Moving From The Past And The Present To The Future Of eLearning
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The Future Of eLearning: How Will It Affect Education And Business?

"Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow." - William Pollard

The term 'eLearning' has only been in existence since 1999. However, its principles were used and trusted for many years beforehand. In the 1840s, Isaac Pitman taught his pupils shorthand via correspondence, adopting the idea that learning can take place indirectly. Then, in 1954, BF Skinner, a Harvard Professor, invented the "teaching machine", which enabled schools to administer programmed instruction to their students.

Fast-forward to the 1960s, and the first computer-based training program was introduced to the world. It was originally created for a specific school in Illinois, USA, but it was soon in use in schools all over the state. The primary role of these computer-based training programs was to deliver information to students. However, with the creation of the World Wide Web, eLearning tools and delivery methods expanded beyond belief.

eLearning Now

And here we are today. eLearning has brought every level of education to reach for much of the world’s population, especially in first-world countries. It has played a major role in increasing education standards and, consequently, economic growth. There are thousands of Learning Management Systems and millions of online courses to learn from, all available on the internet. Schools have acknowledged the importance and effectiveness of blended learning and they have also recognised online learning as an integral part of the curriculum. eLearning is growing in importance in the business world due to its positive effect on business outcomes.

Overall, the success of eLearning comes down to the fact that it empowers learners to learn at their pace, in their own time, and how they would like to. It's progressive and recognises learners differences which is why it is quickly becoming a mainstream concept. There is plenty more to expect for the future of eLearning.

eLearning In The Future

So, where to from now? As William Pollard stated, what may be successful for today, most likely will not be for tomorrow. To any business or educational facility, human capital is its greatest asset and the most influential key to achieving goals. Through training and education, you can teach your employees and students to stay ahead of the times and outrun the competition. As a CEO of one of the largest eLearning companies in the US said,

"I have learned that organisations need personalised training that incorporates cutting-edge technology, supports professional development, and encourages learner engagement."

Futuristic eLearning will most likely involve technologies and platforms that derive from what we have today. And so, My Learning Space has identified the following as learning and development trends to expect and plan for in 2019.

MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)

These are just what they sound like. MOOCs are open online courses that will allow millions of people to take the same course from anywhere in the world, at the same time. For example, someone from India will be chatting with their virtual classmate in France. It will open the world to access knowledge on whatever one desires to learn about. MOOCs will be the reason why free online education will increase in quality, become more accessible and permeate throughout more avenues. Ultimately, even if MOOCs are monetised at some point, they will be much more affordable, specialised, and time-efficient than years of university education.

mLearning (Mobile Learning)

The global average of mobile traffic as a percentage of online traffic stands at 48%. In Asia its 62%, so everything online is being re-designed to suit mobile. eLearning will be no different. Online courses will be optimised to be consumed on the go, taking full advantage of society’s 'time is money' ideal. mLearning touches on consumers’ desire for personalisation, as content on a phone, delivered via apps and gamification, will create personalised experiences. Social media does not have to remain a platform for sharing selfies. mLearning may help turn social media into a collaborative space for sharing knowledge, not just gossip.

Virtual Technologies

Virtual and Augmented Reality are becoming increasingly adopted across many industries all over the world. Asia is leading the way, with VR being used to compliment the purchasing experience and train surgeons. It is not all about gaming, and VR and/or AR will likely play a great role in increasing learner engagement and putting educational content into real-life context. 'Immersive media' has endless possibilities and will be a breakthrough in kinesthetic learning.

It is important to note that eLearning is not the end for schools or teachers. Even educators, for that reason. It simply means a whole lot of change for the classroom as we know it. Students still need to be taught how to learn, motivated, and guided through their studies. The soft skills such as communicating, presenting, collaborating, teamwork etc. cannot be taught via instructional videos. People are interactive creatures who value personal contact with others and so, while eLearning as a great future ahead, the concept of learning will not change too much.