- 73% more likely to consider online courses as a result of COVID-19
- 44% considering enrolling on professional training in the next 3 months
- 43% said they would consider attending an online open day.
Even though Ireland is in the midst of a lockdown, it doesn’t mean individuals are setting aside personal or career goals, according to a survey submitted to over 25,000 users of leading Irish database Nightcourses.com; the survey has revealed a large increase in interest in online courses and training as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
73% of those surveyed say they are more likely to consider online courses and distance learning, with a further 18% indicating that they may consider such options – an increase of 36% to those who’ve availed of remote training options in the past.
Maintaining a Work / Life Balance
Across the country, people are changing the way they work, parent and interact socially, and the Internet has had a major role to play in that transition. Most people that were questioned for the study – a whopping 51%, in fact – agreed that online or distance learning programmes can offer the same quality content as on-campus programmes.
One busy worker added: “It’s more beneficial to me as I work for HSE and can’t find much of my personal time to myself. Online courses allow me to switch in and out with easy access, no travel and high quality learning.”
However, there is some way to go before all facets of training move online, as 50% of respondents felt that online / distance learning programmes aren’t practical in their chosen field. As one learner commented: “The course I want to take is dressmaking, which is very hands on. You need to be there for fittings.”
Plus, with schools closed, many people are struggling to balance working at home and managing a family. One parent observed how their lives have changed drastically: “My kids are at home 24/7 and it’s hard trying to fit time in for myself.”
Many People Facing Fears and Obstacles
With the COVID-19 crisis continuing and no end in sight, the issue of concentration and lack of personal motivation came up a number of times among respondents.
One concerned individual commented: “People might find it hard to concentrate if they are worried about COVID-19,” while another added: “The anxiety of this pandemic has caused a definite drop in motivation to actually work. I know I am not the only one feeling this way.”
A few people reported having problems with connectivity, and despite government efforts, some didn’t have access to broadband in their area. Yet, the main obstacle for everyone questioned on the survey was fiscal.
A number of respondents reported having lost their jobs, and many others feared for their future income. “I’m worried about the uncertainty of my employment. It would affect my ability to pay for a postgrad course if I lost my job,” commented one, while another added: “Price is an issue as my husband was let go. We are looking after the pennies but still want to develop further.”
A Call for Online Training & Virtual Events
Course providers, it’s an ideal time to move your training online. In total, 73% of respondents to the survey say they are now more likely to consider online courses and distance learning, while 18% are open to the idea and are ready to be convinced.
Many of these potential students are already familiar with the format of studying remotely, too; of those interested in booking onto courses, 41% have already enrolled on an online or distance learning course, while 30% have also taken a blended course in the past.
In addition, 69% said they’d be interested in attending a virtual (online) courses fair, showcasing colleges and course providers that are providing courses, while 43% said they would consider attending an online open day.
Focusing on Career Goals
People are using this downtime in very different ways. 44% of those questioned were planning to take an professional online course, while 63% said that if a training provider moves their programmes online, they would be encouraged to book onto a course over the next 3 months.
Of those surveyed, 42% have booked courses recently, 59% of people were considering undertaking professional training for their career, 17% were thinking of taking a postgraduate course, 17% wished to improve their soft skills, and 21% wanted to brush up on their technical skills – perhaps mastering the intricacies of Excel. “I would like to focus on upskilling myself and get ready for the market when it opens up,” added one respondent.
New Online Training Portal Launched
This survey was submitted by Careers Unlimited to 25,000 users and followers of Nightcourses.com and Courses.ie ahead of the company’s launch of online portal, OnlineCampus.ie.
This new website is a comprehensive database of online, distance learning and home study options offered by Irish colleges and course providers and lists a range of programmes from hobbyist to postgraduate level.
If you’re looking to find a training option to suit you, click here, or if you would like to find out how to feature your courses on the portal contact firstname.lastname@example.org.