New & Emerging E-Learning Technology At Work
Educational professionals and statutes alike are starting to take full advantage of the latest e-learning technologies thanks to incredible industry growth. EZRA looks at some of the hottest new and emerging trends in the sector.
Education technology has advanced considerably over the past couple of years, leading to massive leaps in industry innovation and much higher revenue. The market is constantly expanding with new institutes and platforms appearing on a regular basis, and clear trends are starting to form which helps to direct new technologies.
What does e-learning actually mean?
E-learning is short for electronic learning. It usually refers to a structured course that is delivered electronically. In other words, it uses technologies such as the internet to deliver a learning experience to a student. The most practical way to do this is to use a learning platform that delivers the content straight to the student. However, the way this is achieved can differ depending on the platform and the content being offered.
For example, early e-learning content was focused mainly on text-based courses with some diagrams and images for context. This is very similar to textbooks and served as an online alternative. This allowed the content to be updated when necessary, making it a practical solution compared to books that would need to be reprinted in newer editions.
As e-learning progressed, it started taking advantage of more technologies and media types. For instance, you can now experience e-learning courses with full videos that offer detailed explanations and practical examples of the subject that you’re studying. It also allows students to learn through audio with curated podcasts and listening sections.
But this is only scratching the surface in terms of how e-learning can utilize new technologies to better serve students and instructors alike.
Tech to be aware of
Rapid industry growth has led to some unique innovations in the industry. Here are some of the most interesting developments that we can expect in the near future.
Blended learning is the combination of face-to-face learning with help from computer-mediated activities. This can make the term “blended learning” seem a bit vague as educational institutes have been using technology for a very long time already. However, this concept goes beyond just using computers as an aid. Instead, it incorporates technology into the learning process by taking advantage of computational power and device accessibility.
For example, instead of using a computer or smartphone as an integral component that supports the learning process, devices are instead used to leverage opportunities for personalization. Students also have a bit more control over how, when, and where they work, but will still rely partially on a supervisor or instructor at a face-to-face location.
In short, it’s all about taking better advantage of technology to create an integrated experience that seamlessly blends face-to-face and digital learning.
Gamification is a new e-learning concept that focuses on turning learning into a fun and challenging activity. Gamification usually involves creating milestones and objectives for students to reach as part of their course, lesson, or study session. In many cases, gamification requires some sort of reward or system to track achievements as a way to encourage students to study and achieve new goals.
An example of gamification would be timing how long it takes for a student to complete a set of problems. Once the student finishes each one, they are graded on their speed and accuracy. The faster the student solves the problems and the fewer mistakes they make, the higher their ranking. This can also award points that unlock badges and other unique rewards that are exclusive to the learning platform used.
Gamification blends game design principles with education, making it a unique fusion of different concepts that have created an entirely new industry. This makes it a very exciting opportunity for educators, but also makes it easy for new students to pick up different subjects and approach their studies in a unique way that is designed to motivate and encourage them to achieve greater things.
Micro-learning is a concept that focuses on bite-sized nuggets of learning that are designed to keep students engaged. This concept is designed to tackle two problems; the short attention span of most adults and the lack of time that people can spend with online learning platforms. Traditionally, learning takes place in a classroom that lasts for close to an hour. This can be a lot of time to dedicate to learning new skills, hence why micro-learning has been a development focus.
The goal here is to create short videos and learning challenges for students to take instead of long-form lecture-style content. Thanks to smartphone technology advancing at such a fast rate, it’s created lots of unique opportunities for mobile learning platforms that can offer short videos and interactive challenges that teach new skills. The same micro-learning concepts can also be used to refresh someone’s knowledge, and it can be combined with gamification to create an interactive and engaging learning experience.
Learning management systems
The backbone of any online study platform is the learning management system used. We’re starting to see more innovations in how people can create their own courses and market them either on their own website or as part of a larger system or platform of instructors.
The focus here has been on making these systems more accessible so that instructors and educators don’t need technical knowledge in order to create a fully-featured course. Platforms are starting to integrate easy-to-use tools that can take advantage of mobile learning, gamification, and personalization which are other popular emerging e-learning trends.
By giving these tools to instructors, it helps them create higher-quality content and it also allows them to reach a much wider audience of potential students.
A changing sector
Adopting new e-learning technologies both as a student and instructor can be extremely beneficial. For students, it offers innovative ways to study a new skill and incorporate learning into their busy schedules. For instructors, it offers more tools to create interactive and engaging learning experiences for students. These new emerging technologies will be a great help in making wider learning solutions such as coaching more accessible for everyone, but it’ll also streamline the creation and consumption of more generalized learning content as well.
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