Six reasons why e-learning is growing with Generation Z

While e-learning may never replace traditional learning, its low cost, flexibility and variety are increasingly appealing to would-be students, says Amanda Rosewarne

It is common knowledge that university lifestyle is costly, time-consuming and not suited to all students.

That said, the job market is becoming increasingly competitive and candidates can struggle to stand out from the plethora of applicants.

Younger generations are consistently seeking alternatives to university, options suiting both their needs and the requirements of employers.

In 2017, e-learning courses made more than $46 billion. Indeed, Forbes has estimated that, by 2025, e-learning will be worth over $325 billion.

Here are six key reasons as to why e-learning has become so popular.

1. Choice

Traditional university courses are notably restrictive with their choice of subjects. Although many new subjects have arisen, due to modern demand, course content can be somewhat tiresome.

Students are frequently having to make the decision to commit to a full three-year course, when only a few subject areas of the syllabuses are of interest.

The CPD Standards Office has created the Unique E-Learning League to showcase just how diverse subject matters can be.

Although these courses may seem frivolous at first glance, a closer look shows reveals cleverly packaged lessons to invoke the imagination of the learner.

Not only does this aid in catching the eye of even the least academic user, but also provides an amusing setting for learning desired skills.

E-learning allows the user to learn at their own pace, within an environment that works best for them.

2. Cost

Student fees have reached an extortionate high and are most likely to continue to rise. With many students gaining their degree with a substantial amount of debt and graduate jobs roles often not paying the most generous wage, Generation Z has come to realise university may not be good value for money.

E-learning prices start at less than £10, meaning financial commitment is significantly reduced.

3. Flexibility

Finding time for learning can be a struggle. Many people are unable to obtain the qualifications they desire due to work or family commitments.

E-learning allows the user to learn at their own pace, within an environment that works best for them.

There is no time limit on each course and, thanks to smartphones and tablets, they can be accessed almost anywhere.

The lessons can also be taken as often as the student wishes, allowing a quick refresh on forgotten content.

4. Engagement

A common misconception for some students is that they are not ‘academic’ and therefore unable to gain further qualifications.

Often, this is not true, and it is more the learning style of traditional classrooms that does not engage the student.

E-learning provides a modern solution to this. Studies have shown e-learning can increase the rate of retention by 8-10%.

Many courses also offer the option to Skype, message or even call tutors for advice and further questioning, eradicating the age-old issue of raising a hand within a lecture and risking embarrassment.

Courses offer lectures and instructional videos with high-quality production that keep the user engaged and offer a more comprehensive understanding of processes.

Related feature: Gen Y vs. Gen Z: who can benefit most from eLearning training programmes?

5. Employability

Each year, more graduates are launched into the working world, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for those who have not gone to university to obtain employment.

E-learning gives the candidate both the skills and qualifications to boost their CVs and keep up with rival candidates.

E-learning can also benefit current employers and employees. Many companies are now offering these courses to staff to further their knowledge and help them progress.

With courses for all competencies, there is opportunity for all levels of staff to progress.

6. Accessibility

Universities have strict rules regarding entrance, meaning A-level results can impede a student’s entire life.

E-learning has no such restrictions, and beginners’ classes require no background experience or reading.

Similarly, those who wish to take an intermediate class need not prove they have the ability to do so.

Amanda Rosewarne


While it is unlikely that e-learning will completely eradicate traditional learning methods, it is a fact that it’s increasingly on the rise.

Low-cost, flexible and varied, there is little reason why it would not suit a potential student.

Of course, e-learning can never replicate the life lessons that come with the new-found independence and responsibility of attending university, but for those unable to attend it is a worthy alternative.

Amanda Rosewarne has a background in occupational psychology, extensive experience in the CPD field, and is an expert on the provision of workplace training and CPD learning. As CEO and cofounder of the CPD Standards Office, she advises a multitude of organisations, from professional bodies to corporate employers to small training providers, on becoming ‘CPD ready’ and implementing CPD best practice.

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