How eLearning Became The "Essential Learning" Industry In The COVID Era

How COVID-19 Has Impacted The eLearning Industry
Summary: Schools and colleges have been our trusted modes of learning since time immemorial. This fact has been changing since the onset of the coronavirus, making the eLearning industry one of the few industries clocking in growth and numbers. We analyze here what has worked for and against them.

How Is COVID-19 Impacting The eLearning Industry?

Humans have evolved, so have their mindsets and learnings. Sadly, the learning methodologies have not evolved on the same lines. Until recent times, learning and education had been mostly limited to institutions like schools and colleges. Kids and young adults were made to sit through and mug up the same old syllabus through the same old textbook models. But, the scene is changing now. With the advent of technology in this field, kids are now able to learn from anywhere, anytime, and through engaging images and video-centric tools. In rhetoric terms, it is called eLearning or electronic learning.

Where Did The eLearning Industry Stand In The Pre-COVID Times?

eLearning is not a new concept. Rather, the eLearning industry has been developing and taking shape in the startup culture for more than a decade now. Companies like Byju's (an EdTech startup), Unacademy (an online learning platform), White Hat Junior (a coding app for kids), amongst others have been the front runners in this vertical. Byju’s became India’s first startup in the EdTech space to be granted UNICORN (startups deemed to be worth more than $1 billion) status.

In fact, this whole industry has been developing based on the fact that our traditional learning methodologies have come of age. They have been seeking "the NewGen era," wherein education shall break free from the shackles of physical institutes, teachers, textbooks and tenacious examinations, pre-education requirements, English-medium education, among others.

COVID-19: The Unforeseen Opportunity

Coronavirus had brought forth this "presumed era" sooner than anyone had ever expected. The good part is that the industry grasped the opportunity with both hands and has been working diligently to achieve targets and expectations set by its customers.

As per the latest CNBC report, "BYJU has recorded a 150% rise in enrollments in the month of March itself." upGrad, a learning platform that offers learning programs for working professionals, clocked in a record 4,000 enrollments during the month of April.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The industry has been booming at an unprecedented rate with brighter prospects in the COVID era and is well readied for the post-COVID times as well. Let us analyze what has been working for the industry especially in this era:

1. The Global Lockdown

The COVID-19 virus has initiated lockdown in phases or in continuous forms the world over. As a result, schools, universities, and institutes have become public spaces that have no or very meager scope of opening up in the coming times. The kids are free and the parents have been on a continuous lookout for ways to keep them busy and, if possible, to make them learn new skills.

Due to the lockdown, businesses have had quite a lot of losses and they have laid off a lot of employees. These sacked employees have time on their hands. Even those working virtually tend to up their game in order to stay viable in these challenging times. As a result, alternate learning and skill providing platforms like Unacademy and Udemy have been raking in unprecedented sales and customer numbers.

2. The Technology Edge

Due to its complete technological base, eLearning can be initiated and done from anywhere, at any time. Unavailability of physical space or infrastructure does not limit its scope. Thus, it provides the perfect space for learning interactions, without any physical contact required. Uploaded video courses and interactive live streaming class technologies have been game-changers in this arena.

The advent of newer technologies, like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), have made eLearning the most enticing and attractive form of learning methodologies.

3. Traditional Institutions Are Also Going The eLearning Way

With schools and colleges closed indefinitely due to the novel coronavirus, and no respite from its effects in sight, learning institutes have been looking at technology as the only option to teach kids without actually coming to school and fulfilling their syllabus commitments successfully.

Surprisingly, the effects have been such that the institutes, which earlier were only banking on video classes, are now looking for longtime associations with technological partners. In order to avoid mistakes in hiring an eLearning app developer, the demand for education-related technology products, like Veracross and Wizemen, is at an all-time high.

4. Building Up The Parent-Teaching Confidence

One of the major roadblocks in the early progression of eLearning products and methodologies had been the distrust of parents and teachers as well as the learners in its effectiveness. But, aggressive and compulsory usage of these tools, even by the traditional institutes and its witnessed affectivity, has instilled parent-teacher confidence in them. In fact, they seem to be more than ready to now accept this new mode of learning with open arms, for the long run as well. This, in my view, has been the biggest achievement of the industry by far. It shall also become the prime reason for the continuation of the surge achieved by the industry, even once the havoc of the virus subsides.

5. Making Education Accessible, Affordable, And Approachable For All

Last but definitely not the least, the eLearning industry has effectively removed the barriers prevalent in our traditional learning system that favors the rich, urban living, and English-speaking population. eLearning enables education to reach the farthest corners of a developing country, like India, through easily available smartphones and affordable data service networks.

The eLearning industry, on the whole, has ushered in a new era of fun, interactive, and customized learning experiences. It lets an individual learn new skills, courses, and concepts as per their pace, progression, and requirements. The lockdown era of "COVID -19" has helped this kind of education gain momentum. The eLearning industry has finally taken center stage and we are all up for it.