The Future of Education: Cloud based classrooms

Driving a revolution in remote and flexible learning


The Future of Education: Cloud based classrooms

The appeal of distance learning

As the global landscape of work changes, the demand for a highly educated workforce continues to grow. The Middle East represents particularly fertile ground for building the workforce of the future, with people under 25 constituting nearly half of the population, according to a 2017 World Economic Forum study – a cohort that is expected to grow by over 25% by 2030.

It raises an important question: how can traditional, brick-and-mortar universities meet the educational needs of this segment, many of whom will be of prime working age by 2030? Many schools in the region will struggle to cope with increasing enrolment levels – including demand from companies whose employees need to continue their professional development.

Distance learning seeks to solve this problem. The appeal of online higher education courses is particularly strong, because it allows universities to reach a community of learners who need the accessibility and flexibility they provide. In the Middle East, where countries are gradually shifting from traditional industries such as oil and gas to an information-based economy, it also provides students with much needed access to future-ready qualifications in areas such as STEM, ICT and business.

Why is online Education The way of the feature?

Why cloud?

You’ll increasingly hear the cloud being mentioned in relation to remote learning – and with good reason. Online education has the most value when it can be accessed from any location and device. By moving data and programs from local servers to the internet, the cloud facilitates this portability. 

Along with unrivalled accessibility, the cloud offers superior data security. Student data is stored in secure facilities, and protected by strong passwords, data encryption and anti-malware systems. These features are key to attracting international students and managing their needs. For universities, cloud computing eliminates the needs to purchase specialised servers or software, while offering a solution that scales much more flexibly to students’ needs – saving both time and money.

The global market for virtual classroom technology is expected to surge from USD 9.3 billion in 2018 to USD 19.6 billion by 2023, according to a 2019 Research and Markets study. Cloud based classrooms will have the highest CAGR, reflecting the many compelling benefits of its deployment model – accessibility, security, quick deployment, customizability, automatic upgrading of course materials, and more.

Why cloud?

Live and self-paced teaching

Cloud based classrooms can take many forms. Webinars (or webcasts) use internet-based videoconferencing software to connect the instructor to a global web-based audience in real time. Students can interact with teachers, and one another, using live chat. As well as helping to simulate the experience of a physical classroom, it gives students the chance to have their questions answered directly by the teacher. In the future, increased adoption of VR and AR will permit even more realism and meaningful interaction.

Alternatively, online courses provide students with prepared audio-visual presentations, documents and quizzes. They can access course content at their convenience, without having to log on at a specific time of day. A great example is Google Analytics Academy, which includes several hours of web-based instruction, culminating in an online exam and official certification. For businesses, this gives employees access to the tools they need to further their education, with minimal interruption to their work duties.

 Live and self-paced teaching

Intelligent document management

Even when educational content is delivered in digital format via the cloud, there will be times when students want hard copies for purposes such as easy reading, annotation, form-filling, and archival. Canon’s on demand document production system is the ideal solution, offering a wide variety of professional-grade print options, along with cloud-based digital document workflow management that automates every step of the print room process.

For paper-to-digital, Avantech Scan2x has you covered with a document scanning software solution that works from any applicable Canon device. Advanced zonal Optical Character Recognition (OCR) allows easy exam sheet scanning and questionnaire interpretation, reducing the errors and drudgery of paperwork. Using uniFLOW’s predefined workflows, scanned documents and images can be easily sent to email accounts, network folders, SharePoint, cloud-based storage systems, and more.

There can be no doubt that cloud-based classrooms will play a huge role in the future of education. For example, top international universities such as the Edinburgh Business School in Dubai offer a fully online version of their executive MBA course. Students studying these courses can begin, defer and end their degrees when it suits them, giving them access to qualifications they may not have been able to access previously.

As cloud-based learning technology continues to develop, we can expect to see more people in the Middle East, and the world, gain the professional skills they need to succeed in both work and life.

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