For many years, the internet has acted as a resource for tutorials and educational materials for a wide variety of subjects. Experts have hung out their shingles, giving away advice in the hopes of attracting consulting clients or additional kinds of projects.
Other websites have sprouted up enticing experts to make extra money online by writing about their fields of expertise. The trouble there, though, is that the visitor frequently does not know the credentials of the writer. If given, how trustworthy are those credentials? Most of these articles include a comments section where the reader-students can talk about what they liked or disliked about the article. But any training that occurs here is admittedly highly informal.
In recent years, more formal online training courses have become a standard method for gaining certification or earning college credits. Though no longer new, this type of training or education still has lots of room to grow. New technology is fueling that growth like hand-held devices and electronic pads, plus the software that makes them useful.
With the job market less certain and recession forcing professionals into the rolls of the unemployed, the entrepreneurial bug plus the necessity for at least some forms of income are creating an overabundance of idle knowledge sources ready and eager to be tapped. Online educational companies are drawing on those resources, developing a large quantity of online training courses in an incredible variety of subjects.
These include the needed credits for electrician license renewal, compliance training, sales training, coursework for computer programming or networking certification, safety training and many more forms of corporate training.
Naturally, when there is a great demand for a product, others will see the opportunity to assist in delivering that demand. Several companies produce software which allows others to author the training materials more quickly. Still other companies create software which allows training programs to be managed with greater ease with something called a Learning Management System (LMS). This provides teachers as well as managers a method to track student performance and participation. And the latest breed of company pulls it all together allowing the developers of courses to sell their work in an online e-learning marketplace.
What's next for education's future? No one can say for certain. Perhaps the next great frontier will break wide open when someone creates the first truly artificial intelligence (AI). Imagine not only getting your online training courses in any subject and at your own convenience, but with a personal tutor who understands your weaknesses and strengths and then structures the material accordingly. Imagine this AI tutor giving you examples in terms of your own interests or hobbies. In other words, how about a tutor who speaks your language, but who never needs an increase in salary or time off for a vacation?
The online training channel may not be new, but it seems to be replacing the brick-and-mortar variety of education more and more each day. New technologies and innovations are only accelerating that change.
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