Table of Contents
- Section 1: Introduction
- Growth in Patents
- Customers/ Users
- Government Investment and Private Investment Growth
- Section 2: Elements
- Firm Strategy
- Supply Networks
- Section 3: The Future
- Learning Institutions
- Related Education essays
Section 1: Introduction
For a long time, education has taken place through physical interaction, which involves individuals meeting face-to-face to exchange ideas, concepts, and consequently, learn. Nonetheless, technology has changed the manner in which education is offered since technology provides platforms through which individuals exchange ideas and learn without necessarily having any physical contact. Over the recent past, online education is spreading each day with new ideas about implementing it and working towards better results emerging. The growth of the Internet has also caused a significant growth in terms of allowing people to connect from different places and to engage in learning processes. Furthermore, online education has witnessed the significant growth due to the collaboration between key stakeholders such as educators, technology leaders, and the government. As such, the collaboration between these stakeholders has enabled the industry to grow with each stakeholder offering significant support and contribution. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the issue of growth in online education. The paper will also evaluate different factors, which have contributed to the growth of online education. The current assignment will include specific figures, which prove that online education is still an emerging, as well as the progress that has been made thus far.
Growth in Patents
Currently, several patents exist regarding assisting with online education. Specific industry stakeholders have secured these patents according to a particular sequence to help with protecting their intellectual property and ensuring that online education is delivered to students in the right manner. The growth has been significant since 1986, 37 patents have been issued. Among 37 patents, 20 of them were issued between 1986 and 2002 while 17 were issued between 2002 and 2015 (Betz, Ganza, and Nalesnik 5). In this case, the patents have been issued to companies that produce technologies which offer online education platforms. The patents have been issued to protect the authenticity of their technologies in providing online education.
Customers or users of online education have also grown quite significantly due to the growth in terms of the Internet outreach and other technologies. The growth can be seen by considering or evaluating the growth in terms of total enrollment of students in various learning institutions which offer online learning. From 2002, the growth among online education users has always been higher than 8%. For example, in 2002, the number of students pursuing at least one online course was 1,602,970, while in 2003, the number grew by 23% to 1,971,397. Furthermore, the number of users stood at 6,714,792 in 2011, thus, showing significant growth over time (Lederman 3).
Government Investment and Private Investment Growth
In the education sector, a government has been the leading stakeholder in terms of promoting and investing in online education. The role of the government and its impact is seen in the fact that public institutions are leading in terms of offering online education. As of 2012, 93% of government institutions had both online courses and full programs (Lederman 3). On the other hand, during the same period, only 84% of private institutions had both online courses and full programs.
Section 2: Elements
Various elements have contributed to the evident growth in the online education sector. These elements have played a significant role in terms of providing direction and contributing to the evident changes in the industry.
Firm strategy has contributed to the growth in the online education sector since it enables stakeholders to curve out paths in the new sector and offer leadership. Companies have adopted leadership and innovative strategies, which focus on ensuring that the firms provide solutions on how to implement online education. For example, SweetRush is an eLearning content developing company, which is the industry leader and innovator. Its company strategy is to enhance and engage user experiences. Furthermore, SweetRush offers leadership and innovation through technical creativity, which enables students to adopt new capabilities in eLearning (Hyder 4). Currently, users of the company platform are able to benefit from mobile delivery, which facilitates live and virtual classrooms. The role of firm strategy has been to offer direction to the employees and indicate how the company should solve problems within its industry.
Technology affects the emergence of the online education industry since it provides the basic framework within which the industry grows. The backbone of online education is information technology. For example, online education has grown significantly due to the development of mobile learning platforms, which support the use of mobile phones in order to study. The growth and ease of access to information technology gadgets such as smartphones and tablets have been the primary reason for the growth in online education (Hyder 2). More specifically, the affordability of such devices has contributed to the growth of online education since users are able to purchase gadgets, which facilitate the access to information. Furthermore, the growth in technology has also provided solutions such as the generation and access of e-content. Therefore, material, which existed previously as physical copies, has been converted to e-content, which further facilitates the growth of online education.
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Investment affects the emergence of the online education industry since it is a relatively new industry, which is quite demanding in terms of the resources required. The development or growth of the online education industry has been facilitated by the investment made by different stakeholders. For example, both public and private stakeholders in the education sector have invested in the infrastructure such as the Internet within campuses and transformation of physical content into e-content. Such investment has been important in ensuring that institutions offer online education since they support the access to content and learning facilities. Additionally, institutions have also invested regarding time in creation of policies and frameworks, which regulate the online learning (Hartley, Woods, and Pill 77). For example, most institutions offer a framework, which guides learners on how to submit their assignments or take exams and tests through online platform. Finally, learners have invested in devices, which enable them to access the e-content from their homes. In this case, investing in these devices is a step towards accessing and participating in online education. Some may have purchased them devices from their personal savings while other learners receive the devices as part of school fees.
The supply networks in online education have made it easier to facilitate online learning. In this case, supply networks have a significant role in providing a link between content developers and learners. In the online education case, supply networks have been made easier to follow and administer. For example, a supply network involves a learning institution, which sets the curriculums for different course. It also involves firms such as SweetRush, which prepare the eLearning content for institutions under specific agreements (Hyder 6). After creating the e-content and installing, institutions acquire the content and feed it on their platforms such as websites and databases (Lederman 5). Students, on the other hand, access the content from institutions’ websites or databases. The supply network is simplified since all learners are able to access the specific book edition or version that the course recommends. Furthermore, the school invests in fewer books since multiple users can access one book. Therefore, the supply chains have contributed to the growth of online education since they facilitate easier and affordable delivery of content to students.
