With the start of the pandemic, adapting to the “new normal” meant for more than 1.6 billion students changing traditional classroom learning into e-learning. From the comfort of their homes, both learners and teachers took advantage of technological advancements and, overcoming a few challenges in the beginning, quickly embraced its enormous potential.
Though online learning hasn’t been entirely a novelty, because of the coronavirus it gained its rightful place in the spotlight. Public quickly realized that e-learning platforms and apps are not only an option in times of crisis, they are the future as well. Unlike traditional chalk and board methods of teaching, online education offers flexibility, easy access, better personalization and, as a result, better efficiency.
Widespread adoption of technology in education has been a global phenomenon and is now transforming the way we learn, for curriculum as well as for self-development. In 2021, e-learning marketplace platforms will only continue to innovate and improve.
How the pandemic influenced the e-learning industry
Even before the global spread of Coronavirus, there could already be noted high adoption in education technology with global edtech investments reaching $18.66 billion in 2019 and the predictions for the online education market to reach $350 Billion by 2025.
With the COVID-19, there was a significant surge in usage of e-learning tools, such as tutoring platforms, e-learning apps (particularly language apps), video conferencing tools and other online learning software.
- On March 23, Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times worldwide when two months prior, it had under 56,000 global downloads daily.
- Preply, an online language tutoring platform with more than 10,000 tutors, witnessed a threefold increase in interest in countries impacted by the Coronavirus sooner than others, such as Italy, Spain and Germany. According to its CEO, Kirill Bigai, due to the rise of video conferencing tools, online language learning also soared in demand and attracted much more investments.
- According to the ClassCentral report, one third of all the learners that ever registered on a MOOC platform did so in 2020. There was a significant increase in the number of new users as many found themselves with free time on their hands.
In response to that great demand, lots of online learning platforms began to offer free access to their services, including platforms like BYJU’S, a Bangalore-based educational technology and online tutoring firm, which is considered the world’s most highly valued edtech company. Since announcing free live classes on its Think and Learn app, BYJU’s has seen a 200% increase in the number of new students using its product.
Other companies are boosting their capacity to ensure students and teachers have everything they need. For example, Lark, a Singapore-based collaboration suite though initially developed as an internal tool, started offering teachers and students unlimited video conferencing time, real-time co-editing of project work, smart calendar scheduling, and many other features. They improved their architecture to provide reliable services to multiple users all over the world.
Large MOOC providers took action in response to the pandemic and offered free courses about wellbeing and COVID-19, free certificate courses, and free catalog access to university students, thus increasing learners’ involvement.
Here are some stats on how MOOC platforms grew in 2020.
In just a couple of months the lockdown produced over a year’s worth of revenue and users. Of course, though the March-April peak is unprecedented, it still served as a push forward for online education in general as well as e-learning platforms in particular.
Below you can see how the MOOCs have grown over the years, from their foundation up until 2020. Much is due to the pandemic, however it will not stop there.
Hundreds of millions
What does this mean for the future of online learning?
At the beginning, when the unplanned switch to e-learning was challenging as teachers had no training or preparation, some feared poor user experience while others believed it would lead to long-lasting improvements.
The Coronavirus has totally disrupted an education system. However that change may be actually desirable. Many agree with what Yuval Noah Harari has stated in his book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, mainly that:
Schools continue to focus on traditional academic skills and rote learning, when they should start developing critical thinking and adaptive skills which are going to be defining in the students’ future.
The pandemic can be that catalyst for the creation of a new, more effective educational method, such as a hybrid model. For schools, it would mean accelerated integration of information technologies and adopting online learning as an integral component of school education.
Many universities have already seized online learning opportunities and have transitioned some of their courses online to reach more students and provide an efficient learning experience. For example, Yale University offered a course on the science of well-being, which achieved enormous popularity. Now it is the most enrolled class launched in 2020 on Coursera.
But the e-learning doesn’t stop there. Let’s discover more trends in online education next.
Online learning marketplaces: E-learning trends that are gaining momentum in 2021
Some trends come and go, but these e-learning trends keep growing at an accelerated pace each year. And 2021 will be no exception.
