One of the revolutionary aspects of the development of the internet has been in education. You may think of social media, the ability to search for jobs and houses, the easy access to worldwide news or the options for gaming as the main ways that the internet affects your life, but there are many other uses for the web.
The generally accepted ways of education for many decades has been through school, followed by college and/or university for those who wish to pursue further education. These are still the standard routes for many, especially in the developed world, but the growth of e-learning has opened up new vistas for millions who do not have access to the more traditional ways of following the educational path.
When you look more deeply into what the internet can offer in terms of online learning, you can start to understand why many of the great institutions now realise they can engage motivated and talented students through their online learning opportunities.
Democratisation of education
The internet is a great leveller. Despite its many problems, it has opened up education to people who might otherwise not have had the option to learn and pursue their dreams. Without a good education, it’s very hard to get a foot on a good career ladder. For many people, even in the developed world, the cost of going to college or university can be prohibitive. You either need rich parents or be prepared to take on massive loans that will dog you for many years after you graduate.
When you live in an emerging economy where access to education through school can be patchy or at times non-existent, you want opportunities outside of those traditional routes.
If, for example, you want to get a foot into the world of medicine, architecture or engineering, then a basic online course could set you on your way. Education is often thought of as for an elite, and universities such as Yale and Harvard may appear out of reach for most potential students. Yet these universities, along with hundreds of others globally, realise that there is an enormous amount of untapped potential and have put courses online to try to encourage students to engage. Free courses from these elite institutions are there to really boost educational standards in emerging economies.
Benefits of e-learning
You don’t necessarily need a degree to be successful in business, but you do need to know what you are doing. As an example, you can find information about Azmi Mikati on Bloomberg, an entrepreneur from the Middle East who has been a prime mover in developing trade links in the region and with Africa, as well as overseeing his M1 investment group, which has a global reach. The Middle East has impressive feats of engineering and architecture – think of Dubai and its towering buildings – and the opportunity to learn about these skills online can inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs.
The internet is now a key tool for opportunities to learn, and for those in emerging economies, it can make a major impact on life chances for the future.