8 eLearning Trends That Are Changing The Learning Landscape

How The Learning Landscape Changes With These eLearning Trends 

At first, educators saw learning games, especially at the elementary level, totally appropriate to supplement classroom learning. And as access to information grew, the internet became a fully acceptable and even valuable place for student and professional research. eLearning lagged behind these other endeavors, because the stigma of the old correspondence course was still fresh in educators’ memories. Now, as eLearning becomes a fact of life and as coursework, career training, and, in fact, whole degree programs, are accommodating traditional and non-traditional students, acceptance is far more widespread. The challenge becomes continual improvement so that eLearning is fully competitive with traditional schooling. 8 new eLearning trends that are emerging promise to meet some of the challenges that eLearning trends has faced, and to overcome them.

  1. More student engagement and collaboration.
    One of the issues with online learning was the isolation of students from one another. The completed assignments, turned them in, perhaps communicate with the instructor on some occasions, and received a final grade. Done and move on. Now that there are new tools and apps for collaboration, courses are being structured far differently. Collaborative project work is becoming the norm rather than the exception, filling a big hole in delivery. One of the challenges facing eLearning has been the high dropout rate. It is hoped that collaborations among students will bring the social connections of the classroom to online learners. These connections may assist retention rates. And a collaborative atmosphere is far more realistic in terms of preparing students for eventual work life. As technology creates even better tools for communication, online students will “feel” more and more as if they are in a “real” classroom.
  2. Acceptance of online education is growing as new eLearning trends. 
    According to a study conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group in cooperation with the Online Learning Consortium, the following new statistics were published in February of this year. According to the survey, 70.8% of educational leaders surveyed stated that online learning has become an important part of their institution’s long-range planning. And 74.1% of those same leaders said they believed that learning outcomes for students in eLearning classes were as good as for those in traditional classrooms. Obviously, eLearning is claiming its place, at least in higher education.
  3. Personalization of data.
    eLearning is not always just about coursework. It is also about data-driven information about student mastery of content and skills. Testing companies have been using this for years, but now teachers can use it for each unit of instruction they deliver. When teachers can use technology to isolate mastery and lack of mastery for individual students, everyone benefits. More individualized instructional programs can be developed to target those areas of more instruction needed by each student in a classroom. Likewise, those students who have full mastery can move on.
  4. Personalization of learning.
    This is a direct result of personalization of data. Here is the scenario: Johnny has not mastered decimals. His teacher, because she has a math curriculum that must be delivered within her nine months of instruction, must move on to per cents. Johnny will not understand per cents, because math concepts are cumulative. With his/her data, the teacher knows about Johnny. S/he can then use instructional technology to re-teach decimals to Johnny, during other times during the school day. Or, she can give Johnny access to such learning from home, so that parents can assist as well.
  5. Increase in part-time student enrollments.
    The college student who wants to fast-track his degree by getting general education and elective courses out of the way sees online coursework as his solution; the single mom who needs online coursework to supplement the traditional courses she only has time for one day a week; the IT pro who must upgrade his/her skills for a chance at a promotion; and the high school student who is in need of credit recovery in order to graduate on time. All of the individuals are making use of eLearning opportunities. This trend will continue, as people demand the flexibility to get their learning on their own time.
  6. Gamification/interaction.
    Learning games are not just for kids anymore. To attract and keep learners requires engagement. In fact, educators in traditional classrooms have known this for years. Translating engagement into online learning will be a challenge beyond the elementary level, but it will be critical if online learning organizations intend to grow, enroll students, and retain them. Already, many edTech startups are developing augmented and virtual reality technology as delivery systems. Corporations are developing short modules of training with gaming and interactive elements. The sooner online coursework developers can adopt the technology that provides for interaction and gaming, the better.
  7. Mobile friendly coursework.
    eLearning that is developed for PC delivery only will ultimately fail to attract a growing enrollments. All instructional delivery must be made compatible with mobile devices, just like any business must make its website compatible. eLearning trends are becoming a consumer-driven industry, and competition will only become fiercer. Suppliers and developers of eLearning programs must think first of their users’ needs, not their own.
  8. EdTech will transform online education.
    Online education will become big business, and those who can deliver it effectively and in the most cost-effective way will be the winners. In 2015, the top 20 funded edTech startups received from $44 million to $1 billion from capital investors. They obviously know where the money will be in the future. Collaboration between entrepreneurs and educators will result in opportunities for students all over the world. While college is too expensive for many, specialized coursework (e.g., CodeAcademy) will allow the mastery of specialized skills that prepare people of all ages for worthwhile careers.

There are many more eLearning trends of course. But the overall theme in all of them is the: Make education accessible, flexible, engaging, and cost-effective. These things will promote a far better educated planet.

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