05 Jun in  Soda news

The Rise of eLearning During CoronaVirus



CoronaVirus has changed education forever.


Imagine a world where you could attend K-12 without setting foot in a classroom. A world where you could earn ANY degree from ANY institution ANYWHERE on Earth. And all from your laptop.


eLearning is nothing new. But #StayAtHome has forced mainstream education to not only accept eLearning but rely on it. 


Online education will revolutionize everything from child education (and care!) to the entire university structure as we know it.


Today, we’ll detail eLearning’s epic rise during these times of crisis including how to take it to the next level!


The future is now….


eLearning and Corona: The Situation as it Stands


A few months ago, distance learning was seen either as a luxury of the privileged few or second-rate education for those who didn’t have the time or grades to attend “real college.”


Today, it’s our only option. Lockdown orders have affected at least 124,000 public and private institutions and upwards of 55 MILLION students, according to Education Week.


The UN reports that 1.5 BILLION global students are now affected by school closures around the world.




The Scramble Begins


The world’s transition to eLearning can only be described in two words: emergency triage.


School districts were thrust into figuring out exactly HOW to educate large groups of students, many WITHOUT access to the internet.


In the US, the situation is chaotic at best, though no one’s fault. But that doesn’t mean school districts aren’t putting up a fight to preserve education.


Miami-Dade County (Home to over 350,000 students) handed out over 30,000 devices—most of them laptops—in an effort to equip students with the tools needed to learn.


New York City—the epicenter of COVID in America—has already given out over 100,000 devices. It now reports it’s receiving 50,000 iPads PER WEEK from Apple.


One of China’s top universities, Zhejiang University, managed to transfer 5,000 classes online in just 2 weeks.


But, no matter how fast courses go online or how many students have devices, there was little (if any) planning. Some schools are relying on PBS to help teach science, while some school districts are using wi-fi equipped buses to help students stay connected!


What this all boils down to is that online learning is here to stay. And education will never be the same.


The Rise in Online Learning: Unprecedented Growth


Like we said before, eLearning is nothing new.


Investment in EdTech totaled nearly $19 BILLION dollars in 2019 alone, and it’s projected to grow nearly 20x by 2025.


But nothing could have prepared us for this. Here is just some of the technology that has been thrust to the forefront.


  1. Online course platforms
  2. Online learning platforms
  3. Digital conferencing software
  4. Education apps of all kinds
  5. Learning game creation software
  6. Multimedia presentation software
  7. Ted-Ed (web class creation tool)
  8. Video creation
  9. Project management
  10. Virtual tutoring programs


These are just a few of the hundreds of tools used to facilitate online learning.


In normal times, it would take years or even decades for these to take hold and gain acceptance.


Now, the world has no other choice. And people are taking notice.


Staggering eLearning Numbers During Corona


Here are just a few of the mind-blowing stats we found from around the web:


  1. Udemy: The world’s largest online course platform has seen a 425% increase in enrollment, a 55% increase in content creation, and an 80% increase in usage from governments (Source).
  2. Adobe Illustrator: One of the world’s leading content creation programs has seen an increase of 326% in usage!
  3. Google Hangouts: Google reports a surge in usage 25x that of January!
  4. Tencent Classroom: China’s most popular online learning platform is now serving 730,00 students (Source in Chinese).
  5. Zoom: One of the most popular business conferencing programs has already enrolled more users in the past few months than all of 2019.



And This is Only the Beginning


Coronavirus has disrupted an education that many already believed to be outdated.


Many believe that children are attending in-person lessons needlessly.


Skills that don’t need to be taught in schools form the core of many curriculums.


Students are measured on tasks that can be more easily performed by machines.


The education model of 2020 doesn’t look much different than 1820. Standardization, memorization, hard skills, rigid structure—the world is changing but education isn’t.


Here’s a mind-bending stat that paints the picture perfectly:


60% of future jobs have not been developed yet.


Students are currently learning skills that will render them UNQUALIFIED FOR THE MAJORITY OF FUTURE JOBS.


Rather than focusing on rote and memorization, we instead need to focus on flexibility, adaptability, resiliency, and critical thinking. Obviously, it’s easier said than done.


But, if we’ve learned anything from the past, global crises often accelerate change.


How do we know?


It’s happened before….


How the Last Pandemic Launched an eCom Empire


Believe it or not, this is not the first pandemic of the 21st Century.


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) wrought havoc across China in the early 2000s, much like COVID-19 is doing now.


At that time, a small eCommerce platform for connecting Chinese firms to international buyers known as Alibaba was still only a few years into its journey.


The pandemic hit at the worst time. Not only was China’s manufacturing sector devastated, but Alibaba was about to launch Taobao, the company’s rival marketplace to eBay.


To make things worse, an employee contracted SARS, forcing company founder Jack Ma to send all of his employees home.


A suffering economy, a global pandemic, and a dispersed workforce barely kept the company afloat—it looked like Alibaba wasn’t going to survive.


…but the opposite happened. Business EXPLODED!


With everyone trapped in their homes, Chinese consumers had no choice but to try online shopping. Keep in mind this is two decades ago—ordering things online was still new and perceived as dangerous.


Instead of heading to the mall, people shopped online! Sound familiar?


In fact, here’s a quote from Duncan Clark, author of “Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built”:


“Crucially for Alibaba, SARS convinced millions of people, afraid to go outside, to try shopping online instead…”


The traditional model was destroyed. Millions of people were forced to stay inside. Companies were forced to improvise a completely “new normal”—sound familiar?


The last pandemic showed the world that eCommerce was actually effective and not scary, dangerous, or “useless.”


Could eLearning be the next example?


eLearning: Where do we go from here?


The greatest challenges to eLearning before COVID-19 were infrastructure and acceptance.


Both of those are no longer an issue. Distance learning, online degrees, self-study—these could be the “new normal.”


Trillions in student debt, overburdened school districts, schools bursting at the seams, outdated teaching methods—today’s education system is as outdated as it is inefficient.


Could COVID-19 be the catalyst eLearning needs to become the new normal? We think it is!


And we know just the tool to help…


Soda PDF: Built for eLearning


We don’t mean to brag, but Soda PDF was basically built for eLearning.


Think about the benefits of secure, markupable, shareable documents for teachers, students, schools, and parents.


  1. Security: Never worry about students’ or parents’ data being compromised or student work falling into the wrong hands. Password permissions ensure nobody sees anything unless authorized. And once an essay or worksheet is turned to PDF, nobody can make any changes.
  2. Environmentally-Friendly: Imagine the benefits of a 100% paperless education system. No notebooks, tests, worksheets, or forms needed (on paper at least).
  3. Great for Students: Imagine an infinite notebook that’s instantly searchable and accessible anywhere at the click of a button. Oh, and you can share it with anyone at any time. PDF is awesome!


PDF makes eLearning easier, more secure, and more convenient for everyone, especially when it comes to sensitive data. If eLearning is the future, PDF will be there to help!


So teachers, if you’re still merging documents together with a stapler, or still using an actual highlighter or whiteout to annotate or redact from your files, you should know you can do all this easier than ever.


With Soda PDF, you can edit, merge, create, convert, split, annotate and even E-Sign your documents from just about anywhere! Our easy-to-use PDF tools are perfect for both students and teachers alike because our software solution is available online or offline.


Get a taste for Soda PDF today with a FREE download of our desktop app or try our services directly within your web browser.


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