Last updated: 06.12.11

E-learning 'continues to evolve with benefits to the workforce and economy'

The world of online learning and its popularity just keeps evolving, according to one commentator.

Writing for Sign On San Diego, Elizabeth Tice, president of Ashford University in California, suggested that e-learning is continuously growing to meet the needs of a troubled economy, developing technology and high student demand.

"Distance learning has become a force that is not only forever changing how education is delivered but will also drive economic change by preparing today's workers for the technology-based jobs of tomorrow," said Ms Tice, who is responsible for the operations of Ashford University, which has an annual enrolment of more than 90,000 students.

She added that the rapid rate at which educational institutions are adopting e-learning strategies into their curriculums and module offerings has a lot to do with the development of other products and ideas such as advanced technologies, mobile learning and smartphone technology, which makes resources available anywhere and at any time.

As well as citing the academic reasons for the increasingly popular adoption of e-learning practices, Ms Tice noted that there are valuable cost-effective matters which encourage facilities to offer digital learning resources.

She commented: "In recent years, traditional schools have begun to add online curriculum.

"Continued growth and increased sophistication of online education at all levels will provide major benefits to students, the economy, traditional and online schools, and society in general. The bottom line: Our nation will have an increasingly well-educated workforce."

Furthermore, the academic leader stated that students who are moving with the developments of technological devices are driving the increasing demand for distance learning courses.

A study by Babson Survey Research Group entitled Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States 2011 found that the number of students taking online courses in the US has surpassed six million and that nearly one-third of all students are embracing the availability of e-learning as a module option.