The report highlights how post-secondary online education is rising and expanding. According to Meeker, 2019 has seen many of the top international institutions such as University of Pennsylvania, University of London and Macquarie University hosting certain science, business and engineering courses online via Coursera, an online learning platform that offers massive open online courses (MOOC), specialisations and degrees. Coursera has high completion rates with 89% of paid degree learners completing their course.
Coursera’s most popular course is Machine Learning and its most popular specialisation is Deep Learning (two fields that focus on self-learning systems for computers). Interestingly, the second most popular course is Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects hosted by U.C. San Diego. This suggests that students are hungry to improve either their own learning skills, or the learning abilities of machines.
The report highlights online learning as a more affordable route to third-level education. It details how in Arizona State University, undergraduate degree tuition will cost a non-Arizona resident $145K for an offline course versus $65K for an online course. Lambda School, a digital higher education company, operates on the principle that students don’t pay tuition until they are employed and earning more than $50K a year.
President of the Arizona State University, Michael Crow, states “The key to lowering cost is the introduction of technology & new methods that help student success.” He argues that in order to stimulate innovation, the culture of a university must switch the focus from the faculty to the students. When traditional third-level education is so expensive and so many of the same courses are now available at more affordable rates online, it’s no wonder that online learning is becoming more and more popular.
Interactive learning through…video
It’s not just the medium of education that’s changing, the way we learn has also changed. Meeker emphasises the growth of online learning through video. The report outlines the educational value of the much-loved video sharing platform, YouTube. 4.5 billion hours of “How-To” videos are watched on the website annually. Furthermore, a 2018 study found that 59% of Generation Z users identified YouTube as their preferred learning tool. Educational YouTube channels that are soaring in subscriber count include Crash Course, TED-Ed and Asap SCIENCE.
Meeker emphasises in the report how images have become an “increasingly relevant way to communicate.” Instagram, the social media leader in the photo-sharing community jumped from 800 million users in 2017 to one billion in 2018. Internet users are increasingly telling stories with videos and edited images (think of SnapChat). Other social media platforms have noted user preference for images over text and have made design changes to accommodate this preference. For example, when Twitter launched back in 2006, it was text only. Present day Twitter sees that over half of the tweets that a Twitter user encounters on the platform will contain some kind of image, video or other media content.
Among the internet trends of 2019, there appears to be an increase in demand for design fluency. Users want to choose their own design, customise it, collaborate with other users and publish their creation to a wide audience. These interests reflect the principles of eLearning – learning that is tailored to suit the learner, emphasises creativity within its design, encourages collaboration with other learners and is accessible to a wide audience.
The report also identifies interactive gaming as an “increasingly relevant way to communicate.” According to the report, there are approximately two billion interactive gamers globally. Gamers can interact with others, either through playing or using the chat feature, making it a social experience. A 2018 American study of teens who play Fortnite found that 50% claimed the game helped them learn teamwork skills and 40% stated that it improved their communication skills. This kind of interactive gaming presents a new way for people to develop advantageous abilities. Gamification is an excellent tool for engaging learners and getting them to interact with the learning content. At The Learning Rooms, we are big on using gamification techniques in our courses to create a fun and fresh learning design.
After reading the report, it seems clear that the internet is becoming a place that values individuality, creativity and social interaction. Meeker discusses how British teens believe that social media has positively influenced their feelings of self-expression, self-identity and community building. And as the field of eLearning quickly expands, people are recognising that they have more options for education than ever before. Access to the internet offers a sense of freedom; freedom to create, freedom to communicate, freedom to learn.
If you would like to read the report yourself, you can find it here. If you are interested in online education, The Learning Rooms has a wide catalogue of courses that you can access; from management and soft skills training to instructional design and personal effectiveness. We have something for everyone!