Online Education: 7 Key Trends Ιn 2018
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The Most Important 2018 Online Education Trends

Why more and more people choose online education? You can complete distance courses at any time and without reference to a specific location. Mobility gives you freedom of choice and comfort: all that is needed to start the process is a comfortable room with wi-fi and a favorite gadget. Well, along with a cup of coffee for cheerfulness.

There are other advantages to distance learning:

  • an impressive selection of specialized topics, which means more practical benefits and specifics;
  • accessibility: the courses can be taken free of charge, or their cost is significantly lower than offline counterparts;
  • convenience: it is easy to combine it with work or basic study, without losing time and money in case of a pass;
  • they provide an opportunity to engage in networking - to establish contacts with people from different countries, share experiences and, as a bonus, improve knowledge of the language.

Distance learning is developing in two directions:

  1. Educational online platforms offering massive open online courses: Coursera, EdX, FutureLearn. Most of the training modules are developed by well-known universities as analogs of offline education. The courses offered are varied, materials are available for free, and a certificate of completion can be purchased for a few dollars.
  2. Training programs of companies, experts in their field. For example, IT companies develop computer language courses, marketing companies teach the tricks of digital promotion, etc. These programs are usually adapted to the requirements of the local market, but how to determine their quality? Ratings practically do not exist: the user pays money without receiving guarantees in return. It is not known whether these courses are quoted by employers and whether they will increase the cost of a specialist in the labor market. Will they give the necessary knowledge, or touch the topic only superficially? Word of mouth is a bad indicator because other people's opinions are subjective.

Trends In Online Education In 2018

In short, eLearning will become more personal and fun. Below there are 7 major trends:

1. The Role Of Certifying Organizations Will Increase

Online education enumerates the functions of standard educational institutions. This means that the relevant standards will also be borrowed: the classification and ranking of educational centers. The quality of teaching and the work of lecturers will be assessed by experts on a number of indicators, forming objective ratings. And then the certificates of courses from dubious pieces of paper will turn into proof of the knowledge gained: over time they will become equivalent to the results of university exams. Providers of educational courses will be forced to carefully select lecturers and take care of their reputation – not everyone will survive, but it is for the better. It'd be extremely convenient for low-income people, ones with disabilities, stay-at-home moms, etc. They could receive a good education and earn decent money from home.

2. Video Content Will Become Must-Have In Training Programs

A person better perceives information through visual images that can be conveyed as a briefing, using animation, slides, live videos on Facebook and Instagram. According to forecasts, by 2019 video will generate 80% of global internet traffic. First of all, entertainment content is in demand, but the trend will affect online education.

The popularity of commercials is growing with the expansion and improvement of mobile communications, as well as with the increase in the number of smartphone owners. Advanced distance course providers are already busy digitizing text materials and translating them into video content. Webinars will remain an effective learning tool, but only in the case of high-quality content.

3. Game Learning: The Approach Works Not Only With Children

For many, learning is associated with an unbearably boring task – "thanks" to the long-obsolete programs of schools and universities. Games were always contrasted with studies: "You’ll finish your homework and go for a walk." But what if you add game practices to the learning process: challenges, competition, cooperation, leaderboard ranking, awards for achievements?

At the output we get:

  • high level of involvement and interaction: emotional perception increases the absorption of information by 9%;
  • the opportunity to experiment and introduce new methods of management and promotion without monetary losses;
  • understanding of the functioning of business processes in the complex, at all levels.

Using game techniques, it is easier to explain complex concepts and test knowledge. During the interactive training, participants develop strategies and make decisions, immediately observing their influence on the financial position of the company. Similar programs are applicable to any sphere and level of preparation.

4. Microlearning: You Want To Eat A Mammoth – Divide It Into Small Pieces

An average working person is ready to devote 1% of his time to additional professional training. And this is only 24 minutes a week – a bit, you see. In addition, young professionals from the millennial generation (born in the 1980s – 90s of the last century) quickly lose their attention and motivation: standard training modules of 1-2 hours make them bored.

However, a solution was found: to give just as much information as a user can learn in 4-5 minutes a day. Next year, the priority will be to use short videos, small text or visual materials. For a better assimilation of the material after each block, blitz testing is carried out. Such an approach allows for better preservation of information in the long term, and this is an important point for mastering working skills.

It is not necessary to completely change the supply of educational data – microcontent may be one of the ways to convey information.

5. Increasing Interest In Virtual And Augmented Realities

Have you ever dreamed of wearing a helmet and feeling like an airplane? Nowadays, Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are more accessible: they are used to study historical events, train medical professionals, etc. This method provides complete immersion and involvement in the process at the emotional level. The information is better remembered, the motility of movements is perfected. But with all the advantages, the use of Virtual Reality is a rather expensive pleasure.

The use of Augmented Reality (AR) in teaching is more realistic. In this case, it is enough to download the corresponding application on the device. AR helps to better understand the structure or functioning of objects, and among its advantages:

  • visibility: the technology allows you to see the smallest details, to bring closer, to reduce or enlarge an object, to interact with it;
  • facilitates the study of nuclear processes, cell structure, molecular structure, architectural structures, etc.;
  • security: you can get into the essence of things without fear of breaking or spoiling something;

This method is cheaper than using virtual technology.

For the digital generation – those who are not 20, learning through Virtual and Augmented Reality will be commonplace. Most likely, they will use a mix of two technologies, for example, mixed reality glasses – HoloLens from Microsoft or analogs. Originally designed for gamers, devices have become popular in the educational and business environment.

6. Adaptation Of Existing Content To New Challenges

Not everyone can incorporate the latest technology into the learning process – and this is not necessary. Indeed, in most cases, users are simply looking for important information for them. Therefore, educational centers should review the existing material: how relevant it is, useful, detailed. They must be prepared for constant changes and for the introduction of new programs.

In 2018, training will become more personalized, tailored to the requirements of specific positions. The distance course will play the role of a roadmap that leads from basic knowledge to expert level in the shortest possible time.

7. Internal Strength: Social Learning And Mentoring

This approach aims to use the company's own potential - the knowledge and experience of its employees. The benefits are as follows:

  • the knowledge gained is tailored to the requirements of the company;
  • cost savings through the use of internal resources;
  • prompt problem solving, the presence of constant feedback;
  • he who teaches at the same time improves his professional skills.

For corporate online training, social networks, special programs, internal chats, forums, etc. are applied. The only question is how to motivate employees to visit them regularly.

An important part of the internal learning process is mentoring when an employee receives the support of a more experienced colleague. A personal mentor helps to achieve better results, saves the student from procrastination (the desire to postpone work for tomorrow, Monday or next year). And also controls the specified course, not allowing to be sprayed on the extra parts.

Conclusion

In 2018, online education will integrate and apply more advanced technologies: video content, game programs, elements of Virtual or Augmented Reality. But the focus remains on people who do not want to waste time learning everything about everything. The main function of training is to give clear answers to questions and reinforce the necessary skills. The decisive factor will remain a person’s motivation and readiness to regularly devote time to self-education.

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