Technology has transformed the learning landscape. What can we look forward to this year? Video-based learning, microlearning, and AI-driven chatbots that function as teachers' assistants.
Change is the only constant! And when I look around, I can see the pace. Thanks to smartphones and internet penetration, sometimes the change is so rapid that we don’t even realise it. For instance, Netflix/ Amazon Prime has so quickly become a part of our everyday lives that they have replaced the cable television for a lot of us.
Similarly, in the past few years, the learning landscape across the globe has also undergone significant disruption on the back of technological advancements. The growth and proliferation of communication technology, bolstered by deeper penetration of internet connectivity and smart devices, made digital learning a household name in 2018.
And, as we work our way through January 2019, it makes sense to look back at what worked in 2018 and what would be the guiding principles for 2019. One thing is for sure; online learning is here to stay and grow!
The year that was: digital learning trends in 2018
In 2018, educational institutions and organisations truly embraced virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) to boost learning outcomes among students. While the technology is still in its nascent stage in India, several leading AR/VR startups are creating inventive educational products for schools, colleges, and corporations.
AR/VR has resulted in the development of collaborative online learning. Virtual collaborative learning environments have enabled learners to work together as a group in technology-based learning systems and benefit from shared knowledge.
Gamification, or game-based learning, is another trend that gained momentum in the past year. Through the immersive learning technique of gamification, learning new skills has become an engaging and a fun activity. Gamification, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, has witnessed stellar developments, with its global market set to grow from $1.65 billion in 2015 to $11.1 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 46.3 percent.
Adaptive learning was another big advancement in 2018, with learning platforms realizing the potential of programmes that are customised as per the needs and capabilities of specific learners. As digital learning continues to gain traction and attract learners who wish to upskill themselves independently, leading digital learning platforms have uniquely personalised the process.
Looking ahead: what 2019 has in store for digital learning
Video-based learning has emerged as the most scalable learning method since it truly democratises education by making it accessible to everyone. And it’s not only the reach; video-based learning has proven to be more effective with our changing cognitive abilities. According to an article published by Psychology Today, the human brain processes videos 60,000 times faster than text. The method of explaining and demonstrating a topic through videos boosts retention as it appeals to more than just the sense of sight. In fact, a study on millennials concluded that over 75 percent millennials turned to YouTube and other channels for “How to” and explainer videos on various concepts. Leading online learning platforms are eyeing this opportunity and investing more in the video-based learning segment.
The rise in video-based learning is leading to a newer concept called microlearning wherein bite-sized videos with succinct information are shown to learners. When learners are exposed to information in short bursts repeatedly, they grasp concepts quicker, leading to amazing learning outcomes. Microlearning, also conceivable in the form of short quizzes, info-graphics, or audio clips, has huge potential and could possibly transform the education sector in 2019 and beyond.
The learning landscape in 2019 is also set to be revolutionised by AI-driven chatbots, who can perform tasks from guiding to motivating learners, while they move forward on their upskilling journey. In fact, this method of aiding learners through chatbots was successfully implemented when the Georgia Institute of Technology used IBM’s Watson AI to facilitate student support. For online learning platforms, chatbots can become teachers’ assistants and answer routine queries put up by learners.
According to a study by KPMG, the Indian online education industry will touch $1.96 billion by 2021, with an increasing number of learners finding online learning more convenient and in tune with their learning pace. Extrapolating for the current scenario and future projections, it is evident that the online learning industry is going ahead full throttle, fueled by innovative technologies and eager learners.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)