The e-learning market in the United States is forecast to grow by 15.64 percent by 2020. The “E-learning Markets in the US 2016-2020” report points to cloud-based solutions as a key trend over the next few years.
This growth is due to “the introduction of education technology and online content into the curriculum,” said Jhansi Mary J, lead analyst at Technavio. “Cloud solutions have restructured the aspects of education such as content creation, content delivery, and accessibility, making it more productive, convenient, and effective.”
New education technologies include 3-D printing, simulations, and Augmented Reality (AR). The trend is driven by both traditional and online schools, which is due in part to government involvement.
“The U.S. government has implemented initiatives and granted funds to upgrade almost all the elements essential for successful implementation of e-learning,” said Jhansi. “Few of these initiatives include Digital Textbook Playbook, ConnectED program, Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).”
Government initiatives are increasing awareness through programs such as STEM and makerspaces. But, private institutions are “already considering advanced technologies like adaptive learning and next-gen learning management system (LMS)” due to larger funding.
“As a result, though the overall U.S. education market has the same objective of either introducing e-learning or upgrading the existing e-learning framework, e-learning or education digitization strategies of each institution varies significantly,” said Jhansi.
Schools face challenges as they advance their technology. Jhansi points to faculty recruitment and training and secure learning environments as the main challenge schools are facing with this growth.
“The education sector has been introducing an array of new, hybrid learning methods,” said Jhansi. “However, teaching pedagogies are often not in tandem with this changing scenario.”
Online training instructors need training on “installing, managing, and utilizing educational hardware and software,” before guiding teachers, said Jhansi.
However, it is difficult for institutions to train instructors for their teachers and ensure the instructors are updated with the latest technologies. Many schools have opted for third-party training, or development centers for in-house training.
The second challenge is the security of students’ data, a risk that is higher with online learning classrooms.
“This has prompted vendors to adopt proper authorization techniques to ensure optimum privacy and protect the data from cyberattacks,” said Jhansi. “Educational institutions require strong regulations and monitoring systems to assure that a student’s data is directed only toward constructive purposes.”