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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Technology allowing education outside of brick and mortar institutions

Education as a concept and as an activity has changed vastly in the last couple of years. With the help of technology, much like everything else, education has also started to transform. Moreover, the importance of constant education is now becoming a topic of global awareness. More and more influencers are speaking out about the decreased need for traditional education. There has always been an emphasis on getting a “degree” as a form of demonstrating the manner one’s intelligence and capabilities. However, in the recent times, there has been a larger focus on individuals starting and building their own empires without a traditional form of education. Thanks to all the resources available online, even companies are starting to be more flexible in the requirements of employment. Overall, the whole world is starting to accept new forms of education and supporting the idea of self-taught learning. The emphasis on utilizing the resources available online is growing rapidly and the advantages of learning something new daily has become a trend. There are a lot of ways in which the internet can be a more affordable means of education and to integrate it into the everyday life.

Firstly, it is necessary to understand the reason due to which many people are choosing different means of education and how the market is growing. Although the reasons vary depending on each person there are a few that are commonly found. For instance, a lot of the times formal education is too expensive for certain students from minority backgrounds. This is obviously when we speak of higher education, which in most parts of the world costs a fortune. A lot of students don’t have the socioeconomic backgrounds to withstand formal education. So even though they can enroll in a for-profit university, a lot of the times they do not end up finishing their college degrees. This is clearly because higher education requires more than just college tuition; it requires support, living situations, mental health, financial stability and responsibility in the household are all factors that contribute to fulfilling a formal education. As visible there is a major urge for better higher education, including the need for higher flexibility, lower costs, time availability and more. Online education is definitely helping heal this gap in education and push more students to pursue the careers they want rather than falling into a cycle of poverty due to where they were born.

Opportunities have increased due to technology and so have the ways to get an education. Now, education is far beyond the typical bachelor’s degrees, there are online trainings, certificates, associate degrees and even just education without the degree for those who are looking to increase skill for minimal money. Even companies and universities are increasingly forming MOUs (Memorandum of Understanding) which help recognize the online certificates. The international validity of online education is constantly increasing as organizations start to diversify their search for candidates and be inclusive of those without a traditional degree. A lot of entrepreneurs benefit from the availability of online resources as well, as they can learn a lot about business without spending thousands on a business degree. Even Ivy Leagues have started offering smaller certificate courses online, distant education as well as online education. Some websites with a large network of universities and courses are EdX, Coursera, Udacity, and Open University. If someone has no time available to go to the actual college or supports oneself with a full-time job yet wants to get a bachelor’s online that is also a possibility. Some websites offer extremely focused courses such as Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care, or Global Financial Development. Overall, there is something out there for everyone who is willing to get an education. 

It is important to note that learning is not limited to courses, diplomas or certificates. However, these can be beneficial in looking for jobs and further studies. For people who just want to learn something new and brush up on their knowledge, or even just acquire new skills there is a vast variety of places to look. Taking an example of entrepreneurs, there is a vast network of other more successful entrepreneurs who want to share their expertise. Neil Patel is a big name when it comes to teaching marketing to a large audience, and he does it completely free of cost, moreover, his team is extremely responsive to emails and is constantly looking to help their audience. Gary Vee is another big name in providing online education, mainly through his interviews and podcasts. One can also find particular groups or niches that fit them, for instance, Bossbabe Inc came up with The Société, a platform for female entrepreneurs to meet and greet but also filled with resources in order to grow one’s business. Overall, the internet is filled with people that want to help people out as well as platforms looking to connect the audience with appropriate skills that can be acquired. Technology has definitely taken the turn on education and made it easier for people to learn something new every single day. 

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