Virtual classrooms, be it through elearning or some other remote teaching mechanism, are gaining in popularity every year. What was once common place in the business world via webinars and other virtual training methods is now becoming prevalent in education. For instance, a study by Innosight Institute has shown that in the year 2000 there were roughly 45,000 K-12 education programs indicating that their students engaged in some form of elearning. Just a quick 10 years later and we had more than 4 million – that’s an average annual growth of about 30%!
Elearning is becoming so popular now, there are 16 states in the U.S. that offer full-time online schools to all K-12 students… and all states except for two (I’ll spare them the humility… okay, it’s Tennessee and Delaware) offer some sort of supplemental online training in their K-12 programs. Globally, blended learning environments are most popular in Asia, Australia, North America, and Western Europe.
With all this online learning taking place, one has to wonder if the teachers that are in charge of this training need some sort of special training in order to effectively deliver it. The entire context of the “classroom” is different, so shouldn’t the methods of content delivery be modified as well? Personally, I think the answer here is a resounding “yes”, and apparently I am not alone.
One study has shown that 72% of countries that engage in blended and online learning participate in professional development of their teachers so that they are better prepared to lead online learning activities. To take it even further, 25% of countries that use online learning make it a requirement that their teachers get specialized training… and 11% of countries require their teachers hold a license. I suspect these numbers to grow in the near future as mobile learning technology opens even more doors to the blended and remote learning approach.
With all this growth, it’s clear to see that upcoming generations are going to be quite accustomed to online learning and the benefits it can provide. We’ll likely see the elearning approach take on an even stronger role in higher education – an ideal strategy for universities to attract students despite the skyrocketing tuition costs. In the end, elearning is making a major difference in how we learn. If you have a learning program, make sure you have a system that is optimized for today’s demanding standards.