Every two weeks, we’ll ask our experts to share their opinions on hot topics in fintech. This week, Harry White offers insight into how COVID-19 is leading to unprecedented growth in eLearning.
COVID-19 has changed the learning environment for nearly the entire world. With so many countries on lockdown, entire schools and universities are forced to shift to eLearning. At the same time, large numbers of people are out of work and looking to retool for the new, post-COVID-19 economy. They’re turning to online education as well in record numbers. How can eCommerce profit in this time of uncertainty? That’s the subject of this week’s digest.
eLearning has seen an explosion since the start of the lockdown. People are turning to eLearning to build their skillset and also, to kill boredom. Talking in The Guardian, Shravan Goli, Coursera’s chief product officer, says that Coursera has seen an eightfold increase in enrolments for courses in personal development, social science, and arts and humanities. One course, the “Science of Well Being”, saw 500,000 new enrolments in a single weekend. What’s happening in the market for eLearning?
What’s changed in eLearning motivation?
It’s clear that there’s a sudden increase in interest in learning new skills online. Is it just the boredom, or is something else going on? Life sometimes gets in the way of learning, but many people are making the decision to push themselves for fear of economic uncertainty. This uncertainty is driving course sign-ups. It's also motivating people to finish, driving them to paths eLearners seldom go.
Katy Jordan, an independent researcher doing doctoral work, sampled 29 MOOC courses from Open University, Princeton, Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, University of Austin and other sources. She found that the completion rate for MOOC’s is 6.49%. This low completion rate challenged the idea that all learning can seamlessly shift online and function in the same way as traditional courses.
The environment is changing dramatically because of the COVID-19 crisis. Courses are being bought more by students, but they’re also being finished. This is driven by the economic realities, more people are uncertain about the future, and are wisely using this time indoors to level up their skills.
Platforms like Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) have a lot of course offerings at different price points. These platforms don’t have a monopoly on the market - millions of websites are selling courses from experts all over the world. MOOC courses are also popular and increasingly available from larger institutions, though the emphasis for most of these courses is still on the in-class (and usually paying!) student.
The simplicity of signing up and learning is one thing to consider where courses are concerned. Students value convenience and ease when shopping for and taking courses. Shorter courses with more content do better, as does one without many hurdles to signing up. A simplified checkout process is just one way to get more students into courses.
Handling the boom in demand can be quite challenging. Having a stable payment infrastructure with maximum uptime is critical, as online businesses are expected to be available 24/7. Security is also important. Tokenised payment methods and being capable of detecting DDoS attacks as they are happening will help to keep websites secure and running.
Online courses and the security around them continue to grow during these tough times. Staying ahead of the payments and security curve will help you to take advantage of these trends.