Technavio (www.technavio.com) analysts forecast the global cloud-based virtual learning platform market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of over 25% through 2020. highlight the following four factors that are contributing to the growth of the global cloud-based virtual learning platform market:
° Innovation in cloud computing;
° Performance improvement of users;
° Emphasis on provision of continuous support;
° Reduction in operating cost
According to Jhansi Mary, a lead analyst at Technavio for education technology research, “Technology innovations in cloud computing have strengthened the accessibility of content and functioning of software and tools.” For instance, evolution in data centers in the last few years has enabled them to offer computing facilities to enhance data processing and storage. They offer high-performance servers, networking equipment, storage arrays, and supporting services such as powering and cooling solutions. Data center facilities effectively cater to the demands of excessive use of the cloud for surfing, video streaming, collaboration, and connected devices in the education sector.
Moreover, adoption of virtualization techniques offers cost-effectiveness. Server and desktop virtualization helps schools and colleges improve scalability and reduce their total costs while expanding their services or offerings. It also protects from cyber-attacks, reduces the expenditure on hardware maintenance, and improves utilization of existing resources.
Virtual learning platform applications help customers create, store, and manage content efficiently based on course requirements. Many educational institutions are using these tools to manage their online courses. This application helps to effectively deliver content online, manage student records, attendance sheets, classroom schedules, and scorecards.
Virtual learning platforms on cloud are updated automatically, and they enable smooth functioning on client machines with few performance problems. Further, vendors frequently update their solutions by introducing useful features, which also attract more customers. New modules can be added to cater to the evolving demands of customers from the education industry.
Vendors are developing virtual learning software, which offers advanced reporting, real-time integration, and customization, in sync with the needs of stakeholders in the education sector. Vendors work closely with universities and schools to provide them with customized solutions that best fit their needs.
Deployment of cloud-based solutions, benefits educators with cost efficiency and offers learners the benefit of flexible access to learning programs. The use of digital tools is allowing institutions to allow continuous learning support to students.
Teachers are able to create better content resources for students through content management; prepare online tests for students; assess tests, homework, and projects undertaken by students; and send feedback and communicate with students through online forums. In addition, cloud-based virtual platforms are also beneficial to students who cannot attend regular classroom sessions due to high costs structure or scheduling conflicts.
“The cloud-based virtual learning portals enable students to stay connected to their teachers through a virtual medium,” says Mary.
Cloud-based virtual systems significantly reduce the degree of infrastructure that needs to be maintained. In order to run these virtual learning applications users don’t need to have high-end configured computers. Applications can be easily run from the cloud through mobile phones, PCs, and tablets with minimum configuration and Internet connectivity.
As the data is centralized, created, and accessed in the cloud, the respective users do not need to spend money for alternative or external data storage, which reduces the costs involved in implementing this technology. For instance, universities such as Arizona State University offer additional storage facilities in the cloud to help their students run tools such as Hadoop and SAS, which require 8-16 GB of RAM for smooth functioning.