It is evident that with the advancement of technology in today’s world, new learning styles have emerged. The variety of digital tools and functions being introduced to students are enhancing students’ learning experience drastically. Online learning, or e-learning, has furthered the accessibility of schools and colleges to students worldwide. In this article, we will be looking at the top latest trends for online learning to date.
However before we proceed to the online learning trends, let’s take a look at student perceptions of online, face-to-face, and hybrid learning.
Student’s perception of different types of learning
A survey from the Strada Center for Education Consumer Insights showed that student perceptions of class settings between online, in-person, and hybrid were almost evenly split between the three categories. Respondents who indicated they would like to learn via a combination of online and in-person classes probably prefer blended learning. This could be because it allows them to retain elements from both online and offline classes. For example, being able to occasionally interact with classmates and teachers via the traditional classroom setting while having the flexibility of online classes. Students who indicate that they prefer fully online classes also indicate a higher level of comfort with virtual platforms. A few others prefer going back to how things were pre-pandemic.
Analyzing the top trends for online learning
1. Mobile learning
As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, the education system has made several adjustments to adapt going forward. The development of mobile learning has delivered a multitude of benefits and the most prominent is its accessibility and flexibility. This trend allows learners to access their material whenever and from wherever they choose. Both students and teachers are able to access their learning materials and other important data on the go. Mobile learning is highly effective, especially with the help of an efficient Student Information System (SIS) such as QuickSchools for schools.
The adoption of microlearning has become a popular phenomenon in e-learning, and teachers anticipate the trend will continue to accelerate within the industry. Popular for a variety of reasons, microlearning is a quick and easy method for both teaching and learning processes. This learning solution presents small chunks of information in brief modules to learners which are easier to digest. Microlearning yields greater and faster retention, for example, a 2-hour long lesson is broken up into 4, 30-minute long sessions.
It’s common that students, regardless of their age, may be daunted at the prospect of long hours of lecture. Those students, as well as collaborative classrooms everywhere, have found much greater success by breaking up projects, lessons, and other learning materials into manageable chunks. However, microlearning is indicative of a trend that goes beyond online learning and would thrive even in the traditional classroom setting. As such, it is clear that the implementation of microlearning is a rising trend post-pandemic.
3. Artificial intelligence
Organizations with e-Learning solutions now offer innovative modules to their learners. With the development of artificial intelligence, instructors can now also rely on virtual teacher assistants to help direct their learners through modules. For example, the use of artificially intelligent bots enables an assistive style of learning. In 2016, students at Georgia Tech started sending online questions to a faculty member called Jill Watson. Jill didn’t seem to sleep much and she answered student questions within 24 hours. She was polite, friendly, and she was a robot.
Georgia Tech’s ‘Jill Watson’ AI chatbot is an example of the role artificial intelligence can play in online education. AI, or the simulation of human intelligence by machines, can be used to answer recurring student questions and give students feedback promptly.
4. Video-based learning
While the video-based learning trend has been prevalent for quite some time, it has expanded to maximize the impact of mobile learning. Video learning can be of help across a variety of platforms and allows for the production of interactive and engaging content that can help boost student engagement. Video is a versatile medium for delivering mobile learning, and learners seem to favor it among other social media platforms. In a study by Pearson, 67% of millennials, and 82% of GenZ reported Youtube as their preferred learning platform.
For many years, auditory learners were the only group properly served by the traditional classroom setting and note-taking format. With the rise of e-learning worldwide, visual learners will now benefit from video-based learning becoming more of a fixture in classrooms everywhere.
5. Immersive Learning
Immersive learning allows students to explore real-world scenarios or ideas in a safe and controlled environment. This type of learning includes Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR).
Augmented reality is the use of the real world and a digital overlay of information to convey learning material. The use of this approach provides learners with a level of real-life experience. Virtual reality, on the other hand, uses a completely digital environment to provide a synthetic experience to learners. Although virtual reality is more commonly used for gaming purposes, it is a great tool for online learning. In practice, augmented and virtual reality allows students to fully immerse into the subject matter when dealing with hazardous situations. Mixed reality allows learners to interact with both the physical and virtual environments.
There are numerous digital tools that can help pave the way for an immersive learning experience for students. Incorporating effective use of digital tools in teaching helps teachers improve their lessons, increase student engagement in classrooms and assist in creating a more personalized teaching approach.
Emerging technologies are pushing many of the developments and innovations in online education. These top online learning trends show that they can improve education, encourage self-directed learning, produce more involved and motivated learners, and help teachers identify their student’s learning requirements in order to provide better support and guidance.
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