As we conclude 2018 and look forward to what lay ahead in 2019, lets assess which e-learning trends are going to gain traction in the year ahead.
Whether you feel like we’re entering a season of technological advancement that is akin to an episode of Black Mirror or you are excited about what is to come. There is no denying that we are blessed to live in a time where technology can aid us within everyday tasks to get the most out of what we put in. In the area of Education, I wish I had alternative approaches to schooling when I was growing up. If there is anything I learnt during my time in school, it is that everybody has their own way of learning and comprehending information. Moving on from school, Education is still a big part of a lot of businesses and organisations, yet the challenges remain the same.
As the famous quote goes, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” It’s within this train of thought that e-learning hopes to cater to individuals that require a different approach to education.
Here are some ways in which technology is changing the course of education for the better:
Augmented Reality/ Virtual Reality/ Mixed Reality learning
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are both growing rapidly as important modes of implementing learning content. It has been observed that K-12 has adopted Augmented Reality in a way to teach various subjects, such as Science and Math.
Augmented Reality’s strong suit is that it adds to pre-existing content in order to make the learning experience greater. This is done through interesting overlays of graphics and images that can pop up and amuse the students while connecting with the content in a truly immersive experience.
Much of the same can be said for Virtual Reality, as it continues to grow in its use throughout instructional design and safety modules. Safety and cost are always a concern in training and development, especially in the corporate space. Reality Technologies are starting to solve both of these challenges and are paving the way to fully engaging learning experiences. Organisations are also investing in cognitive learning products that are augmented by VR especially for children and people with special needs.
As an expansion of both AR and VR, Mixed Reality (MR) will become more incorporated into the educational world. As a projected experience that is constructed around the room and objects within real-time, Organisations will lean heavily into this deeply immersive technological trend in the year 2019. For a more expanded understanding of these Reality Technologies, view our article “The Reality of AR, VR and MR Technology”.
In an age where we leave little downtime for ourselves and technology steals away our attention, Microlearning is a methodology, in which a topic is broken up into key learning points, that are easier to digest and retain. Apart from a multitude of benefits, it is also a great bridge between formal and informal learning. But where it really shines is in its support for continuous learning.
Microlearning was a strong trend in 2018 and it will continue to gain traction rolling into 2019. Microlearning is a great method of implementing learning in small chunks that are objective driven and can be easily and quickly deployed within organisations. Students benefit as they get through the modules quickly and can repeat the learning many times over. Retention is better, and they are less fussy about going through a boring hour-long module.
The great advantage of microlearning is that it can be implemented on any device in the form of videos, small games, quizzes, and infographics.
Sometimes, when trying to wrap your head around a concept, having a social context in-which others can breakdown their take and hypothesis on the matter is all you really need in order to see the issue from the right angle.
People are inherently social creatures, and with that factor ingrained in us we have honed our ability to learn from each other. Technology has just made that process even simpler, in the form of video-based long-distance learning or social forums that allow students to interact with each other, technology has ensured that social learning can happen with relative ease.
As more collaborative tools are developed, social learning will continue to grow in popularity and use going into 2019.
Knowledge on demand
Google has shaped the way we assimilate information. Entire populations have moved from being passively handed information to actively searching for it, and the uptick in smartphone use is only making this easier. More and more learners are used to having information on demand.
Educational branches have begun to follow suit. Creating tools that allow students to access information, where and when they need it, mirroring how they already seek out information in their own time.
Gamification & Game-based Learning
Gamification is the application of game mechanics (point-scoring, badges, leaderboards etc.) to tasks such as in-class learning, in order to promote a motivational response in an action.
The concept of gamification may be seen as new but the act of gamification has been woven into tasks and activities for as long as civilisation has been established. What is new however, is the way technological advancements has increased gamification’s reach and effectiveness. Gamification is leading the charge in innovative teaching methods with young students.
Organisations are increasingly looking at investing in game-based learning to empower and engage their students better. It has been observed that gamification has improved retention rates and better application of the subject matter learned at work or in the classroom.
AI learning/ Personalised learning
Technology has personalised many different areas of our lives, and yet Education seems to be the area that could benefit the most from individualised and attentive AI systems. After all, a teacher can only provide so much attention to a student before they are depriving fellow students of the time and attention they also need.
As individuals, we tend to relate better to personalised experiences. AI assistance has picked up recently within the e-learning space. Organisations are now offering innovative solutions where bots are able to guide learners both on the learning path, as well as during the courses.
AI assistance can help observe a student’s learning behaviour and adapt future content to be consumed and understood best by the individual, along with a personalised approach which helps disarm the student and make them feel a part of something, rather than just getting lost in a system.
By 2019 it is forecast that 82% of internet traffic will be video, according to a prediction by Cisco. That’s a lot. Although video is in high demand and quite obviously the medium of choice, it has its limitations in learning.
However, Interactive videos manage to fill the void, introducing user-led decisions into the experience, creates a far more solid base for engagement. Besides the benefits that come with engagement, the introduction of choice means that interactive videos can provide meaningful data for educators - a huge distinction from linear video. Adding a simple review and quiz at the end of each educational component can greatly increase viewer attention and retention.
Videos are one of the hottest modes of training right now. The popularity of video-based sites like YouTube have forced organisations to adopt more videos into their training. Be it Instructor-Led Training that is interspersed with anecdotal or contextual videos, or e-learning where videos play an integral part in disseminating information, videos are here to stay.
The focus is on decreasing the load time and the size of videos using various tools. Video-based learning will continue to grow and will be an important trend to watch out for next year.
A report by Strategy Analytics, suggests that by 2020 almost 2 thirds of the entire world will own smartphones. With that information, consider a report by TNS that states that millennial’s use their mobile devices up to 3.2 hours a day.
With both of these figures in mind, it is unlikely that education will replace the time spent on mobile devices, so why not be a part of it? According to LearnDash, 70% of learners felt more motivated when training on a mobile device, as opposed to a computer. While MNAlearning also found that, Mobile e-learners typically study for 40 minutes longer than students using a Desktop or Tablet.
The year ahead will inevitably see a lot of these trends develop further into more well-rounded and matured concepts, some may even leave their innovative Beta stages and become adopted as mainstream learning concepts. The key to developing stronger learning systems is for us to stay hungry when it comes to creating alternative and innovative educational methods.