Future Trends in Digital Learning
The demand of e learning models and blended learning programs has increased in recent years with the increasing use of technology. Technology, nowadays, seems to be omni-present in our lives. As technology shifts rapidly, the e-learning industry must shift to newer technology as well. This will make learning easier as it will be blended in with people's daily lives. Here is a list of several trends that are likely to be commonplace and popular in 2020 and ahead.
Currently, e-learning serves as an educational model that offers flexibility and customisation. Learners can set their own pace and study time as per their convenience. With material being available online, they are also free to revise whenever they want to. Adaptive learning takes this a step further allowing for greater customisation of learning and testing content. These programs are capable of adapting to each learner's pace and needs. They collect data points such as time taken, level of ease with the course etc. This way, each learner get access to modified courses. They may see extra exercises and tests based on their weaknesses and even additional resources to improve learning.
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Today, we live in the information age. Information from various sources bombards people everyday. This makes it difficult to identify and learn the right way. Today's learners learn best by engaging with others and sharing their views. Through debate, they come across several perspectives and this helps increase knowledge. Social learning techniques allow students to engage with people across the globe. The diversity of ideas and backgrounds enrich the students; knowledge making them more aware. It also creates a global learning environment where people can share best practices and their innovations. Learning and knowledge here stems from discussions, exchange of ideas and debates. The system does not rely on absorption of information coming from one source (the tutor) only.
To learn more about how discussions lead to learning, read our blog on Transformative Learning Theory.
Micro-learning is an educational trend that is moving beyond the scope of eLearning. Simply put, it is the breaking down of educational content into multiple modules. This reduces the amount of content learners get in one go. The modules can be in different forms – textual readings, video lectures, gamified assessments etc. The variety of formats increases retention by reducing monotony. People today have shorter attention spans and are pressed for time. Smaller chunks of information communicated can be better understood by learners and requires less time. Hence, with smaller modules, learning improves. Micro-learning as an educational technique is also being implemented beyond online learning and is making its way into schools and workforce training programs.
Gamification or game-based learning is another technique that is gaining popularity in digital learning. It combines the fun element of games with learning and is a popular choice for skills training. Consequently, retention is higher as concepts are put forward interestingly. Learners are also more engaged as games make learning fun.
This technique also helps with experiential learning. Since it is just a game, mistakes do not have disastrous consequences and experiments are low-risk. The games expose learners to different situations they may find on the job and the program records the responses. Then, the games move forward based on decisions taken and end-result determines success or failure. In fields such as law enforcement and medicine, these provide risk-free learning as mistakes made do not cost human lives.
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With smartphones being the most used gadget by most people, eLearning (mobile learning) has a bright future in education. Mobile learning programs and languages are being developed to optimise the use of phones as educational tools. At present, several LMS and online learning programs have stepped into eLearning by developing apps that allow users to access content. By logging in, users have access to the web content through their phones. Users can also sync their calendars to the apps for learning schedules and reminders. The apps also allow in-app downloads that create provisions for offline learning.
Apart from apps, SMS broadcasts, caller tunes and mobile radios are often used to educate masses who lack internet. Similarly, these can also be modified to educate large audiences who are not very tech-savvy.
Tutors can employ these methods and then gauge which one works best for them and students. Tutors can also revise methods and courses based on feedback from systems and students' performances. As a result, these trends will be more successful at personalising learning and being more inclusive. Teachers can make changes rapidly as these systems monitor data all the time and feedback is quick. As a result, performance and learning improves greatly.