New report bodes well for e-learning

by Brett Henebery17 Feb 2017
Melbourne-based course comparison start-up, ​,​ recently surveyed over 3,000 people to gain a better understanding of what motivated them to consider further study and the role of technology in the delivery of courses.

Skilled trades topped the survey’s list of jobs most in demand in 2016, with consistent demand for specialist skilled trades, followed closely by engineers, management, sales representatives, IT staff, accountants and finance staff and health professionals.

Mike Thomas, marketing director of told L&D Professional what the survey’s findings mean for L&D in 2017.

“I believe that there is a difference between workplace learning and tertiary education when looking at the adoption of digital platforms. The survey results are broadly connected to respondent’s views of online learning in the context of higher education,” he said.

“Within that context, it seems as though face-to-face interaction remains important. However, this is not to say that the adoption of online tools is not critically important as a means of facilitating this type of learning.”

Thomas pointed out that when it comes to workplace learning however, the continued take up of online learning is a dominant trend.

“The benefits this provides organisations – including being able to provide tailored courses that can be taken in a convenient, interactive and measureable way – are too powerful to be ignored,” he said.

The Times Higher Education reported that about 20% of students who choose external study options drop out in their first year. Thomas outlined some of the factors that might be responsible for this.

“To be clear, online education is here to stay. It has been around a long time and has become increasingly broad-based and indeed this could be one possible explanation for the high dropout rate cited in our survey,” he said.

“Since there are so many online courses now on offer, and readily accessible, people are giving them a try and some discover it’s not for them.”

There are other factors at play too, Thomas added.

“Some of these include a sense, or lack thereof, of belonging to a learning community, time management skills and interaction with the teacher or instructor,” he explained.

“Overall, it seems when it comes to higher education, people’s preference is for ‘blended’ learning where they can experience face-to-face learning supplemented by online learning.”

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