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Will Online IT Training make Colleges Obsolete?
In-person training and education is more than just a mainstream concept. It is a concept that is closely tied to the human learning process, due to years and years of conditioning through the ‘traditional’ modes of education. In fact, even in the technologically charged world of today, education is synonymous with an instructor/professor standing at the head of a classroom.
This is changing; however, with the rapid integration of elements such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality into the educational process, especially for IT training. For traditional institutions, there lies a daunting challenge, in the form of online-only IT training that students can receive from the comfort of their own home, office, or anywhere.
In this article, we will be discussing whether online IT classes and training will make colleges obsolete, or whether they will persevere despite the odds.
The Current Scenario for Traditional Learning Centers
From the looks of it, colleges and universities all over the world, despite making efforts to adapt to the changing times, are not moving fast enough to be fully up to speed against the educational medium of the future. The disruptive concept that is online-only IT training is something colleges had not prepared adequately for, which is resulting in the steady downfall in students enrolling in college for technology-centric education.
According to one report, the steadily declining demand from students has resulted in the closure of many colleges and institutes in India. Additionally, there are predictions of up to half the educational centers shutting their doors within the next decade. This is not good news for colleges and universities, as they present a more expensive, inconvenient and tedious way to attain education.
Current Alternatives to the Traditional Institute
Gaining education about any subject is easier than ever, thanks in almost all major and minor parts to technological progress. To that end, following are some of the alternatives that students have, to traditional institutes.
- Self-paced online classes are an immensely popular learning method, and quite an established one at that, having existed for as long as information delivery on the internet. Recently, the method has seen some progress, in the form of interactive learning and virtual practical training, through the use of augmented reality.
- Virtual instructor-led training is also a popular mode of IT training, being centered more on the advanced aspects of IT learning, and being more comprehensive in nature. This method is quite like a lecture in person, with the only difference being an online setting, and some interactive elements. Of course, this method of IT training can also be received from the comfort of one’s own home.
- Hybrid classes are a combination of the traditional learning method and either one of the previous two training types. The usual method of hybrid learning consists of online learning at first, followed by in-person classes. The latter part is reserved for the more in-depth aspects of the IT courses.
- Augmented reality-based learning is being lauded as the learning of the future, which is being implemented across the educational landscape. IT training is only recently beginning to adopt this training method, due to the concept being more aligned with virtual practical training. Nevertheless, it is applicable, and is actively being applied as well as innovated to suit the unique needs of IT students.
Advantages of Online IT Training
There is no denying that a lot of factors go against the brick and mortar college, when comparing it to the globally online learning platform that IT students are using for learning purposes. Colleges are not only becoming steadily more expensive (44.2 million people in the US owe student loans), but the average student is now preferring the convenience of taking an online course and/or vocational training, as opposed to attending 4 years of college.
Other that the aforementioned, following are some advantages that Online training has against physical institutions.
- Steadily increasing quality of training, in proportion with advancements in technology.
- Extensive, ever-increasing range of courses available in every subject.
- Software companies optimizing online training services (Microsoft certifications are a good example), backed by their own technological expertise.
- Cognitive learning platforms are a benchmark of online IT education, especially for vocational or professional training. While the concept is also applicable to regular degree-centric education of the self-paced online variety, it is instructor-led training that really captures the ideals of cognitive learning.
- Virtually unlimited number of students can attend the same online class, at the same time, with the same instructor, and gain similar learning through it.
- Online classes are considerably more accessible, and there is little to no rep tape and elitism associated with accessing online courses. This is true, at least, for the standard online IT training course, as one offered by an already established and prestigious college will likely be more expensive, and therefore more inaccessible.
The Verdict: Learning will Experience Institutional Evolution
So, judging by the advancements in online training, and the obvious advantages it holds over standard college, is it looking bad for the latter, in the future? To be impartial and honest; not quite, if colleges evolve their learning delivery methods to keep pace with technological innovation in the IT training industry.
Some institutes, such as Harvard Extension School, are already bringing their learning platform online, in an effort to cater to a wider student audience. However, despite all this and more, for the time being, online learning is taking the cake when it comes to rising popularity.
Online IT training through a unique cognitive learning platform, and with both self-paced as well as virtual instructor-led training is the primary IT education medium of the future. As the IT industry leans progressively more towards online certifications, when assessing candidates, it pays (literally!) to have an IT certificate, received through online classes, under your belt.