Market of E-learning in China can be divided into three sectors: online degree education, enterprise E-learning, language training and professional training for certificates. The scale of China`s E-learning market has experienced a steady growth since 2004 with an approximate average growth rate of 20%. The potentials of China`s overall training market will create 300 billion RMB ($48.3 billion) in the future, a large part of which is raised by E-learning.
Online degree education is booming
From 2004 to 2012, online degree education has quadrupled. In 2012, the overall market revenue reached 64.6 billion RMB ($10.4 billion approximately) and there were 1095 thousand new registers professional E-training courses and 1270 thousand new students for university E-learning courses. Online professional trainings and language trainings also maintain a stable rate of increase. Early in 2004, the Chinese urban residents` average expense on education was 1012 RMB ($163), which took 7.4% as well as the highest share of family spending. This figure increased to 2563 RMB ($413) in 2013.
For online higher education, students should take exams to get the degree certificate. Many universities including Peking University and Tsing Hua University give this kind of courses to educate Chinese population. As for occupational technical training, it contains both training for professional certificates and enterprise E-learning.
Chinese Perspective over E-learning
According to the supply side, online training helps to solve the problem of time and space limitations. With online training videos, institutions can earn more money without renting more classrooms and employing qualified teachers.
For most Chinese people, E-learning in China today is equal to E-training. For example, in an enterprise, it means that employees are trained by computers instead of just listening to HR`s instructions and senior colleagues` advices. However, in the future, E-learning could be a symbol of an enterprise which has the spirit of continuous improvement throughout its commercial life. Now China`s GDP growth is maintained within a stable rate of 7.7% to 9.3%. Favorable economic prospect indicates the commercial and technological vitality of the country. It calls for future needs in term of E-learning from institutions willing to extend their staff knowledge or from open-mind intellectuals with good understanding.
Overseas E-learning business players in China have great development opportunities.
Apart from domestic E-learning course providers, foreign educators and E-learning platform builders has also made some successful attempts in China`s market and they keep working on this project. After Skillsoft has been introduced to China, more effective way of knowledge delivery and innovative design of tailored courses are arising new revolution especially in enterprise E-learning sector.
At the same time, MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), a comprehensive platform for Coursera, edX and Udacity and other courses given by top USA universities, emerged in China. They also make cooperation with Chinese top universities, mostly in Beijing. A large amount of university students and white collars are attracted by MOOC courses because they are strongly motivated by the desire for special knowledge which is a prerequisite to secure their social status in the future. Although MOOC`s target is not for professional tests, they could cooperate with foreign companies in China and head-hunters and offer training and database for recruiting respectively. The trend for E-learning is to establish education for all throughout one`s lifetime, so that everyone can learn with no limitations on time, space and money.
E-training is crucial for modernization of China
As for the macro-environment, the government regard E-learning in China as a crucial tool for the realization of modernization of Chinese society. Every year Ministry of Finance of People`s Republic of China subsidizes small to medium-sized enterprises and universities to apply E-training with several million RMB. This helps increase awareness of the benefits of online education. Also, with the implementation of relevant regulations and governmental surveillance, E-learning market is regulated to operate legally and in good order. This encourages hesitating learners to try E-learning methods. Moreover, with the development of cloud technology and many online platforms offering new course design, the prospect of E-learning in China is positively much brighter.
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