5 Innovative eLearning Solutions For The Self-Directed Learner

5 Innovative eLearning Solutions For The Self-Directed Learner
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Summary: We are long past the online coursework and training that involves video lectures, unit plans and assignments, and exams. This type of instruction is no longer embraced by learners, and those who design eLearning coursework for students or business training are embracing new strategies and technology very rapidly now. It is a new day for eLearning, and the self-directed learner will have access to all of these new innovations.

The Self-Directed Learner And Online Learning: 5 eLearning Solutions  

Here are 5 new eLearning solutions that are revolutionizing the industry and can significantly benefit the self-directed learner:

  1. Gamification.
    We are well aware that computer-assisted instruction in elementary and some middle school classrooms involves learning games that engage children far more than paper-pencil activities. While moving the concept of gamification into secondary, post-secondary and business-based learning has been slow in coming, 2016 will be the year that it becomes mainstream. Already, Cisco Systems and Deloitte University are using gamification in their employee training programs, and other businesses are quickly following suit. Trainees who are exposed to gamification are and will be more engaged, have more fun while they are learning, and ultimately, learn. Challenging games can also involve team collaborations. Learner mastery is easily assessed by performance. Offering eLearning training and development as an option to trainees allows the self-directed learner to take charge of his own curriculum and the pace at which s/he moves. Traditional human-lead training and development does not allow for that. Gamification is clearly the method which more and more companies will embrace throughout 2016 and beyond. It is efficient, cost-effective, allows learners to proceed as they choose, and provides quantitative mastery results.
  2. The convenience of mobile.
    One statistic that was rolled out toward the end of 2016 was that 74% of companies are now using some form of an eLearning system for induction, orientation, and professional development of current employees. Many of them are using partial eLearning environments. However, that same study revealed that only 18% of these same companies have responsive systems that are mobile friendly. But studies have shown that participants in eLearning coursework/training programs prefer a mobile option. For them, the mobile option offers convenience, flexibility of schedule, and the ability to get to a distraction-free environment. They also preferred the touch screen interactivity as opposed to a PC with a keyboard. M-Learning, as it is now called, allows the self-directed learner to access all aspects of a training course that are available on a desktop wherever s/he is physically, so long as that course is available through cloud technology, which is obviously a trend for 2016 too. Companies that are incorporating training programs are using cloud technology rather than system-based programs that cannot be accessed remotely. And the results of the learner experience and mastery can be accessed by any supervisor at any time from any device as well.
  3. Competency-based and adaptive programs.
    All of us have sat in classrooms, bored because we are listening to lectures or completing assignments over material that we have already mastered. It’s a waste of time, especially if we have paid tuition for the course. eLearning programs are now adopting competency-based models that allow a student or trainee to “test out” of learning modules that contain curriculum that s/he has already mastered. This prevents waste of time and keeps learned engaged with content that is new. They can then complete the course faster and move forward to other tasks. Indeed, many companies are discovering that rather than send employees out to a university for additional education, that learning can occur on site, based upon the competencies that met their needs. Formal education will play less and less a role in continuing education for the workplace. Many online universities have been using this model for a number of years already, and 2016 will see this trend become commonplace in work-related training and development programs.
  4. Automation.
    Yes, like everything else, automation in an eLearning environment really streamlines facets of the courses, such as assessments, exercises and games. Implementing such automation is a large cost savings, especially since they do not have to manually designed. Course designers are able to focus on content and multimedia aspects rather than facing the programming aspects or hiring programmers to complete these tasks.
  5. Augmented environments.
    The use of devices such as Google Glass will enhance simulations through augmented environments in which students and/or trainees can solve problems and test solutions, etc.

2016 will be a year of great transition for eLearning and m-learning. From college instruction to employer-based training and development, students will reap the benefits of efficiency, flexibility, and self-direction. Educators and employers will have access to new technology, automation, and cloud-based designs that will be more cost-effective and certainly improve content, delivery and assessment.