Last updated: 28.08.14

Online learning sector to hit $107bn

Online learning continues to be a rapidly growing sector and e-learning is becoming increasingly vital to the education industry.

Developments in technology have made online learning more accessible than ever and according to new figures released by market research firm Global Industry Analysts, the industry is set to be worth as much as $107 billion (£64.5 billion) next year.

Many schools in the UK have already incorporated e-learning into their teaching methods, with companies such as Virtual College working closely with education establishments to provide students with more learning options. In the US, online learning providers are expanding quickly and many of them have been the subject of venture capital investments in the last few months.

There are a wide range of benefits of using e-learning, but prime among them is that it gives people the chance to set their own learning pace, which can be particularly appealing for those who are concerned about being left behind by their peers.

As everyone learns best in a different way, the online learning revolution is also likely to make it easier to devise teaching that is useful for a wider range of people than ever before. And it is not just in schools where e-learning is taking off in a big way, as adults are increasingly taking online classes to boost their skills, expertise and job prospects.

Writing for Forbes, TJ McCue explained that his own experiences of online learning have been positive and he is expecting this type of learning will be more common in the education industry.

He said: "Online learning is a growing way to keep your skills up to date or learn entirely new skills. Sure, you can hunt around on YouTube for free tutorials and there are some good ones, but I think the niche sites and well-organised, curated platforms are going to change how we learn."

Education experts are split on how influential online learning is going to become in the future, but it seems inevitable that e-learning is going to continue to grow and evolve in the coming years.