Will E-Learning Make Schools Unnecessary?


With a platform like Udemy, anybody with access to the Internet anywhere in the world can provide themselves with an education that will secure their prospects for the future. The importance of lifelong learning continues to increase, as digitalization is making the world of work increasingly faster-paced and more complex.


And this transformation is not without consequences. Many old careers will disappear through technological developments such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and biotechnology. This is a change that at first glance might seem melodramatic. But many new careers will also arise. According to estimates, in the future about 65% of today's elementary school students will work in careers that don't yet exist and that we cannot yet even imagine today. It is therefore more important than ever for employees to be open to new technologies and to lifelong learning in order to continually adapt their know-how to new challenges.


Udemy: On the path to revolutionizing learning


The online portal for e-learning, Udemy, is committed to the topic of learning. This young startup from Silicon Valley is not yet really known in Europe and Germany, but it is quite possible that Eren Bali, the creator of this e-learning platform, will soon be mentioned in the same breath as Mark Zuckerberg. Just like Zuckerberg revolutionized social communication on the Web with Facebook, Bali and his Udemy makers have turned the entire field of digital learning upside down.


Unbelievable: E-learning has already been in existence for 50 years 


It's hard to believe, but the idea of learning various things by electronic means is already more than 50 years old. The first wave of hype came in the 80s with the keyword "Computer Based Training" (CBT), and with the opening up of the Internet to ordinary people, there were repeated attempts to make courses available on the web. "e-learning" became a buzzword. Since then, there have been plenty of offerings scattered throughout the Web. But it was only after the arrival of Udemy in May 2010 that a platform existed on the market which enabled course providers and interested learners to meet. Before that time, e-learning was almost entirely proprietary, meaning it was dependent on a specific hardware and/or software platform, or was dependent upon specific data formats and their corresponding channels. The platform developed by Eren Bali, Oktay Caglar, and Gagan Biyani, on the other hand, provided a marketplace for interactive and multimedia courses that learners can complete at any time and anywhere using computers, tablets, or smartphones.


From E-Learning to Web Learning 


From the very beginning, Eren Bali relied upon independent course providers hence, people who wanted to teach something to other people could offer their content on the Udemy platform and earn money. With the right niche and activity, some have been able to earn a lot of money – there are already a few Udemy millionaires. Most of the more than 55,000 courses that are currently offered are paid courses. And rightly so: The quality of the courses is quite high, and the reactions of those who completed them overwhelmingly positive. Most of the current course offerings are related to career-oriented training and development. Through Udemy courses, students can study foreign languages, even exotic ones like Farsi or Swahili, learn accounting, or become acquainted with the classical methods of personal time management.There are however many more subjects beyond those that bring career success. There is also an extensive range of hobby courses, from music to cooking and everything imaginable. The German-language course "Play guitar like a pro" ("Gitarre spielen wie ein Profi"), with more than 2,000 participants, is a regular Udemy bestseller. In 38 lessons, students learn not only to play the instrument but also to master it. Even more successful is a course from the USA on drawing that turns every beginner into an artist in 28 lectures, and has already attracted 20,000 people to register for the course. Increasingly, even traditional school subjects are being offered in an increasing number of languages. These are used to supplement ordinary school instruction. But the teaching profession is also experiencing an upheaval: The teacher of the future will present his knowledge in a more skillful manner and will have to possess a high degree of technical knowledge. The presentation of content will be more project-oriented and will increasingly be provided through the use of digital solutions. Students will work through the materials more and more independently and also present their work. Educators will no longer need to obtain further education in all subjects and will also no longer need to prepare and provide materials on paper. Instead, there will be more freedom to meet the needs of students and tailor offerings to their individual deficits. 


Udemy sets standards and evaluates courses


To ensure high quality, Udemy has strict standards for course providers and evaluates the courses with a high proportion of video content are preferred, and purely text-based lessons are not desired. To set potential e-teachers up for maximum success, the platform gives course providers a range of tools, thus ensuring the desired high standards. With these tools, not only can videos uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo, Powerpoint presentations, and course materials be incorporated as PDF and ZIP files, but there can also be live transmissions of lesson units. The platform is at the center of all of this, since the marketplace for courses is only a part of the business model. In the future, Udemy will increasingly direct their attention to companies that want to redesign their internal training and professional development programs to include e-learning, or want to optimize their existing programs. The courses developed in this manner could be published on the company's intranet and the platform can be hosted on company- internal servers. Udemy is also becoming increasingly more active in companywide professional development, primarily in the USA and Canada. The number of courses leading to recognized diplomas and certificates – particularly in technical subjects – is constantly growing. More and more accredited educational institutions and organizations are contributing their content and standardized testing. 


E-learning turned upside down


Udemy is already an exciting platform. More and more investors agree and are providing the startup from Silicon Valley with plenty of capital for improvement. This form of web learning has what it takes to change the fundamental principles of school and continuing education, providing people primarily in poorer countries and places with a lack of infrastructure with access to the important resource of education.