Impact of COVID-19 on the E – Learning Industry

The whole world is going through a severe pandemic; with most of the countries under lockdown, around 1.2 billion children across 186 countries have been affected due to school closures. Around 90% of the students are now not able to attend their classes physically. The governments and institutions around the world are taking numerous steps to mitigate the loss of education for the students. UNESCO and the World Bank have recently issued a list of useful resources to study from during the lockdown period.

Hard times lead to innovations in search of opportunities. The rise of China’s E-Commerce (Alibaba and post-SARS is the perfect example of this statement. Though the world might be at a stop right now education is something which cannot be halted. This paves the way for the E-Learning Industry to flourish. E-Learning is one of the few sectors where investments have not dried up. COVID-19 has come in like a boon for this already profitable and growing industry and has given it a great push. Not just school education but this is also the time for a lot of entrance tests, for the preparation of which students are turning towards technology. Moreover, with employees working from home, they have a lot of free time at their disposal which they are using to learn new skills. Byju’s recorded a 200% increase in the number of new students on their platform during this period. Schools, colleges, and offices are extensively using apps like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. to maintain the efficiency of learning. In order to accommodate this sudden influx of participants the companies are also revamping their product lines and providing free services to capture the markets. Alibaba’s DingTalk (a distance learning solution) tapped Alibaba Cloud to deploy more than 100,000 cloud servers in just two hours in order to expand its capacity. Want to insert a picture from your files or add a shape, text box, or table? You got it! On the Insert tab of the ribbon, just tap the option you need.


Probable Challenges

With a clear uncertainty of when the lockdown will be over, there are talks in the market that this could lead to a permanent substitution of traditional learning with E-Learning. But is this really possible? While full integration definitely looks like the future of this industry but before coming to any conclusion let’s take a 360-degree view of the situation.

  • Technology Struggle: this rapid and unplanned move with no preparation and low bandwidth could result in poor user experience and hence hamper the growth. Moreover, the digital divide is a larger concern. 95% of students in Switzerland have a computer to work on but only 34% of them have it in Indonesia. The gap is also seen within the country among people with differentiated income.


  • Environment: the seriousness and the structured environment which physical institutions provide aren’t available in E-Learning. Students tend to get distracted easily and hence; people might be hesitant to move onto full E-Learning models.


Possible Consequences

Some of the probabilities which could turn out due to this sudden shift towards E-Learning are –

  • Surprising Innovations: COVID-19 has made institutions to look for innovative alternatives, that too in a short span of time. Saudi Arabia is using TV and Social Media to help teach students. Bitesize Daily is offering learning for kids around the UK with celebrities like Manchester City footballer Sergio Aguero teaching some of the content. These small dots could connect to something big and lead to a disruption in this industry.


  • Public-Private Educational Partnerships: the educational space is receiving a lot of attention amidst the lockdown. From government ministries to big corporates, everyone is busy finding ways to utilize the digital platforms in this crisis. Recently we saw a unique partnership between a Los Angeles school and a PSB station. They launched three local educational broadcasts to teach students. In countries where education is still government-dominated, this could serve as the best opportunity for the corporates to enter. The pandemic could actually pave the way for large-scale, cross-country coalitions.


Trends, here to stay

“I believe that the integration of information technology in education will be further accelerated and that online education will eventually become an integral component of school education”, says Wang Tao, Vice President of Tencent Education.

Though E-Learning cannot permanently remove the traditional institutions out of the business but this pandemic can definitely bring about hybrid channels post normalcy in the long run. We can definitely see a rise in technology for better connectivity among the students and teachers and also for providing the added benefits over and above the classroom methodology. Teachers and students, who were earlier skeptical about E-Learning all over the world have started realizing the advantages of this industry. The trend will definitely continue even after everything becomes normal because the flexibility and the variety that E-Learning provides are not found anywhere else.

It won’t be wrong to say that this pandemic has put the E-Learning industry in the fifth gear on the highway and this time there won’t be a brake.

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