5 Ways eLearning Platforms Can Be The Solution To The Student Debt Crisis
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How eLearning Platforms Must Adapt In Response To The Student Debt Crisis

The education industry in the United States is currently beset by a huge (and growing) problem: student debt. At last count, there was $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans in America, and that number is growing every day. Many have looked to eLearning as a salve that might alleviate some of the growing economic pressure on the industry, but in order for that to happen, eLearning platforms are going to have to adopt some strategies to provide a pathway for overburdened students to continue their education. Here's what to focus on.

1. One Stop Shopping

When dealing with potential students that are already carrying some form of student debt, it's important to realize that they will be hesitant to add to it by taking even more costly classes. To effectively serve such students, it's a good idea to create a portal within your platform that contains plenty of resources to help. Make sure to include information about student loan refinance options as well as any available relief or debt cancellation programs. If possible, dedicate a live support representative that is versed in student debt-related issues, that can help potential students resolve any financing problems that may be preventing them from pursuing further education.

2. Emphasize Results

In the current debt-laden environment, one of the biggest obstacles graduates face in paying down their debt is the fact that many of them are perpetually underemployed and thus unable to realize the true value of the degree program they paid for. In fact, that is a primary reason that some college graduates consider taking additional training via eLearning platforms.

Before they are willing to commit more money to improve their situation, it's helpful for them to know the odds that the classes they're interested in will materially improve their situation. For that reason, it's critical to compile and publicize data regarding student outcomes on your platform. Not only will this help interested students to decide if a particular course is right for them, but it will also help determine which courses are underperforming so they can be refined or eliminated.

3. Offer Free Coursework

One of the best ways to attract students that are carrying substantial student debt is to give them the one kind of course pricing they feel they can afford: free. Allowing students to participate in your platform with no up-front investment will provide them with an object lesson in the value of your product.

If possible, offer a limited range of complete courses at no charge, or an introductory number of hours with no commitments. It's also a great idea to allow the student themselves decide which courses (up to a predefined limit) to take for free from your entire catalog. While there are plenty of free eLearning opportunities already available online, it's still possible to differentiate your platform from the competition by offering free courses that may help underemployed students find a better-paying job.

4. Respond To Demand

The best and simplest method that eLearning platforms can use to cater to those carrying student debt is to listen.

Create a staffed forum where new students can share their experiences and then work with them as much as possible to create programs that suit their unique situation. This is an area that remains lacking in many eLearning platforms, owing to the self-service nature of the medium. Responding to the needs of students in this manner will not only drive growth within your platform but will also produce better outcomes for the students who will then become your best brand ambassadors.

5. Be A Solution

In the digital realm of eLearning, it's very easy to lose sight of the fact that providing valuable knowledge to students is the ultimate goal. Many of those flocking to eLearning platforms today are doing so because they feel that traditional educational institutions have failed to give them the tools they need to have a better life, and they want to find a means of improving their situation.

The eLearning industry, as a whole, stands a good chance of being a solution for many students that have left college with little more than an expensive degree – and it's up to all of us to do everything we can to provide a real education that won't add financial insult to injury.

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