The Rise of the Online Courses Industry amid COVID-19

Students from all levels have been getting used to remote learning. This is in response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been quite an uphill battle for them and their teachers. But they’re managing and finding ways to cope better with this new normal.

But it’s not just them who are experiencing remote learning. Professionals of all ages are also participating in online courses. It’s their way of learning more about their interests and passions. Perhaps they saw Hans Zimmer introduce his course on composing music in a trailer for Masterclass. And that encouraged them to start taking piano lessons online to pursue their love for playing music.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have been popular even before the pandemic started. But researchers found a rise in online course subscribers in the last few months. No one can deny, though, that adults riddled with curiosity are behind this growth.

What Are MOOCs

MOOCs are remote-learning courses that are set up by universities and companies. Most people around the world have access to it. As enrollees, they may be among the thousands of students learning about one course.

The MOOC industry has been on rapid growth in the last few months. In 2019, experts predicted that this industry would be worth $300 billion by 2025. But the pandemic accelerated this growth. It resulted in a 221 percent rise in new courses available to interested people.

The most popular category in MOOC is the arts and entertainment. Researchers reported a whopping 2,108 percent rise in new classes. They taught a broad range of topics, from marketing and graphic design to acting and dancing.

The next category that experienced high growth is education. It rose up to 881 percent. More platforms offered more courses that are academic in nature. It ranged from literature to economics.

The third category that experienced high growth is health and fitness. It grew by 543 percent. And it offered more courses on yoga, mindfulness meditation, nutrition, and the like.

The pandemic changed the way people spent their downtime. These are the reasons why they chose to spend their leisure time by enrolling in MOOCs.

The Need for Escapism

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a storm of challenges. They went beyond people’s health. Companies struggled to keep their businesses afloat. As a result, many of them got laid off and lost their livelihoods. Because of the need to stop the spread of the virus, people practiced social distancing. They had to stop seeing their friends and families. The travel restrictions also kept people from pursuing their desire for adventure.

They longed for something to keep them occupied and motivated. This is why they turned to MOOCs. Learning about something is always a productive way of spending their time.

woman taking an online course

The Accessibility of MOOCs

Educational institutions tend to leave students hunching underneath the weight of student loans. But MOOCs don’t do that. Most of them are free to be accessed by anyone. Some of them have registration fees. But these fees are much, much cheaper than tuition fees in universities.

In fact, some popular MOOC platforms offered affordable deals in response to COVID-19. MasterClass, for one, offered a year-long subscription for only $1 for one day on September 17. This is much more affordable than their usual $180 fee for one year. Skillshare also offered a deal to help students cope with the changes. They get to enjoy two months of premium membership for free.

The Opportunity to Expand Skills

Many jobs were affected by the pandemic. This is why many people started reconsidering their career paths. They began looking into jobs that work best with a work-from-home setup. Graphic design is one of the most popular jobs fit for that. Freelance writing is also another example.

But these jobs require skills that aren’t easily attained. So people worked on training these skills by taking online courses. There is a growing need to expand skills in digital technology. This prompted them to learn how to use the different software in the Adobe Creative Cloud. There is a wide range of opportunities with writing. This encouraged them to learn about the different writing types that fit with marketing, research, and whatnot.

MOOCs are all about allowing people of all ages to study a subject of their choice in the comforts of their home whenever they want. Unlike established educational institutions, everyone is welcome to enroll. Their educational attainment and qualifications don’t affect their chances of getting into classes. It’s deeply rooted in people’s passion for learning about subjects that they love.

So, really, it’s no surprise that the MOOC industry has been on rapid growth in the last few months.

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