Technology has had a huge effect on the world of education. Not just for schools and universities, but for professional training courses and independent learning too.
Classes no longer have to be carried out in a physical environment. Nowadays, students (and teachers) have a digital toolbox at their fingertips that's full to the brim with online courses, digital textbooks, apps, and other materials that they can access no matter where they are in the world.
In 2021, the worldwide eLearning market was worth $315 billion in 2021. By 2028, it's projected to surpass $1 trillion. Yes, you read that right: one trillion US dollars.
And between now and then we can expect a huge surge of new technology to make online learning more accessible, more effective, and more enjoyable than ever before.
Let's take a look at five trends in online learning that we can expect to see in 2023 and beyond.
In 2021, there were almost 15 billion mobile devices operating worldwide. That's forecast to rise to almost 17 billion in 2023, and above 18 billion by 2025.
Given how widely used mobile devices are, it's no surprise that online learning is more popular than ever. And not just in the US. In fact, looking at Google Trends, the countries that have shown the most interest in online learning over the past five years are the Philippines, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Jamaica, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Smartphone users around the world are able to access online learning materials wherever they are and whenever they want, making learning more accessible.
And that online learning trend is set to continue into the future. The mobile learning market was valued at $37.6 billion in 2020, but by 2028 it's projected to reach a staggering $445.3 billion! That's more than a 1000% increase in just eight years.
As time goes on we're likely to see more and more courses, apps, and software being created for mobile learners.
Every student is unique. They have their own learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, which is why the typical one-size-fits-all approach to learning just doesn't cut it.
Artificial intelligence helps to provide students with personalized learning experiences to suit their needs. AI-powered software can analyze student performance, highlight areas of weakness, and tailor a learning plan to help them progress.
Thinkster Math is a good example. The software creates personalized learning programs based on each student's individual needs, highlighting areas of weakness and repeating these topics until they've been mastered. This makes learning more comfortable, enjoyable, and effective for students.
According to Global Market Insights, global AI usage in education is estimated to have an annual growth rate of 45%, and is predicted to reach a whopping $80 billion USD by 2030.
Find out more about how AI is used in education.
Virtual reality and augmented reality haven't been widely adopted in education just yet, mainly because of the need for the right hardware and headsets.
But as these technologies become both more accessible and more sophisticated, VR and AR software could be used more and more in online learning, creating exciting and immersive experiences for learners.
There are already an array of fun experiences available. Students can explore the planet with the National Geographic Explore VR app, in which they can virtually explore Antarctica and climb Machu Picchu. And with the VR app Titans of Space they can go even further and head into outer space!
Or they can go back in time to learn about dinosaurs using an AR app called Dinosaurs Among Us, created by the American Museum of Natural History paleontologists.
Immersive learning using AR and VR gives students first-hand experience in a range of subjects - the possibilities are endless!
Contrary to what you might think, eLearning doesn't have to be a solitary pursuit. Group learning is very powerful when it comes to learning, absorbing, and remembering information. It also helps with motivation.
In fact, Harvard Business School, there was an 85% increase in course completion rates after social learning was introduced to their online education initiative.
Social learning online includes things like forums, chatrooms, shared lessons, study groups, and even gamification (more on that later).
Many eLearning platforms have included these features as part of their design, and given that social learning is such an important trend in online learning, these features are likely to become more and more common over the coming years.
People love playing games. Flashy visuals, dopamine hits, leaderboards. They're engaging for a reason! And many software developers are tapping into that, adding gaming features to make the online learning process more engaging and more fun.
Look at Duolingo as an example. The language learning app features instant grading, leaderboards, challenges, and animated characters to make learning a language more entertaining.
The gamification industry is taking off, with one report from ReportLinker estimating that its market will reach $58.8 billion by 2028. Needless to say, you can expect to see gamification adopted far and wide in the eLearning realm into 2023 and beyond.
And there you have it. Five online learning trends to keep an eye on in 2023 and beyond. For more on this topic check out our guide on the challenges of online learning and how to overcome them.
Written By Katie Garrett