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The time is now for online education

This article was originally published in Six Degrees Executive.

By Sue Kokonis, Swinburne Online Academic Director

Demand for online education is growing across the world. In the US, the rate of growth in online enrolments is ten times that of all Higher Education. In Australia, the online education sector is expected to generate $6 billion in revenue this year alone and is ranked within the top 10 industries for employment growth. The time to get serious about online education is now.

Qualifications are imperative for individuals wanting to get ahead in today's economy, but for many working adults the prospect of leaving the workforce to return to full-time study is not possible, attractive or practical.

New online education models are meeting the demands of a new ‘traditional student’ that is time poor, often working and needing to gain qualifications in a way that accommodates their lifestyle. These new students exist across the world, but Australia is currently underrepresented in the global market.

The US and Europe make up over 70 per cent of the global eLearning industry. However, the fastest growing market is Asia Pacific, where online education revenue is expected to grow at an annual rate of 20 percent. Australia accounts for almost half that growth in the region.

As Australia moves away from a manufacturing economy, there is a role for new emerging economies to lead and an opportunity for tertiary education to play a key role in this transition. We are on the cusp of a new education frontier.

The time is now for Australia to invest and innovate in new technologies and approaches to education in order to meet student and industry demands and stay competitive. By creating an education experience that puts the new ‘traditional student’ first, Australia will ensure that it’s not left behind in the online education evolution.