The 21st century has rapidly come to be known as the era of technological evolution. With technology taking over nearly every niche and the use of mobile devices like laptops, smartphones, and tablets registering a profound rise, the world has well and truly integrated itself into the digital space. Studies suggest that the number of active internet users crossed 4.33 billion in late 2019.

This paradigm shift has helped trigger an evolution for the better across the industrial spectrum, and education is no exception. The modern generation of students is no longer confined by the limitations of traditional learning systems, as technology opens up a multitude of opportunities to fulfil their quest for knowledge and experience. Prominent among these avenues is the emergence of education on the digital platform – eLearning.

With the education sector becoming increasingly more tech-savvy, the e-Learning market is set to witness a tremendous boost over the coming years. eLearning is an educational system that builds on the foundations of conventional teaching and delivers information through the adoption of electronic sources, most notably the Internet and computers.

Although it faced considerable resistance in its earlier years, owing to the belief that the module lacks the integral human element required for effective learning, consistent evolution in the technological space, as well as the growing awareness regarding the benefits of a digitised learning system, has led eLearning solutions to become more accepted by the masses in recent years.

The benefits of online learning are many. For instance, studies have shown that retention rates can be increased by 25% to 60% through eLearning solutions; a significant number over conventional face-to-face learning which registers only 8% to 10% retention. Additionally, eLearning increases the flexibility of the education sector, by allowing students to have more control over the learning process, such as revisiting the material as and when required and allowing them to attend courses as per their convenience. eLearning also broadens the reach of the educational material, by catering to a vast audience, unbound by geographical or time-based limitations.

The evolution of digital content and its impact on learning

Change is the only constant; this adage is well inculcated within the technology domain and is evidenced by the profound change that technology has brought on in nearly every aspect of human life, from the way people work, communicate, eat or learn.

In the past, the focus of academics was limited more or less to theory, rather than practical applications. Students were expected to gain knowledge about particular topics only by referring to myriad books and taking copious notes, which was a relatively restrictive approach to learning. Furthermore, not all educational institutions had access to faculty with suitable expertise towards a certain subject, which also posed a challenge to holistic learning. However, the emergence of technology has allowed the educational system to break past these boundaries and opened up limitless learning avenues for aspiring students. One of the key ways this has been achieved is through content digitisation.

Digitisation refers to a means of creating digital proxies of analogue materials including newspapers, books, videotapes, microfilms, etc. It has numerous benefits, including more widespread access to material, especially for distant patrons, collection development through collaborative initiatives, enhanced preservation activities and higher potential for education and research.

In the educational space, digitisation has the potential to not just make learning easier, but also to make it more engaging, interactive and exciting for the audiences, in turn leading to a significant boost in productivity.

Digitisation has paved the way for eLearning to transform the educational landscape. eLearning is a way for digitised content to make its way to a vast global audience, even in previously hard-to-access rural areas. It also acts as a boon for working students, by providing them access to recorded eLearning courses at their convenience.

One of the most prolific benefits of content digitisation in the education industry is its ability to merge together the best aspects of both online learning and traditional classroom learning methods. Emulating the characteristics of both learning disciplines, digital content builds a stronghold for modern students and also generates savings in terms of resources, by cutting down the need for additional printing of learning materials as well as mitigating paper usage by implementing online examination platforms.

What is on the horizon for the eLearning industry?

The recent pandemonium created by the onslaught of the COVID-19 crisis has asserted a significant impact on the world. However, for the e-education landscape, this impact has manifested in the form of a surge of opportunities, with over 90% of the wealthiest economies in the world rapidly shifting their focus from traditional classroom schooling to virtual education.

Online learning platforms are responding to this surging demand in earnest, with many offering free access to eLearning courses and digital learning solutions. For instance, Bangalore-based ed-tech company BYJU’s has announced free live learning sessions on its Think and Learn platform. This move resulted in a nearly 150% rise in the number of new subscribers to the eLearning platform.

Meanwhile, Tencent classroom has seen a massive rise in usage since mid-February 2020, in response to the Chinese government’s declaration that a quarter of a billion students were to resume their education through online platforms. This declaration consequently led to the largest “online movement” in the history of education, with more than 81% of students from K-12, attending eLearning courses through the Tencent K-12 Online School portal in Wuhan.

Some people are of the belief that a complete transition to e-education, especially with inadequate focus on training, bandwidth access, and overall digital preparation would be detrimental to sustained educational growth. However, an increasing volume of the global population is advocating in favour of a hybrid educational model, that combines the social benefits of a classroom environment with the superior material access and convenience of eLearning solutions in the years ahead.

Global Market Insights Inc. has a market report dedicated to E-Learning, available at:

https://www.gminsights.com/industry-analysis/elearning-market-size