We've been living in economically trying times, but one sector has shown consistent growth: online education. When jobs are going right, left and center in other industries, education remains a growth area, with online education boosting the sector considerably. Jobs in online education, including online tutoring for school-age and adult learners, are growing even as opportunities shrink in other sectors.
It's not hard to find the principal reasons for this demand for education. With many candidates vying for a reduced number of jobs, the applicant with the best qualifications is going to have a clear edge over their less well-qualified peers. Many people who have lost their jobs have returned to education, either to up skill themselves or boost their CVs or, in some cases, to retrain in other career fields. The role of online education in these trends is clear.
Although distance education has been around a long time, receiving study materials by post, and even working with interactive materials on CD and DVD, has always had its drawbacks. Online education has a variety of huge advantages.
• Instant access for online learners
• Interactive learning with online tutors and internet resources
• Affordable online tuition due to reduced overheads incurred in online education
• Access to online education, no matter where learners or online tutors live
• Access to online tutors at times convenient to all concerned
Studies have also shown that online education is effective. Some studies suggest that blended education (a mixture of traditional classroom-based teaching and online learning) is more effective than other teaching methods.
The growth of online education has had a significant impact on the job market. That impact has been felt not only in conventional education (K-12 and college) but more widely. Online teaching jobs have been created in a range of areas, including adult education and in the leisure industry. Online teaching jobs have sprung up in subjects as diverse as hobby subjects, foreign language learning and even sports tuition.
The availability of new technologies (including video calling, screen sharing and internet whiteboards, webinars and so on) in the interactive Web 2.0 platform has also created opportunities for teachers, as well as learners. Although online teaching jobs for educators in schools and colleges have mushroomed, the internet has encouraged many people to share their knowledge with others. Not all online learning is qualification-oriented and people with a passion for a subject are able to share their skill and knowledge with others as never before.
Some embrace online teaching jobs as a civic or charitable duty, rather than as a career path, though online education today offers new ways for educators to carve out careers in their chosen subject or subjects. Online teaching jobs offer flexible working hours for teachers (including work-at-home moms) that have not conventionally been available. Private tuition, once the province of those able to afford it, is now within the reach of almost anyone with a broadband internet connection.
The expansion of online education and online teaching jobs is in its infancy. As more and more people across the planet get connected to the internet, new opportunities and ways of spreading knowledge are likely to emerge. In addition, people who have embraced existing opportunities and taken up online teaching jobs find it a satisfying, fulfilling and exciting avenue in the world of education. It can only lead to a world in which education is within the reach of anyone in need of tuition or help.
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