Oct 20, 2020

The rise of online learning

The surge in interest in online education is due not only to the current pandemic situation, but also to marketing decisions. During the pandemic, many platforms have offered users test access, bonuses, and better subscription terms.

It is both a social mission and an opportunity to popularize your services. As a result, we see a vast number of different levels and quality of services, and new users, many of whom are encountering the online learning format for the first time(schoolchildren, students, and entrepreneurs). The main task is to meet their expectations and cope with the workload. Not everyone will be able to adapt, so many companies will most likely not withstand competition and will not maintain demand for a long time. And given the decline in household income, the customer will gradually become more selective.

The demand for online educational courses in the first half of May grew 2.5 times compared to last year. Representatives of educational resources confirm the trend. The most popular directions for adults are languages, training on sales, business creation, and personal growth. For children, the focus has been on foreign languages ​​and preparation courses for the SAT. Experts expect a decline in interest in online learning in the summer, but it could recover in the fall in a potential second wave of the pandemic. According to the results of the first quarter of 2020, according to calculations, the turnover in the category of additional education increased by 20% compared to the same period last year, and the average check for courses doubled.

Online learning is booming. During self-isolation, compared to the pre-quarantine period, there was a twofold increase in the number of applications for all individual lessons for adults and children. Traffic to the e-learning site increased 2.5 times. Traffic from mid-March to mid-June has tripled. The demand for paid courses increased proportionally. At the same time, interest in free classes grew even more. The boom coincided not so much with the beginning of self-isolation as with the transition of schools to distance learning. Marketers associate traffic growth with the need to find content for school children. The demand for educational courses in quarantine has grown in the commercial direction by 2-2.5 times, and in the non-commercial direction by five times. Eight times as many students (354,000 new users) registered on Coursera from mid-March to mid-May 2020 than in the same period a year ago. 

Online education during the epidemic: Ups and downs

One of the main difficulties in online education is the length of the customer's life cycle (Lifetime value), or their retention after self-isolation. The most prominent example is MOOCs (Massive online open courses) - pre-recorded courses on Coursera and Udemy. According to recent surveys, less than 3.5% of people who start such courses finish them. Naturally, after a student starts two or three courses and none of them finishes, they will not buy a fourth. Because of this, online education often has low LTV (Lifetime Value).

Professionalism and adaptation

Because everyone is at home, and schools and universities were forced to go online, the demand for online education has increased. Parents worry about interruptions and the quality of their children's education. At the same time, the teachers themselves lack experience in the context of the mass transition of education to the online sphere. If you've hosted webinars and events, then you know that keeping the attention of a live audience online is much more difficult than it is in person. Also, teachers should be able to use technology, but the education sector is traditionally quite conservative, and many teachers are somewhat limited in their set of online tools.

Our work observes that, despite the virus, the demand for education in the US and UK has not decreased: we are still preparing applicants for admission to foreign universities. People understand that this is a long-term perspective, and the epidemic is most likely going to last for years. Nevertheless, the process has become sharply less clear due to the virus. Some schools are changing the method of issuing final grades, and many exams for admissions are canceled. In such a situation, the help of qualified consultants has become much more in demand.

How to survive during and after self-isolation

Technological resources and materials developed for online teaching are essential. Test items, which can be easily found on the Internet, are poorly suited for testing knowledge in an online format. Group projects or interactive assignments work much better. For example, over the past year, our company has conducted 120,000 hours of online training based on a platform that we have been developing for quite some time. And all the materials were initially created for online learning and not adapted to the online format.

Also, most online companies need to conservatively predict the duration of work with a buyer to not run into an unprofitable business model. Too much is spent on attracting each client. Coursera, which we talked about earlier, is trying to solve this problem by selling "profitable" annual subscriptions that give access to all courses on the platform. But this approach only solves the problem with short-term cash flow. It does not fundamentally change the educational issue itself because those who do not finish their courses will not renew their second year's subscription.

The best format that allows you to balance growth, Lifetime Value of customers, and student results are a combination of an individual online e-learning tool, group e-learning tools, and interactive homework; tests and tasks that can be taken directly on the platform. The qualifications of tutors and teachers are also essential. It is necessary not only to select good teachers but also to select them through performance assessment and student feedback.