As the e-learning industry expands, gains new followers and makes use of new digital tools and solutions, the forward-thinking companies should pay attention to the new developments in order to take advantage of their efficiency, ease of use and training potential.
Video-based learning: Breaking down barriers in traditional education
Video-based learning has been around for a while and still continues to be one of the most popular e-learning methods. Most students prefer to watch an engaging and short video tutorial over reading a long text. The main advantage is the use of both auditory and visual symbols, which guarantee effective absorbing and retaining of information.
Why is it popular?
- Effectiveness of video-based learning depends on the length of learning chunks. Smaller chunks of video are more effective as they are better at retaining attention and interest.
- Such learning can also be highly relevant, especially for adult and corporate learners, as it offers a complete control over content selection (take the popular TED talks for example).
- Video-based learning is immersive, increases student engagement and motivates them towards further studies and research.
- Such a simple concept can be truly innovative as it opens the doors to educational content for different audiences.
Mobile learning: On-the-go access to study materials
Our present world is impossible to imagine without smartphones in our hands. Why should it be any different with education? Mobile educational apps for e-learning are becoming one of the major trends and learners can already find out how beneficial it is to access educational content from anywhere and anytime, with their go-to devices.
Why is it popular?
- Mobile learning makes lessons digestible and comprehensible by dividing large pieces of content into smaller bites, usually in a concise and straightforward format.
- Such a method of e-learning is diverse and takes into account students’ learning styles and preferences. By incorporating images, presentations, audio files, YouTube videos, quizzes, teachers can easily create a dynamic and engaging learning experience. Mobile learning and e-learning apps support all these features.
- Having the freedom to study without being at a particular place and time is probably the most important and everyone’s favourite aspect of mobile learning. It offers instant access to a learning environment, where students and teachers can chat, absorb information, participate in quizzes, and be engaged at any time at their own, comfortable pace.
Microlearning: Best method to digest information
Big, multi-phase projects can be intimidating and discouraging for learners of different ages. To motivate them and make the learning process less stressful, it has been found that breaking up lessons, projects and other learning activities into manageable pieces can have a meaningful positive impact. Microlearning as a trend goes even beyond e-learning, but can be implemented with great success in the form of video lectures, articles, interactive activities, etc.
Why is it popular?
- The research shows that when a 3-hour long lesson is broken down into 6 30-minute long sessions, it provides better retention and ensures greater information digestion.
- Microlearning is more specialized and allows teachers to create personalized, competency-based learning programs.
- Deep and focused learning helps students build their knowledge gradually from basic to more complex skills by introducing each competence as a part of a bigger topic.
Online learning marketplaces: Learning management systems
Learning management systems have recommended themselves as powerful online education tools that enable course and curriculum development and administration. They are becoming more and more advanced and considerably simplify lesson planning and management for instructors and teachers. Its core functionality includes uploading learning content, providing lessons for students, and tracking their progress.
Why is it popular?
- An LMS usually operates inside of a web-browser, being easily accessible through a sign-in process from various devices.
- Such systems are easy to implement in different institutions. They join together all the training and programs and keep them in a central location instead of having all the information scattered across a number of hard drives and devices. It saves organizations from potential data loss and makes content management easier.
- An LMS will not experience radical changes in 2021, but it will expand with new features and tools. More such online learning marketplace platforms will accommodate chat/communication solutions and enable video conferencing.
- Also more platforms will use artificial intelligence based on learners’ history to make necessary content easy to find and recommend personalized and relevant content to students.
Making of TutorHouse: E-learning marketplace development and upgrading
While teaching and learning is moving online, the demand for e-learning platforms is only going to increase at an accelerated pace. A boom in business opportunities can be easily seen where so many education initiatives are coming into being and seizing the market.
One of such bright e-learning business ideas is Tutor House.
Tutor House is now one of the leading tutoring platforms in the UK, offering tailored private lessons to students across the globe. There you can find a talented tutor and take online or in-person classes in maths, biology, physics, chemistry, law, economics, piano, guitar, art, Spanish, French, English or business studies.
