Business Data Trends – The Covid Series – Education

From grade schools to doctorate programs learning is happening all online at the moment. The e-learning space was hot before Covid and one can imagine its upward trends pre-Covid will only be accelerated.

This forced experiment with e-learning is probably a reckoning for higher education. College tuition is extremely overpriced relative to almost any other product or service offered to a large consumer base. Additionally, it is overpriced to the value gained via the salary said degree gets you. I am not sure who to blame here, the college administrators, the professors, the parents for paying, the students, the financial institutions for giving loans, the government… lots of blame to go around. On to the data.

E-learning, the most basic topic being indexed by Google, is at all-time search volume highs. Even a slight drop off the original high it is still at an all-time high to historical data. People are going to get more comfortable with e-learning the longer they use it.

This chart surprised me as I did not expect MasterClass as a topic to be as high in search volume as e-learning. MasterClass from my understanding is learning from “masters” of a craft, which as of late has been taught by celebrities or quasi-celebrities. Its interest is skyrocketing at the moment but I am not sure it will have staying power, time will tell.

Taking a look at the apps out there we also see all-time highs in search volume in addition to some apps having breakouts. ABC Mouse has been around for some time but during Covid they are coming into their own. All their branding and TV commercials per-Covid are probably paying off handsomely right now. The base search volume they moved up from is remarkable in comparison to their peers. As my 3 kids are e-learning at home and using Schoology among some other apps, I have to say there is a gigantic opportunity for someone to create a better version of Schoology. The user experience leaves a lot to be desired, it feels like Facebook 2005.

Post grade school apps are of course doing well also. Coursera has surged to be on par with Udemy in search volume. People are looking to learn a second language now that they have more (forced) free time. I have not followed this closely but I know several of these apps are offering free versions during Covid which naturally will cause a spike in search volume.

What about traditional post-undergraduate education, the MBA. MBA searches as one would imagine are down as of late to record lows. No one is really thinking about dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars at the moment. Curious to see where this trend goes. In typical downturns, the markets come back slowly and one could argue attending an MBA program is smart as it would give you an advanced degree somewhat timed to an upswing in the market. With Covid though most financial gurus are expecting a quicker than normal return to a thriving market.

Education, in general, has been ripe for disruption and this pandemic is going to act like nitrous oxide in a V-10 engine. The general consumer sentiment has been that the college system is broken, overpriced, causing a crisis of debt etc…. so the perfect storm appears to have arrived.

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV

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