What You Need to Know About the Growing Interest in Online Courses

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It’s easy to understand why. With online courses, users can do everything from studying for the CPA exam to learning how to draw Mickey Mouse like a pro.

However, in recent months, interest in online courses appears to have risen sharply.

As is the case with many relatively sudden and unexpected trends that began in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic may explain this development.

The pandemic made going to physical classes impossible for many. It also left a large portion of the world’s population spending much more time indoors and at home than usual.

This naturally explains why people may have turned to online courses during the pandemic. True, some students were required to take online courses, but those were simply online versions of courses that they would normally take in person. Some experts predict that as schools reopen, interest in online courses (including optional courses) related to core K-12 subjects will lessen.

However, those aren’t the only types of online classes that began attracting a much larger audience last year. For example, during the pandemic, record numbers of users signed up for services like LinkedIn Learning. The courses offered on such platforms don’t necessarily prepare students to perform well in their high school English class. They serve to help individuals develop professional skills and knowledge they could apply to further their careers.

Research also indicates many others began taking online courses that helped them develop new skills that could be applied more to hobbies than their professional lives. Being trapped inside left millions looking for ways to occupy their free time. Taking online courses has appeared to be an appealing option for a large number of quarantined people.

That’s not to say there aren’t some details indicating this trend may not be entirely as significant as it seems. For example, completion rates for online courses on academic or career-centric subjects appear to be substantially lower than completion rates for traditional classes. Additionally, completion rates for free courses related to hobbies are particularly low.

However, completion rates are higher when online courses offer tangible benefits. Jeff Maggioncalda, the chief executive of Coursera, has stated that completion rates for Coursera courses that award participants with actual diplomas tend to be high when compared to completion rates for courses that don’t offer any official certificates or diplomas. It’s also likely that completion rates for courses that can help students achieve specific clear goals, such as passing the CPA exam or scoring well on the LSAT, would also be relatively high.

It’s again not entirely clear the degree to which this trend will continue post-pandemic. Some predict the appeal of online classes will wear off and the popularity of these products will return to normal levels. Interest in online courses will continue to rise, but not at the rate it has in the past several months.

Others aren’t as skeptical. They believe online learning may remain massively popular. They recommend investing in companies that provide the tools that make online learning possible.

That doesn’t mean readers should go out and take that advice. It’s always important to be cautious when investing. However, those who believe this investment idea may be strong should continue watching the market’s growth accordingly.



Kristina Knight-1
Kristina Knight, Journalist , BA
Content Writer & Editor
Kristina Knight is a freelance writer with more than 15 years of experience writing on varied topics. Kristina’s focus for the past 10 years has been the small business, online marketing, and banking sectors, however, she keeps things interesting by writing about her experiences as an adoptive mom, parenting, and education issues. Kristina’s work has appeared with BizReport.com, NBC News, Soaps.com, DisasterNewsNetwork, and many more publications.