Moreover, the e-learning marketplace platform is growing rapidly and continuously, expanding its horizons worldwide, as well as the list of services, which includes homeschooling, course revision or retaking, adult learning and more.
Story behind the project
In 2013, Alex Dyer, a founder and CEO at TutorHouse, left his job as the Head of Psychology after 8 years of teaching being dissatisfied with the state of education at schools. He committed himself to the mission of building an e-learning marketplace platform that would give all students the chance to access top quality tutors and personalized education.
The goal was to make learning available and accessible, so that every student could reach his full academic potential.
Alex Dyer launched the Tutor House project 6 years ago, starting small. He brought onboard qualified tutors and teachers that he knew, worked with customers to find out what they needed, offered discounts for lessons, and checked whether each student was reaching his/her goals.
In 2016, Tutor House moved to an online automated platform. They employed 4 full time developers for almost two years, however it was very difficult to manage the roadmap and development and changes and people time.
Eventually, they found out that it’s better to outsource their needs to a software development company and the further search for a reliable partner with required background, expertise, and business analysis skills led to our team - Apiko - to handle all the complexities of the process.
After carefully exploring the requirements, we created the scope of work and started the development process.
Read more about Tutor House in an interview with its founder and CEO, Alex Dyer.
E-learning platform refactoring: The tasks before Apiko technical team during marketplace development
The Apiko team had to make necessary improvements for the educational online platform to function in line with the business goals and provide a high-quality customer experience. To achieve this, we performed a thorough website audit and studied the requirements with must-have features provided by the client.
Our tasks as a software development team were:
- Perform the backend refactoring to refine the workflow of the e-learning app and provide users with smooth, hassle-free experience
- Run the website audit, source code refactoring and bug fixing sessions
- Optimize the website performance, extending its feature set and adding advanced options, to speed up the workflow for better effectiveness
- Handle the payment system integration and develop the coupon management system
- Integrate the platform with various tools, such as Hubspot, Stripe, Twilio, Drip and many others to run the email marketing campaigns, enable group chats via whiteboard implementation, meet the requirements, set up push & email notifications and rebuild the booking process to increase conversion rate
- Make the bridge between technical and business sides of the project, to give a client the multipurpose perspective and complex understanding of the industry
Tutor House functionality: Online learning marketplace features we implemented
Here are some of the main features we enabled at the project. To discover the case in full, check out our portfolio case Tutor House right here.
- Matching algorithm
The matching functionality makes it possible for students to submit an application form, complete 3 steps providing information about their budget, interests, requirements and wait for the best tutor to contact them.
- Dashboards for both students and teachers
We developed tailored-made dashboards for the smooth coordination of learning experience on the e-learning marketplace. They help learners and teachers to meet different needs and handle such information as schedules, tutor applications, job posts, and other things for an organized workflow.
- Search improvements
Though all the teachers for Tutor House have been carefully hand-picked, we enabled such a feature as reviews to find the best candidates and made sure that the search process at the platform is polished and the response time doesn’t take so long.
- Trial lessons
For students to make the most of their lessons, their selection of tutors must be based on more than the description of professional achievements. To ensure the best cooperation, students can book a 15 minute trial call on the platform and make their final decision.
Now Tutor House is a leading UK platform that is trusted by thousands of students and tutors and provides high-impact transformations in the students’ lives through personalized learning processes and efficient methods of deliveries.
The new advancements in technology and worldwide adoption tools for distance learning can be a true catalyst for changes in traditional education many have been waiting for. When in line with the learning needs of students and the objectives of teachers, digital tools can work wonders and save the day for millions of students globally.
If you want to make a difference in the world of education, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts to bring your project idea to life!
Read more about an e-learning marketplace developmnent or build an educational app here:
- Educational App Development: How to Create a User-Friendly E-learning Process
- E-learning App Development: Driving Education Opportunities During Covid-19
- E-learning App Development: 5 Tips for Creating a Successful Marketplace
- 39 Best Educational Apps for Kids to Keep Learning During Lockdown
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