How Bloggers And Content Creators Transformed The eLearning Industry
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Bloggers And Content Creators Altering eLearning

Ηas the blogosphere's impact been a wholly positive one? Let's explore how eLearning has developed in the age of content and blogging.

The massive impact that both bloggers and content creators have had on the way we find information and educate ourselves is plain to see. Both through search engines and social media feeds, we're able to find an unprecedented wealth of content, thoughts, and opinion on just about any subject imaginable. From political meta-analysis, all the way through to the psychology behind why your pet cat hates cucumbers, thousands upon thousands of words on the most esoteric of subjects is ready and available.

Blogging In Education

Blogging is already being used in schools and universities as key reference points for big stories [1]. In some cases, bloggers can provide the kinds of insights missed by mainstream media outlets - drawing on personal experience and first-hand accounts of developing stories, or offering more depth to a given topic than what's available elsewhere.

For example, the blog 'Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently' was awarded the International Press Freedom Award in 2015, and the Civil Courage Prize in 2016 for its coverage and first-hand stories from inside the Islamic State, occupied Syrian city of Raqqa. The bloggers' covert reporting remains an extremely dangerous but invaluable and unique insight into a war-torn city, that would otherwise have been impossible.

Advantages And Disadvantages

The community aspect of blogging also brings huge advantages to education - due to the ability to comment on articles and provide feedback, visitors can communicate with authors in a way that further enhances their learning and understanding.

It's, of course, worth noting that the use of blogging and content in education has its drawbacks. Blog posts may provide a singular voice, and the information we take from educational articles can become highly subjective as a result.

However, responsible blogs can bring both sides of the coin to your screen, bringing reasonable arguments to both sides of the most divisive subjects - a perk that isn't always possible in the classroom.

The implementation of blogging in school curriculum has also seen positive effects in student literacy, with blog-savvy pupils tending to gain higher language grades than non-bloggers. This theoretical reason for this is due to the higher interaction and communication with other bloggers, as well as the practice of writing content.

Although a counter-argument to the perceived literacy improvements among students is that blogging also teaches lazy abbreviations. Terms synonymous with the slang used in texting is much more commonplace than on more traditional educational avenues and risks hindering a pupil's vocabulary.

Vlogging In Education

The role YouTube, and 'Vlogging' has played in transforming eLearning cannot be understated, either. One of the most successful areas of YouTube is the Education section, with free lectures on broad topics readily available to view. Education's first great success story, Khan Academy, has amassed an amazing 3.4 million subscribers, and have received over 1.2 billion video views in their 13-year history.

Khan Academy has since been surpassed by other successful eLearning vlogs on YouTube. CrashCourse, a channel set up by two brothers in the years following its predecessor's early success, now has amassed 6.5 million subscribers - but even CrashCourse's excellent figures have been dwarfed by VSauce, which has enticed 12.5 million visitors to hit the subscribe button.

The beauty of learning via YouTube is that it offers a new style of education. With entertainment and convenience at the forefront; the chore of teaching ourselves new things dissipates - and we can handily treat ourselves to swotting up on anything we like and enjoy doing so - whether it is in our free time, on the train to work, or in the classroom.

Students are taking YouTube as a revision tool seriously too. Viewing figures show a clear jump in an education channel's video views around the time of the year that exams are taking place - with CrashCourse jumping from 350,000 average monthly views to one million from the start of April to the start of May 2015.

The influence of blogging and vlogging has become so strong that many typically traditional outlets for education and information have adopted the approach to learning, with universities actively encouraging students to blog, and use Twitter's micro-blogging social network to build industry links and show off their skills [2]. Even in the world of politics, parties are turning to blogging as a way of getting their information to large audiences as fast as possible, before their rivals have a chance to usurp their policies.

Final Words

In a world of mass information instantly available, it pays to keep a critical mind on the article you're reading or video you're viewing. But thanks to the power of the blogosphere, and the tools available to bloggers, we're now in touch with more information than we could have imagined having access to before. With blog platforms, live streaming tools, webinars, and YouTube content catering for every learning style, it's hard to doubt the enormous force for good that blogging has been in educating ourselves online.

It's important to realize that even if content creators are unable to set-up a personal blogging platform, it's still possible to educate others through publishing content on 3rd party websites that allow external contributions, such as eLearning Industry.

 

References: 

  1. How Blogging is Being Used in the Classroom Today: Research Results
  2. Blogging in the classroom: why your students should write online
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