The top four emerging trends driving the virtual schools market in the U.S., according to education research analysts at Technavio, are:
1) Implementation of user-friendly Web conferencing solutions
Virtual school market vendors are developing Web conferencing solutions that are easy to use and priced as per customer requirements in order to gain a larger market share. The complexity of Web conferencing products increases with rise of integrated features and may decrease its implementation. Therefore, major vendors in the market are developing user-friendly solutions.
2) Advances in technology
Virtual schools providers deliver content based on new and unique technological tools such as learning management system (LMS), learning content management system (LCMS), and other authoring tools and software. The increased use of SaaS and Cloud-based LMS make the management and delivery of course content, easy and smooth. The U.S. government is also actively promoting the use of e-textbooks, graphics, and other interactive digital content to enhance the learning experience, primarily in the K-12 segment.
3) Increased demand for distance learning
The report also emphasizes the rise in demand for distance learning, which offers opportunities for people worldwide, particularly for those that find it difficult to attend universities because of financial, geographical, or scheduling reasons. Most of the distance education content is delivered online or in the packaged form of books and CDs. However, virtual schools help in delivering content in a synchronous environment and are gradually taking over other traditional modes.
4) High adoption rate of tablets
Tablets are overtaking notebooks and desktop PCs, as they have touch-screen options, are lightweight, are economically priced, and offer more benefits as a mobile computing device. Vendors are currently manufacturing tablets that incorporate features that are suitable to the needs of students and teachers. In 2013, the U.S. accounted for approximately 69% of the total education tablets market and experienced a consumption of 5.6 million units.