As a response to the COVID-19 crisis, many countries around the world closed educational institutions to prevent the spread of the virus. According to data from UNESCO, the peak in school closures was registered at the beginning of April 2020, when around 1.6 billion learners were affected across 194 countries, accounting for more than 90% of total enrolled learners. The sudden closure of public spaces meant that many have adopted online teaching (and learning) on an unprecedented scale. Some shifted to online classrooms when already enrolled to educational institutions but many decided to take online classes to keep busy during the lockdown.
Increased enrollment on e-learning platforms
The ongoing COVID‑19 crisis has seen a substantial increase in online learning by adults. Much of the training that was originally planned for the classroom is now being delivered online. Furthermore, individuals are being encouraged to use the time freed up by short-time work schemes to train online from home and acquire new skills deemed useful in the aftermath of a health emergency. Although it is too soon for a full assessment, early data and anecdotal evidence suggest a sizeable increase in online learning. In the Flemish Region of Belgium, the number of participants in online training provided by the Public Employment Service (VDAB) in the second half of March 2020 was four times as high as in the same period last year. Enrollment at Coursera – an online platform that offers MOOCs, has skyrocketed and was 640% higher from mid-March to mid-April than during the same period last year, growing from 1.6 to 10.3 million.
Main pros and cons of online upskilling
Many consider online education as more accessible and comfortable, which would be one of the main cons of online learning. A recent article in the New York Times by an incoming high school freshman in New York City praised online learning due to it offering “more time on subjects that require greater effort and study.” However, it only is this accessible to those who have access to the internet and required technology. According to the National Center of Education Statistics (NCES), 14% of younger students do not have access to the Internet at home, roughly equating to 9 million students.
A huge advantage of online courses is not only their accessibility but also their affordability. While most traditional on-campus programs can range from $22,000 to $50,000 yearly, virtual opportunities can cut those costs in half. An added boon on virtual learning is the flexibility of studying remotely, a talent that poises many students to be uniquely prepared for a professional marketplace where remote options are commonplace. As the coronavirus pandemic pushes students to alternative education routes, online learning provides the benefit of easing the financial burden of traditional college.
PitchMe’s role in online upskilling
PitchMe is a skill-based job search platform. When creating a profile on the site, our clever AI technology extracts your skills from your current online presence. Given a list and chart of your hard and soft skills, we can match you with job adverts that require your exact qualifications!
It also allows our technology to match you with relevant upskilling courses to make you even more employable. At PitchMe, we wanted to contribute to making upskilling more accessible and affordable so all the courses can be accessed directly on our platform and completely free of charge. In fact, all our services are free of charge – registration, skill assessment, applying for jobs and upskilling.
The SmartMe profile shows you where you’re heading, not just where you’ve been (like employment history on your CV). We recommend education courses to fill up your skill gaps. Find opportunities to broaden your knowledge or to change your career! On our platform, we offer almost 100 different courses. Depending on your experience, we will match you with one of them. You can see the course suggestions on the right of your dashboard, right under your profile score graph.
What courses can you do on our platform?
Register on PitchMe and apply for jobs or upskill!
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