Online Education: What is true about the present and future of this educational model

Online Education: What is true about the present and future of this educational model

Is distance learning really the solution to all the challenges that the corporate market and the people themselves encounter when seeking training?

Online/distance education (ODL) has been around for more than two decades, but it has been in the last three years, especially with the pandemic, that it has gone from being an "experimental model" to becoming a common element in the day-to-day life of companies. In the corporate world, distance learning has grown rapidly as a way to provide training and professional development in a flexible and efficient way. Distance learning allows employees to study at their own pace, at convenient times and locations, which can increase productivity and job satisfaction. In addition, distance learning in companies can be a cost-effective solution to provide training for many employees, without the need for travel or infrastructure costs for in-person courses.

However, even with the ODL boom, HR managers need to be aware of one point: distance learning is not suitable for all types of training. Some topics may require direct interaction between teacher and student, or even the realization of practical activities, which may be difficult to reproduce in a virtual environment. In addition, it is essential that companies invest in quality teaching platforms, with pedagogical resources that allow effective and meaningful learning. Regarding the technologies adopted, distance learning is fragmented in this market, which is currently dominated by a few large players, such as Docebo, Lynda/Linkedln, Cornerston, and others of smaller size. In other words, the use of distance learning in the corporate environment can be an interesting solution for companies that want to offer training in a flexible and economical way, as long as the necessary measures are taken to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the teaching-learning process.

An expanding market to train students and teachers.

In the US, and I believe the same is happening in innovative companies in Brazil, companies are using the offer of training and education as a way to retain talent and improve the skills of employees. The adoption of technology in teaching simplifies and increases productivity, while helping to reduce costs. One example I highlight is our client, Kids "R" Kids, which is investing about $200K per year with 2BeLive to develop an employee training program. The goal is to promote the integration of new hires and improve the skills of those with longer tenure. 

They are not the only ones, and this growth also creates a new demand: the need for schools to train teachers adapted to this new model so that teachers can get the most out of the use of technology to improve pedagogy.Translating this to the world we live in today means that even those just out of university need training to learn how to use software proficiently in order to become productive workers.And here again technology can help, for virtual/online/distance education is the enabler of teachers and the only one that can promote, in a timely and cost-effective manner, large-scale training of the teachers themselves.

The current scenario of DL in Brazil.

In recent years, distance education in the corporate environment has grown significantly in Brazil. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced companies to adopt remote learning as a way to maintain the training and development of their employees. But the exceptional situation experienced in recent years is not the only point that explains this advance. This growth has been driven by several factors, such as greater accessibility to technology, the increase in the supply of learning platforms, and the need to keep employees up to date with technological innovations and changes in the market.

However, it is important to point out that the quality of the training offered at a distance is still a concern. And, at this point, the technology adopted is a determining factor. Therefore, it is essential that institutions invest in quality teaching platforms that offer pedagogical and technological resources that ensure effective learning. It is undeniable that the evolution of distance learning in the corporate environment in Brazil in recent years has been positive, offering a practical and cost-effective solution for companies seeking to train their employees. However, the quality of teaching must be a priority, so that this model can be increasingly used successfully.

Furthermore, Brazil, given its continental size and lack of education, needs technology to bring education to the poorest and hard to reach regions. Whether it is primary, secondary or university education, underdeveloped countries cannot expect education to be provided only by the traditional way. While it is true that having students in school brings benefits beyond the educational aspect, it is also true that in certain regions, during wet periods, it is barely possible to get to school. Additionally, in other poorer regions, schools are kilometers away and students have to walk long distances to get to school. DL is not here to replace face-to-face schooling, but to add integration of student with teachers and student with student, whether they are from the same country or from remote countries.

2be live, in partnership with Kids R Us, is doing exceptional work with underprivileged children in the Gambia, West Africa, and Cambodia. Specialized ODL platforms bring fun to learning. And when you can combine fun with learning, clearly the results show that you learn more. The same work could be replicated in Brazil.

The immediate benefits of ODL

There are several possibilities in distance learning that can be explored in different contexts and for different purposes. Some of the main ones are:

Flexible schedules: distance learning allows students to study at more flexible times, adapting to their daily routine. This is especially important for people who work, have children, or other activities that demand a large part of their time.

Student autonomy: in ODL, students are responsible for their own learning, which means they need to manage their time, set their priorities, and seek resources to further their knowledge.

Personalization of learning: ODL can be tailored to meet individual student needs, allowing students to progress at their own pace and choose the resources that best suit their learning style.

Cost reduction: DL can be a more economical alternative for teaching, since there is no need to travel to the place of study, and no need to invest in physical infrastructure, such as classrooms and equipment.

Access to a variety of resources: ODL allows the student access to a wide variety of learning resources, such as videos, texts, podcasts, discussion forums, games, and simulations.

Possibility of interaction: Although DL can be a solitary experience, many learning platforms offer interaction features such as discussion forums, chats, and videoconferences that allow students to communicate with classmates and professors.

Scalability: DL enables an educational institution to serve a larger number of students than would be possible in a physical environment, meaning that it is possible to scale course offerings and meet growing demand.

About Author

Maurício Ferro

What do soccer, wine, law, politics, and economics have in common? Much more than you can imagine. And contrary to what the popular saying says, they can and should be debated and analyzed, yes. Welcome to Maurício Ferro's site, a channel to create and exchange thoughts and opinions. Maurício Ferro is a lawyer, graduated from PUC university in Rio de Janeiro, with a Master's degree and specializations from universities such as the London School and the University of London. He studied OPM at Harvard Business School. Author of published works in the commercial and capital markets areas, and acting in the Board of Directors of large companies, he based his legal and executive career with a focus on Business Law. But his passion goes beyond the corporate world. A passionate Flamenguista, Mauricio knows the ins and outs of the professional world of soccer and other sports. He is a partner in innovative companies such as 2Blive, a global startup focused on technological solutions to fill the education gap, especially in areas of great need such as Africa. He also invests in the Flow Kana company, based in California, and focused on the scientific production of cannabis for various purposes, such as medicinal, clothing production, or recreational use. To all these ingredients, add a deep knowledge of wine and the delicious ways of winemaking. That is the recipe for what you will find here.

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