The world of online education or e-learning is a dynamic one for as the world continues to advance in technology, so will education in our classrooms and more importantly online teaching procedures or techniques. And as with all changes, a certain percentage of educators and students will find them better than the old way of handling things while the others will see these changes as unnecessary disturbances to the hallowed profession of teaching which gives such changes or technologies the tag of been ‘disruptive’.
Although we are almost half way through the year, today’s article will cover some of the e-learning trends that have taken the world of e-learning by storm and will continue to do so throughout the year in review. The trends are:
- Big Data : the popularity of big data is definitely not a new one for data analysis was one of the prevalent topics that dominated the business and technological communities in 2013 and the year 2014 has seen big data analysis been integrated into other professional fields like healthcare, energy control and more importantly education. The integration of big data in e-learning has helped administrators in the US. seamlessly carry out their strategy of equipping every student—under the k-12 bracket—with smart devices/tabs for educational purposes without leaving anyone out.
- Wearable Devices: the term ‘wearables’ stand for digital devices or computers that can be worn and used in the real world. These wearable technology—smart watches, Google glass—are usually discreet and do not cause any unwanted distractions. Thereby making them minute computers that can be used in educative environments. Some teachers have already integrated the use of Google glass as a real time research gadget which allow students easily crosscheck information as well as record certain class work.
- Video Conferencing : the advancement of certain communication platforms such as Skype, Google hangout and Go meeting, have revolutionized the way a group of people communicate for these platforms provide features such as screen sharing, document sharing and general/private communication options that can be used to set up a conducive online environment for education. Some learning management systems have already integrated these communication systems onto their platforms and I believe more are set to adopt this method or build their own video conferencing portals.
- Mobile Learning : As more and more people purchase smart devices and use them as their primary device for receiving information, the use of only physical text as a form of sending across information has dwindled, as can be seen from the sales drop of newspapers experienced by major News vendors—Time, Daily mail etc. This trend is slowly but surely creeping into educational circles as more educators now develop teaching materials in soft copy formats and simply share them to their students. The multi-facet sharing and storage options provided by smart devices will certainly reduce student’s dependency on plain text as well as the clutter in their rooms.
- Gamification : In certain educational circles—such as robotics and artificial intelligence—the use of Gamification as a teaching technique is nothing new but for mainstream e-learning courses, the use of online games as a teaching tool is still quite novel. With the wide acceptance of smart devices, it is quite certain that learning through online gaming is set to be a re-occurring trend across all age-groups and classrooms in 2014.
- Cloud Education: cloud computing has been one of the tech raves of the 21st century and naturally, this rave has imbibed itself into the teaching procedures available in today’s modern society. Coursera—which has been dubbed the Amazon of e-learning—can serve as a perfect example of how cloud education has been accepted into mainstream educational spaces for educators, universities and students from all works of life, now makes use of this Massive Open Online Course platform to pass and receive educational information.
- Social Learning: The use of socialization has since been an important part of the teaching techniques used to enhance the interpersonal skills of kids in the k-12 bracket but recently, these forms of teaching/learning has been incorporated by educators and organizations tasked with the education of adults. Social learning now incorporates the importance of socializing through social media networks, higher order learning and the use of authoring tools to drive active learning.
This is our take on what e-learning has to offer both educators and students in the year 2014 and we know that you definitely have one or two points to add to this list. So please do not hesitate to use the comment box below to educate us about your e-learning views.