Online education is no longer a new trend, and at this point, it has established a solid place for itself in the educational system. Many people are now able to benefit from advanced training courses without having to travel extensive distances just to attend their classes. And after the pandemic hit, even more students were given an opportunity to take advantage of this style of learning.
It shouldn’t be surprising that online education is playing a major role in transforming our current workforce. The landscape already looks quite different, and there are various indicators that things will keep changing too. Some fields are taking longer to adapt to these changes, but in the end, it’s clear that online education is not just a passing trend anymore, and it’s here to stay. Let’s take a look at some of the effects it’s had on the job market already, and what might happen in the near future.
People Have a Better Understanding of Their Options
Thanks to online education, people are more capable than ever to understand the range of options available to them, and making the right choice that’s truly relevant to their interests, qualifications, and future aspirations. This was already the case to some extent from the very beginning of the internet’s existence, but the pace really picked up after online education became commonplace.
You can see the results all around you – instead of feeling confined to a single path, many people of all ages and walks of life are now more actively exploring their options and considering things that they might have completely ignored before.
Easier to Mix Skills from Different Fields
Various fields have shown a great potential for synergy – like for example healthcare and technology – and this has also impacted the way people are approaching their education, and subsequently their presence in the workforce. It’s becoming increasingly common for people to mix skills from multiple different fields and apply them in new ways. And modern educational courses are starting to reflect that too. We’re now seeing various attempts at hybrid degrees that provide a good balance between two (or even more) fields that were traditionally not seen as having any connection.
Long-time Employees Are More Willing to Consider a Career Change
Another positive effect is the fact that more employees are now open to the idea of jumping careers, and this number is rising. It used to be quite rare to see someone jumping to a new field after a couple of decades in their current one. But now, the various barriers that used to lie in that path are more or less gone. And with the increased availability of quality training courses and educational material, we’re likely going to keep seeing that.
This is certainly a great thing because the problem of people feeling stuck in their careers doesn’t get enough attention right now. It’s good to see more open discussions about this, especially when we see people being given the chance to shed the stigma associated with changing their entire line of work.
Online Education Sometimes Surpasses In-Person Classes in Quality
A major argument against online education used to be that it could never reach the same level of quality as traditional, in-person courses. However, that idea is quickly fading into obscurity. Many online universities are now able to offer entire degree courses that are just as good as their in-person counterparts. And in some cases, even better.
Take Baylor University’s distance ASBN program for a good recent example. The institution has clearly put a lot of effort into developing a program that allows students to make the most of their time, including by leveraging the fact that they are studying remotely. And we’re likely going to see even more of those examples not too long from now.
Employees Have More Leverage
The overall situation is great for the average employee too. Employers are starting to realize that the facts have tipped against their favor when it comes to negotiations. With the numerous options that online education opens to most people, many have started to develop their skills on their own time and using them to look for new, better opportunities.
At the same time, remote work is starting to become commonplace in some sectors as well. This has given even more leverage to workers, as they can now often negotiate based on a much larger number of offers. And remote work itself is often part of the negotiation package.
Some companies have switched to a completely remote model, simply because their employees refused to go back to the old way of doing things.
Easier to Run a Side Gig
Another trend that has been noticeable in the last few years is that more people are looking into the idea of starting their own side gigs to supplement their income. This is not directly a product of online education itself. Rather, it’s a side effect of giving students and workers more free time. Some have decided to take it easy and use that extra time to relax, but others are actively exploring their additional options and looking for ways to improve their bottom line.
If you’re the entrepreneurial type, there’s hardly a better time to start something than now. It doesn’t take too many resources in most cases, and it can eventually evolve into a stable source of income – perhaps even your primary one if you play your cards right. But even knowing that you have an additional source of income can often improve the situation of the average person in the workforce.
It’s important to take a serious look around yourself, and figure out how you can take advantage of those changes. Even if you believe you’re comfortable enough in your current position, it can’t hurt to look into new options. You never know what might be right around the corner without you even suspecting it.
Things are also likely going to get even better in this regard. If you’re excited about exploring new opportunities for your career development, you’re certainly in the right period of time for that.