The education industry around the world differs depending on where one happens to be situated. Traditional learning demanded that students be available and willing to attend classes at scheduled times throughout the week. For every issue, for every query, students had to make their way to campus to have it solved. For hundreds of years, for generations of new learners, this established learning system proved its value again and again. The value of this same traditional education system has not wavered; in fact, more students are enrolling in traditional study courses than ever before.
What has changed, however, is the way that students are engaging with higher education. These days, students can study via distance education as well as on-campus (as is the traditional way). What makes this such a special evolution for the industry is that in opening enrolments to individuals who previously could not make studying on campus work for them. This gap in the education system has been a continuous source of conflict for the sector, and the time has finally come that the education industry has embraced solutions that have the power to close that gap.
Students who take on classes through distance education allowances, as opposed to campus-based courses, benefit from not only the opportunity to keep up with their studies in their own time, but also the chance to forge a higher education experience that is unique to their circumstances. These days, students that have questions like, “how can I get someone to help me write my dissertation?” and “where is the assessment feedback?”, no longer must make the (sometimes time-consuming) journey to campus to work through the challenges. Thanks to distance education’s steady evolution, the modern student can do it all from their computer.
A modern student is more insistent on making their studies work for their lifestyle, rather than having to work their lifestyle in around their studies. It makes sense. Modern life is busier than ever, with the average student now working full time hours to fund their life while studying. Combine these two prominent factors of life with putting quality time in with family and friends – and everything else in between – and what you are left with is very little time – if any – to keep your head afloat.
The influx of students applying for, and enrolling in, distance education courses suggests that modern learners appreciate the education industry’s reaching for solutions that are inclusive, flexible, and convenient. The realisation that distance education has had a profound impact on the numbers of enrolments worldwide is both exhilarating and daunting. As supply increases, interest is likely to increase as well, resulting in higher demands yet again.
Currently, the split between students who study on-campus, and those who study through distance education platforms, is relatively even split. Only time will tell if distance education is going to evolve to take complete precedence in the education industry. It is highly unlikely that traditional higher education is going to be phased out entirely, but the fact remains that there is room – and demand – for significant growth for online education to develop further.