According to the Distance Education Enrollment Report 2017, published by Digital Learning Compass, more than 6 million students were enrolled in distance learning programs in the Fall of 2015. Take a moment to let that information sink in. 6 million students in a single semester. In 2015! The industry lacks specific information on the current state, but we may safely assume that those numbers are higher at this moment.
So the e-learning industry is getting bigger by the day, and we’re more than aware of that fact. But what drives the industry forward? What current trends should you consider following? Let’s go through the 6 most prominent trends at this moment, so we’ll understand where this global educational movement is heading to.
Podcasts have been around for quite some time, but they weren’t attracting too much attention. With so many video courses you could follow, why would you bother with podcasts? This learning method is heavily focused on lecturing and listening, and that’s the exact aspect from traditional education that we were trying to change. That’s why podcasts weren’t popular.
But things are getting different. Podcasts are cool because you can listen to them anytime, anywhere. Fortunately, the experts from the e-learning industry understood that. We’re seeing more educational podcasts pop up by the day, and they are finally getting the attention they deserve.
Microlearning is a massive trend, which is about to change e-learning as we knew it. The usual online courses include full-length lectures accompanied with assignments and discussion boards. That’s a problem for many students. They lack time for full-time education, so they opt for online learning, hoping to find a more flexible schedule. The fact that they have to spend several hours with a single lesson is overwhelming, so they tend to procrastinate. Microlearning eliminates that problem.
It’s a relatively new concept that involves brief video lectures, lasting from one to five minutes. Each of these lessons covers a single, focused topic. When watched in progressive order, the lessons build on your knowledge. Ultimately, you’re supposed to get the same quality of education without being overwhelmed by lengthy lectures.
There’s nothing new about webinars. But was the e-learning industry using their whole potential? Absolutely not. We’re just starting to see this change.
Webinars are great because they are easy to arrange. There’s not much video editing involved, so you’re avoiding one of the major constraints of creating online lessons. You’ll need a script for your webinar, and you can get writing and editing assistance from an Australian Assignment Geek Service for that purpose. Then, you’ll promote the webinar, so you’ll attract more subscribers.
From the aspect of a learner, the webinar is great because it’s interactive. It’s a great substitute for the actual classroom. They can engage with the lecturer and with fellow students.
4. Game-Based Learning
Gamification revolutionized the educational industry. Course providers finally realized that instead of forcing students to learn, they could motivate them to do that. Game-based learning encourages high levels of engagement. The learner goes through different levels and earns points, which have an additional motivational effect.
We’re already seeing great examples of game-based online education. Duolingo is an extremely popular language learning app based on that concept. In 2018, however, we expect the educational industry to take things further by throwing AR and VR features into the mix.
5. Mobile Learning
The number of mobile users is constantly growing, so it seems only natural for the e-learning industry to focus on that market.
Mobile learning is getting more popular, simply because people can access their lessons anytime, anywhere. If they are using public transport to get to work, they can easily go through a micro lesson. All they need is their device, an app that provides the course they like, and a note-taking app.
6. Content Curation
Content curation tools, such as Quora, Pinterest, and the latest one – Mix, will be the focal point for the development of the e-learning industry. If, for example, a leader wants to develop a learning strategy within their organization, they can easily start discovering materials and providing content for their team through such a tool.
A professor, who wants to introduce online learning into the curriculum, will also find these tools useful. Thanks to these platforms, sharing and collaboration are easier than ever. During 2018, we expect to see more companies and educators taking advantage of the content curation concept.
How will the e-learning industry continue to develop? With the continuous innovation of tools and techniques, it’s impossible to predict where it will be ten years from today. What we know for sure, however, is that it’s headed in the right direction. The trends we’re witnessing in 2018 push the e-learning concept forward and open up new opportunities to explore.
Author: Mary Whitman is a freelance writer and blogger based in Adelaide, South Australia. In her spare time, she enjoys talking about Sustainable Development and writing essays.