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Digitization has opened up the borders of education. Almost anyone can enroll in any course of choice offered from any university in the world. The world’s most prestigious institutions are opening up to the idea of virtual course delivery, to the idea of generating new revenue streams through digital education. This expansion doesn’t have to come at the cost of lower quality or making their brand less sought after. Institutes can still differentiate themselves with the depth and the uniqueness of the courses on offer. Online education creates the opportunity to take education to the masses, especially in the emerging economies where there is more of a need to work alongside study there is shortage of teachers and quality study material.
Online education is beginning to show good potential. The overall size of online education market is expected to reach $78.4 billion by 2015 from $60.5 billion in 2010. Within the online education market, the pattern for K-12 is different than post-secondary or higher education. The share of spending devoted to e-learning appears considerably smaller in K-12 education than in post-secondary education. Expenditure on e-learning in U.S K-12 education is estimated to absorb just $0.46 for every $100 spent. By contrast, expenditure on e-learning in U.S. post-secondary education is estimated at $5.60 per $100 spent, or over 10 times the K-12 share. (Source: Executive office of the president council of economic advisers, Sept, 2011.)
Accordingly, there is lot of focus on e-learning for higher education. The leading learning management system providers include Blackboard, Pearson, Ellucian and few open source ones like Moodle and Sakai. Learning management systems are platforms through which the e-learning programs are executed. These usually cover a range of features like collaboration tools, virtual classrooms and online assessments. A good Learning Management System is easy to use, user friendly and cost effective. It allows easy publishing of courses to the Learning Management System so that it is easy for non-technical training administrators to create, manage, and track interactive training courses and learning programs for all levels of users. Further, an Learning Management System should be scalable, flexible, pay as you grow that provides various options to multiple business sizes or models.
It may seem that Learning Management Systems are being commoditized slowly, especially Learning Management System on cloud platforms become more popular. In emerging economies, where costs have to be kept low, Learning Management Systems are offered as low frills platforms, enabling a marketplace for education. Knowledge providers – the education course providers – only need to pay if they charge the students in return. Content is the problem of the knowledge provider and the platform treats the content as a mere file type. These boundaries allow every player to focus on their core area of strength.
In countries where online education has been around for some time now, there is a need for Learning Management Systems to become larger and become more student-centric. Learning Management Systems are just a cog in the wheel of the entire new education lifecycle. Adaptive learning techniques are ingrained in Learning Management Systems, offering courses and content personalized to the needs of the individual user – and in real time. This means that the Learning Management System is integrated with the content and editorial side of the workflow and also integrated with the fulfillment engine, giving access to student and teacher records. Hence technology has a much larger role to play in the dissemination and absorption of knowledge.
Thus, in different ways across the world, learning management systems are playing an important role enabling globalization of education.
This content was provided by HCL Technologies, a leading transformational global services company for IT and engineering.