Online learning has become quite a profound entity especially in higher education. The more we progress through higher ed, the more prevalent online classes become. So, how sustainable are these disruptive technologies and how long will they still be prevalent?
Human beings love convenience. We love having the ability to look up any information we want whenever we want. Human beings also love efficiency. Once an opportunity is created to incorporate convenience and efficiency together, endless possibilities ensue. We live in a society where we want an easier life. We have been sold to the idea that our lives must revolve around being easy and convenient, and we will find any opportunity to make convenience practical. The pursuit of convenience has been a huge business model over the last few decades and has caused mass amounts of disruption throughout various industries.
Higher Education is being heavily affected by this disruptive phenomena. The power of convenience and efficiency take precedence over anything traditional, which is precisely what online classes and online education platforms have achieved. How sustainable are these disruptions? Very. They are significantly more cost effective, they are extremely convenient and efficient, and they can instigate a better path to learning the material. Finances have always been a huge, huge debate among families. Looking on the perspective of online education from a financial standpoint, traditional schooling does not stand a chance against online education. Online classes have the ability to be extremely cheap (some classes can be $300 or less) while allowing the professor to widen the scope of the students s/he teaches. Additionally, there are free education services on YouTube such as Khan Academy. Khan Academy was created more for as supplement to classes. Additionally, other free educational platforms opened up after Khan Academy to offer support to anyone who needed explaining on a specific topic in a plethora of fields of study. (Business, history, etc.) Khan Academy had reached a new level when the information was beginning to be translated in different languages in late 2013. If the Khan Academy continues at this rate, it could eventually be an accredited entity which could cause some serious problems in the higher education industry.
In a Ted Talk by Sugata Mitra, he found that children can teach themselves if they have the opportunity and the willingness to do so. Precisely put, it’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen. Online classes are doing exactly that. They are putting people in the position to learn whatever they want, whenever they want to learn it, at whatever time is convenient for them. All anyone needs now is internet access and a computer, and could, essentially, become educated in any field s/he desires. Could this trend in disruption become the beginning of an end… the end of something that was ultimately an empire? Only the future can tell, and the question we have to ask ourselves is, what are we going to do about it?