When people think or talk about going to college, they typically picture living on campus and attending classes in person. However, these days it’s important to note that there are all sorts of great programs offered online, which can provide many benefits to those who need them. For instance, through digital studies, you can save money and time and avoid moving away from home. You also have more choice in classes and be able to continue to work while studying because of the flexibility of online learning.
If you’re interested in pursuing this option or are trying to decide if it’s for you, it helps to understand some of the key trends having an impact on eLearning. This is the case whether you’re interested in online MBA programs in California, finance undergraduate degrees in New York, or any other type of course. Read on for some top trends that current and future students should know about.
We’ve seen gamification really take off in other fields – just think about the phenomenal success of Pokémon Go a couple of years ago, which gamified augmented reality, community-building, and exercise. Now, gamification is making a big impression in the world of online learning. One of the reasons for this is that by integrating games into learning programs, educators not only make content more interesting and appealing to students, but also make it easier for students to understand information effectively and thereby retain it, too.
Although the use of games in education is especially apt for younger generations such as millennials (since they have grown up playing video games and seeing gamification in action in numerous areas), this learning technique works for any age group.
Incorporating games is also helpful for people who have learning difficulties or who don’t do well with the traditional teaching format. Gamification is additionally beneficial because it makes it less emotionally draining for students to make mistakes as they learn, and in turn, this reduces the pressure they feel and helps to increase motivation.
Another trend that’s big in digital learning right now, which is also helpful for people with learning difficulties, problems concentrating, and other educational issues is microlearning. That is, studies available in small, broken-down chunks, rather than large programs. With microlearning, students get to enjoy short, bite-sized classes at a time. These are typically 30 minutes or less.
There is a lot of appeal for this kind of teaching for those who are busy and trying to juggle their studies alongside a full-time job, family commitments, and the like. Microlearning allows people to fit in small sessions during their week as they have the time and energy. The content is easily-digestible, too, which again makes it good for retention.
Ten years ago, when online learning was more in its infancy and technology hadn’t progressed as much as it has now, those wanting to learn online were rather limited in the types of classes they could choose from. This has all changed now. Today, it’s not just the subjects you imagine as being simple to teach and learn online; instead, there is a growing trend for online classes offered in rather unexpected topics.
For example, you’ll now find numerous “hands-on” kinds of available through digital learning formats. This list includes materials like agriculture, athletics, fine arts, construction management, dental hygiene, fire science, and more.
In addition, it’s easier to find classes in niche fields now. Increasing numbers of educational providers are creating courses (usually shorter ones), that delve into focused areas within a larger field. These programs cater to specific students who need to learn about set niche subjects for their work or general interest.
AI and Automation
As you would expect, a list of online learning trends has to factor in artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. In the area of eLearning, new technologies are now allowing program designers to put together complete courses created more effectively, built more efficiently, and tested and evaluated to a very high standard.
AI is used, for instance, to create virtual teaching assistants. These “characters” help students and teachers alike. They can generate and deliver content, saving educators time; plus, the virtual assistants are on hand when students need to communicate with them, or for the provision of learning support.
In addition, developments in automation mean that educational providers can automate elements of their programs. This includes the creation of content, for assessments, and so on. This software also saves trainers time in the area of development and implementation.
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