The online education market is growing rapidly, making the digital form of education big news for Australian businesses.
Research by IbisWorld shows the online education sector growing at an annual rate of 14.4 percent, citing the need to upgrade skills for both employees and owner-managers as a reason for the continuing popularity of online learning.
What are the advantages of online learning both for new hires and existing employees, and how can Australian companies make the most of online education?
Companies Down Under Opting for Online Learning
Time was when the best graduates and brightest minds in any given field weren't available to employers until after graduation. After graduation, students joined the workforce with a lot of ideas, but not much in the way of practical experience.
Online education is changing that by offering much more flexibility not only to students but to the businesses that employ them.
Australian businesses can find high-caliber employees who have used online learning to study while employed, combining the best of both worlds in terms of academic prowess and experience in their field.
Online education offers employees the chance to engage with lifelong learning, constantly updating their skills and knowledge, which can only be good news for the businesses that employ them.
Offering distance education to employees is also a strong selling point for employers who want to show commitment to staff development and well-being.
Online Education and Job Hunting
There was a time when job hunters might have worried that employers wouldn't see an online education in as favorable a light as a more traditional university education, but times have changed.
According to a report by CNN, 83 percent of executives surveyed considered an online education to be as valid as a more traditional education.
When it comes to online education, employers are looking for an accredited qualification from a reputable establishment and a strong demonstration of the course of achievement and the kind of skills used in order to be successful in that course of study.
Online education shows employers that their candidates have initiative, can work well under their own steam and are technologically savvy – all strong skills no matter what industry their business is in.
Online Education for Existing Employees
Online education is also a valuable tool for employers who want to make the most of their existing workforce.
Offering online education shows interest in their employees' ongoing professional development by helping to build company loyalty.
Online education also offers employers the advantage of a stronger and more highly skilled workforce, as their employees meet the challenge of online learning and acquire knowledge and skills that are useful in their job.
The flexible nature of online education means employers can reap the benefits without lost time or productivity. Employees can study flexibly around their working hours and apply their newfound knowledge on the job as they learn.
How Businesses Can Make the Most of Online Education
For businesses who want to make the most of online education, it's important to plan how education will be delivered.
As stated in "The Ethics of Online Learning", making time to study is important, and employers who want their employees to succeed with online education should take a hands-on approach in supporting their employees to fit their education around their work.
Businesses will also benefit from taking the time to research different establishments and online education options to find courses that best fit their objectives for their employees. The way forward is choosing courses which directly benefit the business while offering value to the employee.
Online education is growing in popularity and becoming a serious alternative to traditional education. This is good news all round for employees in Australia who want to keep earning while they learn, and employers looking to make the most of their team.
About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including social media, SEO, online education and Australian business.