Demand for e-learning tools sharply increased with the beginning of quarantine. We can say that online education is growing during the epidemic at the cost of reducing offline education since most of them are now either trying to go online abruptly or are closing their doors for good. A period of epidemic and self-isolation will spark a peak of interest and demand in online education, but whether companies can turn this into long-term growth or lose new customers in two weeks will depend on their ability to adapt to customer needs. To do this, every online education company that wants to grow must actively apply big data to increase consumers' loyalty to educational services.

How can Lumin PDF improve remote learning?

Sometimes your e-learning tools, including PDF files, can get a bit out of hand. Instead of wasting your time and resources on unsuccessful PDF editing, check out these great PDF tools. Lumin PDF can help you quickly modify, convert, or view any PDF file. It is a trusted e-learning tool for reliably viewing, printing, and annotating PDF documents. It’s the only PDF file viewer that can open and interact with all types of PDF content, including forms and multimedia. Lumin has multiple tools to help create PDFs and convert your PDFs to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. These easy to use tools can also help you sign documents and even collaborate in your browser.

The greatest challenge for e-learning tools is building effective teamwork between students and teachers without a physical classroom. This is when communication tools and document management solutions create workflow transparency and make it possible to track students’ performance more accurately. Lumin PDF has already helped thousands of educational institutions with:

  • Authoring, sharing, and signing enrollment applications, exam forms, student satisfaction surveys, alumni membership forms, and more.
  • Digitizing registrar and administrative paperwork.
  • Hosting forms and templates that can be embedded directly into university/school websites and online learning platforms.
  • Sending parent consent forms for signing and sharing class schedules.
  • Capturing data and managing student-teacher interactions.

Lumin PDF is filled with smart tools that give you even more power to communicate effectively. You can merge and organize multiple documents and spreadsheets in a single PDF that’s easy to share. With Lumin PDF e-learning tools, you’ll quickly be on your way to building a great online learning workflow! Educators are already stretched with having to ensure that the off-campus educational process is running smoothly. Lumin PDF is here to support and guarantee the continuity of all educational processes online. 

Sit and learn: Why online education wins the world

Online learning, distance learning, massive open online courses - a new educational revolution has long been discussed in social networks and the world's leading media, foreshadowing the traditional education system's death. And while the promised grade inflation hasn't happened yet, users have started adding Coursera and Udemy certifications to their resumes. Let's try to understand how and why online education emerged, how it differs significantly from the traditional system, and figure out how not to get lost in all the variety of online educational initiatives. How did it all begin? 

Open online courses were first talked about almost ten years ago when Canadian educators from the University of Manitoba managed to launch the course "Collectivism and Connective Knowledge," which attracted more than two thousand subscribers. With the growing number and popularity of the first online courses, it became clear that this is not a new fashionable Internet trend, but a modern answer to many of the traditional educational system's shortcomings and omissions. For example, in the United States, university studies have always been an expensive pursuit, and not everyone has been able to get a high-quality higher education. 

Today, American students' total debt exceeds $1.3 trillion and can be seen in real-time as this amount is growing at $2.726 per second. Since the university's rating and name are also extremely important for employers, the future career of the graduate can directly depend on the choice of the university. These and other problems - the lack of competent teachers, irrelevant material, and outdated methods of working with information - are universal not only for Americans but also for many universities worldwide. It was not ministries and governments that took on such large-scale tasks, but teachers and activists who decided to use the primary method of disseminating knowledge in the modern world through the Internet.

The first open mass educational platform - Khan Academy - appeared online in 2006. Today, Khan Academy provides more than five thousand courses completely free, and its team has grown from one person to a team of 80 employees. But the real leap in online education came in 2012, which The New York Times called "the year of massive open online courses." The reason for this was the emergence of the sites edX, Coursera, and Udacity, which since their inception, have received significant financial support - some from eminent universities and others from venture capital.

And if ten years ago only a handful of select students who have tens of thousands of dollars could enroll in MIT courses or learn the basics of programming under the guidance of Harvard University teachers, with the advent of university courses online, free access to the best treasures of knowledge on the planet has become open to anyone with a computer and an internet connection.

A few years after online university lectures began to gain popularity globally, higher and higher educational institutions began to talk about the prospects of the so-called blended education, the essence of which is that courses of the best teachers become the basis for studying in other universities. Students' online progress is transferred to diplomas. This approach is designed to combine the best of offline and online in academic education. According to experts, in this way, it is possible to bring education to a qualitatively new level. After all, only the best local teachers and universities can compete with the lecturers of world universities.

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