Changing Shape of Education (Part I)

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Nikolay Zvezdin's picture

Replacement of Industrial by Online Education

Online education systems started developing in the past decade, however, they were only able to achieve significant growth in the past few years due to the technological advancements accomplished in the new century. From 2000 onwards, analysts have predicted the most radical technological changes in education since the appearance of national education systems. Unlike past developments they expect changes to be driven by the private sector, in particular, by the IT, finance, and healthcare companies.

In the past few years the global educational structure has already started a transformation that was imposed by major external factors, such as: IT & telecom development that changed the ways and speeds of knowledge transmission and processing; emergence of a new transnational education market, presented in the form of technology start-ups, public perception of education as an intangible investment asset, economic dynamics in developed countries that demand new types of competencies, and new forms of preparation. Further shifting values of society implying that the educational system obtains a new type of “human resource” to work with, on the one hand, presented by a growing number of students who no longer value education and so we see less motivation to learn (thus comes the need for gamification and other means that help retain students’ interest) on the other hand – a growing share of conscientious students who understand the importance of personal development, who are willing to set their own goals and are, therefore, reluctant to take “package deals” presented by the universities.

Due to the aforementioned factors, Global Education Futures expect significant changes in the educational system in the next twenty years that will transform the whole educational architecture (Figure 1. The New Education Landscape in Developed Countries).

Figure 1. The New Education Landscape in Developed Countries.

Today the major online education markets are located in developed countries with strong and advanced IT infrastructures – USA, Canada, UK, and EU countries. However, Ambient Insight shows that the biggest growth of the market is coming from the developing world: India (55% growth), China (over 50% growth) and Malaysia (over 40% growth). These are the fast growing countries that aim to compete with the developed world on educational arena, and increase the competitiveness of the local students by successfully rebuilding the educational models of industrialized countries locally (Figure 2. The Stages of Development in Education Systems).

Figure 2. The Stages of Development in Education Systems.

Due to the awareness of some governments about the changing reality of education, countries like the USA, EU countries, UK, Canada, Russia, and some others have already started actively supporting online education industry by subsidies, light tax regimes, and other methods stimulating the investments into this industry, which accelerates the transmission to the new educational system (Figure 3. Education in the Human Life Cycle: From Sprinting to Marathons).

Figure 3. Education in the Human Life Cycle: From Sprinting to Marathons.



  1. Ambient Insight. (01/2015). 2015 Learning Technology Research Taxonomy.
  2. Jeff Denneen (Bain & Company). (29/10/2014). Why many universities will fail in online education.
  3. The Boston Consulting Group. (02/10/2014). Online Education Has Reached the Mainstream 
  4. Global Education Futures. (2013). Global Education Futures Agenda. Retrieved from:

Figures' sources: 

Figure 1 – Global Education Futures. (2013). Global Education Futures Agenda (page 3);

Figure 2 – Global Education Futures. (2013). Global Education Futures Agenda (page 7);

Figure 3 – Global Education Futures. (2013). Global Education Futures Agenda (page 36).