The Future of e-Learning
eLearning grew out of Computer Based Training (CBT) that was popular fifteen or so years ago. Back then, companies paid computer professionals for installing machines with special software in their offices. Employees registered for a specific date and watched lessons on CDs. Although many things have changed since then, the idea of CBT was the same as that of eLearning: give people a chance to learn whenever and wherever they want.
eLearning has a host of benefits. Many adults who wish to continue their education are scared off by traditional classes with the teacher as the center of power and the students as robots that simply repeat everything after their master. eLearning has changed this conventional pattern and made the learner the key character in the educational process. Now, everyone can afford courses over the Internet, with many institutions offering either free or inexpensive instructional content online. The courses to select from are varied. Students are free in how they approach their learning. They can study from home and plan their schedule according to their needs and preferences. The job prospects of those who take online courses have also improved. Now, certificates from prestigious universities such as MIT are accepted by companies worldwide.
With so many advantages, though, there is still a lot of ground for the eLearning industry to cover. It is hard to say exactly what future holds in store. Many predictions have proven to be wrong. For example, back in the fifties, some people were convinced that by the end of the 20th century each of us would have a robot-assistant. However, based on the current situation on the online education market experts can give a more or less accurate forecast for the next decade. We have conducted a survey among teachers that provide their services through HireRush.com on the future trends in eLearning. Here is what they think.
Delivering instructional material in small chunks is considered to be good for children, who can’t focus their attention on one thing for too long. However, the same is true for eLearning. People need the material to be easily digestible. They don’t want to get bored watching a video that lasts an hour and contains a lot of non-essential information. So, the trend is to break the material down into tiny pieces only with an important message.
Many believe that the variety of devices that people use while working or studying will have a great impact on the design of educational content. People must be able to have the same learning experience regardless of whether they access the material via their laptops, tablets, or smartphones.
Currently, there is a huge demand for global training that doesn’t cost much and is of high quality. The new cloud technology looks very promising in this respect. Many large and small companies have opted for cloud-based systems because they greatly reduce expenses for educating employees. This trend will only grow in the years to come.
Everybody agrees that eLearning will grow increasingly mobile. Smartphones and tablets are getting newer and more powerful processors. The Internet is gaining speed, with the 5G standard being adopted by more providers. A mobile device will soon be equal in power and performance to a standard PC. So, sitting at a desk in order to watch an educational video or do a quiz is no longer necessary.
The next trend in eLearning is a greater emphasis on interactivity. Now, the educational content is not learner-centered enough. However, the student must be able to choose their own learning path. eLearning programs should become more interactive so that anyone can decide what film to watch or what text to read next.
While the Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are still far from perfect from the design point of view, they will continue to dominate the eLearning arena in the near future. MOOCs give thousands or even millions of people access to educational courses from the leading institutions. That is especially important for the residents of developing and poor countries who can’t afford traditional education. Although the majority of MOOCs is free at the moment, we may witness a new trend: their commercialization. Considering the incredible popularity of MOOCs, this business may become one of the most lucrative. Check the most popular MOOCs like Coursera, Khan Academy, edX, etc.
Most teachers are sure that the element of the game in eLearning will grow in share in the next years. Gamification has a number of pros. It has been proven that it enhances IQ, helps the student to successfully perform several activities within a short time span, and solve problems better. In addition, games are good from the competition perspective, which gives the learner an additional motivation. In the future, we will probably see the transformation of instructional materials into something like video games, interactive and highly engaging.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. The social networks that have appeared in the recent years are very good media for communicating, exchanging information, and learning. There is no doubt that eLearning instructors will lean more on social networking for achieving their goals. Learners can share knowledge among themselves, which contributes to better interaction and better knowledge retention.
With the rapidly developing technologies, the future of eLearning looks bright. There will hardly be any revolution in this industry in the next ten years. At the same time, the learning materials and the methods of their presentation will continue to undergo transformation and the constant process of improvement.