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The main production process involved in online education is the production of online content. Online content production involves conversion from physical books or printed books into e-books and e-content. The production of online content has been facilitated by technology, which has made it easier for institutions to have online education. The difference between online education and traditional education is the method of content delivery. Therefore, the production of online content has been the most significant aspect in terms of production, which revolves around facilitating the growth of the entire industry (Sánchez, Heredero, and Merodio 870). Furthermore, production has been made possible by content producers as well as publishing houses, which are engaged in the process of conversion, and changed from physical production to online content.
The market growth has contributed to the industry growth since it has attracted more stakeholders to invest in online education. The attraction of more stakeholders due to the market growth has led to competition and better quality in terms of the content produced. For example, as of 2003, online education was valued at slightly less than $20 billion. However, over time, it has grown significantly and as of 2010, it was valued at $60 billion. The growth in value has attracted more stakeholders due to the opportunities that exist. Firms are joining the industry to provide online content as well as offer key resources such as infrastructure, which is needed for proper online education. Therefore, the growth in the market has contributed to more changes within the industry, which has led to the involvement of stakeholders in improving the sector. Some of the changes include program accreditation, innovation, as well as a change in the structure of education delivery across different institutions (Green and Wagner 4). The markets have also opened up due to the growth of online education. For example, the market for tablets and other information technology devices, which learners use for online education, has opened up. Finally, the growth in the market is seen in terms of the increase in the number of learners who seek online education services. Such market growth has also contributed to the innovation since each player in the market seeks to provide a unique service or product.
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The government has also played a significant role in promoting the growth of online education. The government regulates the education sector through federal and state regulations as well as authorities. The accreditation of online content and courses by the national accrediting agencies has led to the growth of the sector since institutions are able to provide courses, which have been approved by these agencies. Additionally, government agencies are actively involved in encouraging institutions to offer online education due to the profitability. Therefore, the government is directly involved in the process of promoting online education (Online Learning Consortium 6). Most importantly, the government is contributing to the online education growth by conducting research through its agencies as well as using the research by independent agencies in order to formulate policies. In this perspective, the government plays its role in terms of regulation and providing guidance to the industry stakeholders on how to engage in the provision of online education. Through the participation in these activities, the government has been able to provide an environment, which allows competition and innovation in the sector, which is relatively new.
Section 3: The Future
Online education has been termed as the future of education due to the incorporation of technology in order to solve problems that have existed in the education sector. Nonetheless, in order to maintain this position as the “future of education,” it is imperative for the different stakeholders to take advantage of the opportunities that exist within the sector. These opportunities are available to investors, firms, the government, as well as customers.
Firms can take advantage of the growth in the online education sector by investing in the available technology and taking up leadership strategies within the sector. For example, Udemy is a significant player in terms of online education, which seeks to provide online education independently rather than provide it through institutions (Fitzpatrick 3). This is a form of leadership since educators meet from different locations and offer education to learners in form of lessons. The strategy moves away from the traditional education system where institutions are required in order to offer the learning to students. As such, the future of online education for firms is to adapt strategies, which are oriented towards reduction of intermediaries (DeVoss, Eidman-Aadahl, and Hicks 70). Furthermore, innovation by the firms should take time to ensure that they offer a different product as compared to the available products. For example, the content covered should be brief and concise since students accessing the online platforms are able to conduct more research to supplement the online course content. Finally, firms have the opportunity to take up unique paths and offer unique products since a wide range of products, which have not been exploited, exists.
In the future, governments should promote the growth of online education through formulating policies, which guide stakeholders on their different roles in terms of providing and accessing online education. In this case, the governments should focus on ensuring that loopholes are sealed through policy and legislation in order to ensure that although online education enhances liberality, the quality of education is maintained (Byrd, Roufagalas, and Mixon 25). Most importantly, the government should formulate agencies, which will be mandated with the obligation of ensuring that institutions and stakeholders in the industry adhere to the requirements of online education. Furthermore, the government should mandate agencies to engage in research, which provides information regarding the growth and trends in online education. The government has enough budget for such research thus should finance the research in order to improve the performance within the sector.
In the future, learning institutions should focus on ensuring that all stakeholders understand the importance and role of online education. The research indicates that online learning growth has been hindered significantly due to resistance by stakeholders, especially within learning institutions. Therefore, the role of learning institutions in this case should be to ensure that stakeholders understand the significance of online education. The institutions should conduct public education to inform the stakeholders on the future of online education (Hyder 5). More specifically, the purpose of the learning institutions is to ensure that the resistance is reduced, and that all stakeholders embrace online education in order to move towards the targets of online education. The learning institutions should also liaise with the government and government agencies in terms of how to implement online education frameworks. Finally, learning institutions should also engage in research in order to ensure that they play the leadership role in adapting new technology and enhancing online education growth.
In the future, customers should demand better services in online education institutions and demand for the creation of better products. Currently, the main benefit of online education to the consumers is the fact that consumers can access online education at convenient time and place. In this perspective, learning can take place from different locations as long as learners adhere to the rules set by the institution or the online learning platform. In this perspective, students have not yet mobilized themselves as consumers of online education as a product (Lederman 3). It is important for consumers to come together and use their rights to receive high-quality services in online education. Most importantly, consumers should present personalized content, which covers their areas of interests to improve learning outcomes.