Why has the Coronavirus pandemic encouraged universities to switch to online learning, and how does this affect the growth and development of the e-learning market?
Online education is one of the fastest growing global markets, and promises to pass $282.62 billion by 2023. According to Global Market Insights, in 2017, the market’s value was $159 billion, $190 billion in 2018 and $205 billion in 2019.
It was previously assumed that the average annual growth rate of the e-learning market over the next 5–7 years would be 7–10%. However, the pandemic of 2020 and the subsequent limitations have of course changed this estimate for the better.
In contrast to a number of markets that were negatively affected by coronavirus, online education is experiencing a period of sharp growth. This is largely due to the fact that universities are being forced to move their courses to online formats, and they are now required to develop alternative and more effective distance learning tools.
Digital educational products are now being developed on game-based principles. The global five-year cumulative annual growth rate of this market is 33.2%, and revenue will exceed $24 billion by 2024.
According to Metaari’s 2019-2024 Global Game-based Learning Research, there were 8 major development catalysts in the global game-based learning market in 2019:
▪ artificial intelligence that changes the competitive environment
▪ a surge of interest in educational games with “mixed reality”
▪ a flow of private investment to training companies around the world
▪ major agreements between game developers and global distributors
▪ intensive mergers and acquisitions where large companies are buying up smaller companies developing products in the gaming and training spheres
▪ growing global consumer demand for mobile games
▪ rapid spread of game-based learning in corporate segments around the world.
Obviously, the Covid19 pandemic and its consequences will be added to this list in 2020.
Why are gamification and simulation in e-learning crucial for universities trying to provide distance learning?
Classic e-learning formats are widely available and are actively used in higher education. However, when the pandemic spurred the transition to an online format, many universities expectedly faced a generational problem – half of the teachers do not own distance learning tools, and often do not know how to use Skype or Zoom.
Often, teaching staff are not technologically competent and remote work is a challenge for them. During online classes, it is difficult for teachers to hold the attention of their students without being physically present, and even the simplest interactive tools that involve students in the educational process, such as quizzes, are not available to them. Due to the low audience engagement, only 20% of students, according to statistics, reach the end of their online courses. However, if the standard approach to e-learning is replaced with simulations and learning games, it is possible to increase the number of students who pass their courses to 80%. This is exactly the result observed when Simformer held Business Universiade, in which 500 teams from 200 universities participated. 95% of students reached the final of the qualifying round.
Using the business simulations by Simformer, a teacher may not have to spend 10 hours verbally explaining theory via a series of lectures, and instead, after giving introductory information, they could offer students the chance to practice the acquired knowledge. Observing how students work to solve the business problems of their virtual company and make a whole range of managerial decisions, the teacher can give constructive feedback.
An important plus of using simulations for the teacher is the ability to get a customized solution for a specific task. With this in mind, we have offered our clients a design that allows any teacher to easily create their own business simulator in just one day. They are also able to integrate classic e-courses into the platform, while developing fundamentally new and combined educational products with the following format: “THEORY in e-course + PRACTICE in business simulations = SKILLS”.
Despite the obvious advantages of using business games, university professors, according to the experience of Simformer, are rather cautious to introduce business simulations into their courses. Therefore, positive feedback and the transformation of users (teachers) into brand ambassadors are extremely important for the distribution and implementation of business simulations as products.
As an example, there’s a university representative who spends a semester every year teaching a group of three faculty members from a certain university about the benefits of such a product. As a result, every six months, the number of licenses are doubling within universities, and since the pandemic, this process itself has been twice as fast.
Already in July 2020, a sharp increase in interest in the business learning simulations offered by our platform has been observed. At the same time, the demand for new solutions and formats is growing. The world has come to terms with the fact that the transfer of learning to an online format will become an integral part of the educational process for a long time. In addition, we, like other companies working in the e-learning sector, should be ready to provide universities with the maximum number of tools for effective and high-quality work.
To do this, Simformer proposed to university students a new format of distance summer practice in a realistic multi-user business simulation for the quarantine period.