This guide outlines how cloud computing is improving online learning, and why it is so beneficial.
Over the years, the education industry has evolved a lot. We have gone from a rigid teaching, through printed books and physical classrooms, to dynamic learning, which takes place on mobile devices and computers. Today, education is like its new students: always connected, whether in or out of school.
Technology has allowed learning to reach new levels. Through it, students and teachers can extend teaching outside the physical boundaries of the school. And it’s cloud computing that makes it all possible.
To understand how the cloud can impact education, you first need to understand what it is. For those who still have doubts, the cloud is a technology that shifts the focus from hardware and data centers to virtual resources. This is accomplished through a vast network of remote servers spread across the world, which provide the resources on demand over the internet.
The cloud means that educational organizations like schools, colleges and universities no longer need to buy, own and maintain their own servers and data centers. Instead, they can leverage technology resources over the internet and consume them as needed.
But what makes this so innovative for educational institutions? Let’s take a look at the impacts the cloud has had on education next.
Online learning after the pandemic
Education in a virtual environment rather than the good old classroom was a mainstay during the global lockdown. According to the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted education in over 150 countries, putting the future of many students at risk.
As of 2021, UNESCO revealed that over 170 million students in 18 countries were still out of school while others experienced a wide range of distractions. Experts predict more long-term effects, but many educational stakeholders see the cloud as a great place and the easiest way to restore normalcy in the global educational sector.
How the cloud improves online learning
Here are just a few of the reasons why the cloud is important for online learning.
Virtual teaching environments
Starting with the basics: Cloud software is what makes virtual classrooms and online learning possible. It connects teachers and students through a single, integrated platform. This allows you to dramatically reduce infrastructure costs (both the physical location of the institution and the IT infrastructure).
At the same time, virtual classrooms expand the reach of the school and teachers, eliminating the old geographical barriers to teaching. Even tests and exams can be carried out remotely, in addition to several other activities that gain a new face and bring new benefits in the virtual world.
It offers improved access to educational materials.
Education has always had an access problem. About 59 million children of primary-school age are without any education. A huge part of this alarming statistic is related to disparities along geographical lines. Traditionally, children in these areas have little control over their situations. Luckily, the cloud is turning the story around. Students can get easy access to educational materials as mobile and internet proliferation rates rapidly increase worldwide.
More cloud innovations like iPaaS and SaaS continue to reduce the complexity of accessing online courses. Gartner research publications reveal how these Internet-of-Things (IoT) offerings are increasingly gaining ground in the digital world. You can check the iPaaS Gartner Magic Quadrant report to determine the organizations leading the innovation curve. Generally, these tools come with endless use-case benefits for students accessing all types of resources via the cloud.
It offers better collaboration and teamwork.
Subscribing to an online course platform goes beyond what you can learn at your own pace. The online community also matters to many online learners. Knowing this, the online course marketplace continually adds interactive elements to heighten the overall learning experience. Cloud-based learning favors an immersive experience with quizzes to test users’ in-depth understanding of what they learn. It also facilitates group participation from peers to ensure students benefit from the diverse ideas to grasp concepts better. The cloud is the best place to host unlimited students with online learning service providers offering personalized user interface solutions for seamless communication and material exchange.
It offers enhanced convenience.
Completing an academic program takes a lot of time and effort, and going back to school as a professional with little time and space can double the stress. Luckily, four years of school can be modeled into a digital product via mobile apps you can access any time of the day. This level of convenience has made upskilling attractive for many professionals worldwide.
Globally, upskilling has become an efficient way for people to upgrade their professional services and increase their employability. According to the world bank economic forum, about a billion people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will need to upskill by 2025, and they can leverage the cloud while supporting themselves through work. The favorable deadline and scalability features are essential for such students.
It helps reduce expenses.
Online learning can be a better way for students to assess multiple pricing options for online degree programs that best fit their budgets. The cloud can also be the best option for education service providers to cut operation costs. Today, service providers can find a better way of hosting their sessions using an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud computing solution, and it doesn’t cost much money compared to building things from scratch.
This can free organizations from huge installation and maintenance costs. Migrating on-premises applications and legacy systems to the cloud also means fast, secure, on-demand, and reliable services. These platforms also come with custom options to scale up and down, depending on the organization’s unique needs.
Compliance and information security
Leading cloud providers operate world-class networks in state-of-the-art facilities around the world. They serve thousands of organizations in the education sector, which means they are likely to be able to meet any reliability, security or compliance requirements an institution may have.
Keeping sensitive data, such as student information or financial data, in the cloud rather than on a hard drive can prevent data from being compromised if a device is stolen or misplaced. Yet cloud providers are able to keep latency low and offer nearly unparalleled backup and disaster recovery.
All in all, cloud solutions can be a great choice for students to access different forms of education, knowing their strengths and weaknesses. Industry experts tip the e-learning platforms to engineer advanced features, making teaching and learning easier via webinars and other online.